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Plumbing Tips - What to Do When The Toilet Overflows

May 08 / 2019

An overflowing toilet is one of the worst plumbing nightmares. It can be a nasty mess and cause a lot of damage. Most people's initial reaction when the toilet overflows is to panic. However this is one of the worst things you can do. In the heat of the moment, panic ridden decisions can lead to an even bigger mess, so try and stay calm. Here’s what to do when the toilet overflows.  

Why The Toilet Overflows

First let's discuss why the toilet overflows. An overflowing toilet is caused by a clog, something that is too large to flush has gotten stuck and obstructed the flow of water. When the bowl flushes, and the water cannot drain it flows back up and over the bowl. There are a lot of things that can clog a toilet; it can be caused by too much toilet paper, a foreign object like a toy car or bar of soap put there by your toddler, or maybe your plumbing is a bit old and cannot handle heavy usage. Whatever the reason, the clog must be cleared in order to resume usage. [caption id="attachment_2709" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Image Credit: Orange Restoration,[/caption]

When The Overflowing Starts

We’ve all been there, that moment you flush the toilet, and the water works its way back up the bowl instead of down the drain. The realization that you could be in the middle of a sewage flood is not a pleasant one, so it is important to act swiftly. The first thing you want to do is stop the flow of water. To do this, open the tank and close the flap. This prevents anymore water from entering the bowl from the tank. Hold down the flap until the water starts to refill the tank. Once you have stopped the flow of water, you can start to work on the clog.  

How to Fix a Clogged Toilet

In most circumstances a clog is a simple thing to clear. You can start with a little plunging. Remember, there are several different kinds of plungers. The one that works best for toilets is a flange plunger. It has a cup, with a lip at the end. This enables the plunger to get the best seal around the drain. A tight seal is necessary to clear the clog, so make sure there is no air trapped in the plunger, and that the plunger is fully submerged in water. Plunge straight up and down to maintain the seal and form the best suction. You may have to give it a go a couple of times depending on the severity of the clog. [caption id="attachment_2710" align="aligncenter" width="275"]the toilet overflows Image Credit: Wonkee Donkee Tools,[/caption] For really stubborn clogs, you may need to try the auger. An auger is a tool that can maneuver through the drain of your toilet. It is made of a flexible shaft, usually made of metal with what looks like a coil or drill bit at one end, and a crank handle at the other. To use, feed the shaft down the drain until you reach the clog, then crank the handle until the bit either breaks through the clog or grabs onto it. [caption id="attachment_2711" align="aligncenter" width="300"]the toilet overflows Image Credit: Amazon,[/caption]

If The Problem Persists

If the problem does not resolve or is recurring, it may be time to call your plumber. You could have a more serious problem afoot that requires further diagnostics. Video pipe inspection is the most effective at getting to the root of the problem. For more information on what to do when the toilet overflows or other plumbing tips contact Rooter Hero today!