Going Down

Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Be asked to "go down there" can have either good or bad connotations. It really all depends on who you're with. In the context of a home inspection I can assure you it's never great and pleasurable fun, but an inspectors gotta do what an inspectors gotta do.

One place you have to get down with is the toilet. Oh yes not a pleasant thought, especially in a strange house. Yet this is an important item to be checked so down on my knees I must go.pee stains?

Mystery stains are never a pleasant discovery. You just don't know what they may be from. As the ladies are aware men sometimes have bad aim. Little boys are usually the worst offenders. This is due to the fact that their aim has not been perfected by years of writing their names in the snow.

I found some mystery stains around the base of the toilet above just recently. I was not too squeamish about this particular stain. The home was owned by a single older woman so I felt pretty safe getting close and personal with this toilet.

In truth this looked like a serious leak. The floor was wet particularly around the valve. So the next stop was down to the basement.

wet, wet, wetThe next photo is from beneath the toilet. The wood is black because it is saturated. Water was dripping from some boards with the stain extending out in several directions for many feet.

What has in all likelihood occurred is the wax toilet ring has failed. Just to add insult to injury the water supply pipe was leaking at the toilet connection. A double whammy. By the looks of the staining I would guess this has been going on for a looooog time.

So if you see stains around the base of a toilet you may have to go down to see what's up.


James Quarello
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

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James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.


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Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Some years ago I worked for a maintenance business and we often replaced toilets. Sometimes when we gave the price the homeowners would balk and say that it seemed too high.

We always responded "well, it's not a pleasant job!"

Nov 14, 2009 11:03 PM #1
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Jim, I am still laughing.... but seriously, that is a problem.

Nov 14, 2009 11:14 PM #2
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Richard, I have replaced a few toilets myself. Not in my top 10 fun things to do.

Andrea, I guess you got yourself under control long enough to type.

Nov 15, 2009 12:20 AM #3
Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Looks like it is time to upgrade the old lead connector.  There is all kinds of "prayer work" in this job:)

Nov 15, 2009 12:44 AM #4
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

What's really amazing is that homeowners will ignore this obvious problem, thinking I guess, that it's only temporary in nature.  Once the wax ring fails, it's not going to get better all by itself.

Nov 15, 2009 01:25 AM #5
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

Part of my standard protocol, in such cases, is the lift the toilet and install a new ring. That is the creed of the certifried.




Nov 15, 2009 10:12 AM #6
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Toilet wobble?  That's a big offender.

Nov 15, 2009 09:19 PM #7
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, You can say that again!

Tom, If someone can invent self fixing stuff, just think how great that would be.

Nutsy, You continue to amaze me with your solutions.

Jay, No wobble just water.

Nov 16, 2009 04:48 AM #8
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James Quarello

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