How to Fix An Overflowing Toilet

You’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 out from the toilet bowl and all over the bathroom floor, what do you do?

Other than getting in a time machine to prevent the clog and overflowing toilet from happening in the first place, there are steps you can take to clear a clogged toilet and prevent further damage

Steps to Fix an Overflowing Toilet

The first thing you want to do is STOP the flow of water to the toilet by turning the water supply line shutoff valve. This is 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. Once that is turned off, it will stop the running toilet and the flow of water, preventing further excess water from spilling out. And potentially causing water damage.

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. Wearing rubber gloves and a mask can help make this process a little easier.

If shutting off the water did not stop the water from coming into the bowl, then you’ll need to carefully remove the toilet tank 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.

From feminine products like tampons, or excessive toilet paper or even toys & diapers; there can a lot of causes as to why you have an overflowing toilet. If a toilet plunger doesn’t clear the clog/blockage, then you may have more serious plumbing problems than a simple toilet drain. Toilet repair or even a toilet snake may be required to clear the toilet clogs and help the toilet flush again.

DIY methods like plungers, drain snakes or chemical drain cleaners from the home improvement or hardware stores can help many homeowners clear basic toilet clogs, but when they are too much for DIY methods, it may be time for a professional plumber to assist!

Call A-1 Sewer When You Need a Professional Plumber

If you need assistance unclogging a toilet or if you think you may have a main line sewer clog, don’t hesitate to contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to schedule a service call and have a plumbing professional take care of that clogged drain. We can diagnose nearly any plumbing problem or clog, as well as repair or replace water heaters, sewer lines, septic tank systems, and more. Homeowners count on A-1 to keep their drain pipes clear and their hot water flowing. 
Call today and see why A-1 is the KC Metro’s first choice for plumbing, sewer and drains!

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