What to do About an Overflowing Toilet

A1-Sewer-&-Septic-ServiceYou’re watching TV in your family room or checking your email on your laptop and you hear your child call, “Mom, Dad, there’s something wrong with the toilet!” with urgency in their voice. “Come quick!” your child exclaims.

You get up and quickly run into the bathroom only to see dirty soiled toilet water pouring all over the bathroom floor, what do you do?

The first thing you want to do is STOP the flow of water to the toilet by turning the shutoff valve that’s located at the base of the toilet, near the ground and on the wall behind the toilet. If you haven’t used this shutoff valve recently, it may be stiff when you turn it by hand.

At this point, your biggest concern is shutting off the supply of water to the toilet. Now that you shut off the water, you’ll want to clean up the mess on the floor, especially if it contains raw sewage. You want to prevent the bacteria-filled water from being spread throughout the house.

If shutting off the water did not stop the water from coming into the bowl, then you’ll need to carefully remove the lid and gently place the lid someplace else. You don’t want to drop it on the floor because that can certainly cause it to break.

Take a look into the tank, is the rubber flapper back in place? If you’re not sure what a flapper looks like, just grab your smartphone and Google “toilet flapper” and you will see images right away.

If the flapper is still open, you want to stick your hand in the tank and physically push the flapper back in place; this will stop the water from filling in the tank.

You don’t need to feel uncomfortable when you do this; the water inside the tank has not gone into the bowl and it is NOT sewer water. If the water is still coming into the tank, your last resort is to lift up the float ball in the tank until the refill valve finally shuts off.

If your toilet is not outfitted with a “float ball,” look to the left side of the tank for other moving parts that seem to be sliding upwards with the water. Lift up any part that seems to be moving freely until you notice that the water intake valve turns off.

You may need to hold this part up with one hand while your other hand tries to close the shutoff valve behind the toilet. Better yet, get help if you have someone in the house that can assist you.

Once you have successfully stopped the flow of water to the toilet, pat yourself on the back for handling a plumbing emergency. Now, it’s time to focus on what caused the toilet to clog.

If you need assistance unclogging a toilet or if you think you may have a mainline sewer clog, don’t hesitate to contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call!

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