Advice for fixing an overflowing toilet

September 22, 2014

When your toilet is overflowing, what can you do? Follow these simple steps to help get this plumbing situation under control.

Advice for fixing an overflowing toilet

Stay calm

It’s difficult to do when your overflowing toilet is spilling water all over your bathroom floor, but try to remain as cool and collected as you can. Panic only leads to rushing, and rushing leads to mistakes — which could end up creating additional costs.

Turn off the water

One of the easiest things you can do to stop the flow of water is to locate and shut off the water supply valve, which is located behind the toilet.

If that works, you haven’t completely solved the problem, but you should be able to think a bit more clearly now that water isn’t pouring out of the toilet. If that doesn’t work, open up the top of the tank, lift the float ball and secure it so that it does not drop back down (this is what triggers the tank to continue filling). Then, locate the water main (usually near your meter) and shut that off.

Where’s the clog?

Throw a few towels down and get to work discovering the source of the clog that caused the problem to begin with.

Try a plunger first

Have a plunger sitting in the corner behind your toilet? Now is when you need it. If your toilet bowl is full to the rim with water, take a bucket or bowl and take some water out before putting the plunger in the toilet, as that will displace the water. Use a slow but firm pace to pump the plunger up and down. Increase your pace, and then quickly, but firmly, pull the plunger away from the hole.

Repeat until your toilet begins to drain.

If the plunger fails, switch to an auger

If you have an auger or are willing to purchase one from your local hardware store, you can run this down your toilet drain to see if you can clear the clog. Augers are able to break through minor blockages or retrieve some obstructions.

Time for a plumber?

If you still can’t get the toilet to drain, you have a choice to make. Are you prepared to remove the toilet and further explore what might be causing the blockage, or is it time to get your local plumber on the line? It’s possible to continue with DIY clog diagnosis, but if this is a path that makes you wary, it’s probably best to make a quick call to a professional plumber.

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