Toilet Overflow

How To Deal With Toilet Overflow

No one wants to be the one responsible for dealing with a toilet overflow. Unfortunately, toilet overflows do happen, and someone must deal with the problem immediately or it will only get worse. The last thing you need is sewage backup in your house, or water damage because of an uncontrolled overflow. Luckily, there are simple and quick ways to keep the toilet bowl from overflowing if you catch the problem soon enough. Once you have dealt with the immediate emergency, you can then take care of the underlying cause that led to the toilet overflow in the first place.


Obviously, the first course of action when a toilet overflow seems imminent is to do whatever you can to stop the toilet from overflowing onto the bathroom floor. There are a couple of ways you can do this. The fastest way is probably to reach down and close the valve that controls the supply of water to the toilet. You can find this valve near the floor at the base of the toilet, or sometimes behind the toilet in the wall.

If you can't find the toilet supply valve, or if it is too hard for you to turn, you can prevent the toilet bowl from overflowing by reaching into the toilet tank. Carefully remove the toilet tank's lid and push down on the rubber valve that you will find in the center of the toilet tank. This is the flapper valve, and it is what allows water to move from the toilet tank into the toilet bowl. By pushing this valve closed, you will prevent more water from entering the toilet bowl. You should then lift up the float that tells the toilet supply line when to stop filling the tank, to prevent the tank from filling up with any more water. Because the water in the toilet tank is fresh water that hasn't yet reached the toilet bowl, you don't need to be afraid to put your bare hands in the tank.

In most cases, toilet overflow is caused by clogged toilet bowl, resulting in improper or incomplete drainage of the bowl. Most clogs are simple enough to take care of with a household toilet plunger, which are inexpensive and available at stores that sell household supplies. For a plunger to work properly and remove the clog, you must form a seal between the plunger and the opening where the toilet drains. Do this by pushing straight against the opening with force until you have made the seal. At that point, break the seal by pulling with an upward motion on the plunger. Repeat this procedure until the clog has cleared, which will usually happen after a few pumps with the plunger. If you can't clear the toilet clog with a normal plunger, you can try using a closet auger instead. The closet auger is a specially designed piece of coiled metal that reaches down into the plumbing of your toilet. By pushing the closet auger down into the hole where your toilet drains, you can reach 4 to 5 feet into the drain and plumbing and clear more stubborn clogs.

In other cases, the cause of your toilet overflow may be a blocked drain further down the line, such as the main drain to the municipal sewer. If you have a septic system, your septic tank may blocked or overflowing. A clogged toilet bowl is generally something you can remedy on your own, while the other problems will require the aid of a plumber or your septic company. Luckily, if you have succeeded in stopping your toilet from overflowing, you have the time to wait for your plumber or septic company to arrive.