There aren’t many mishaps around the house that can send you reeling like a toilet that has overflowed. Watching as the water in your bowl continues to rise long after is normally does, can be mildly terrifying. At this point, all the scenarios and remedies of the situation are feverishly running through your head. Knowing how to fix an overflowing toilet, can make or break the situation.
Perform A Quick Diagnosis
If you’re lucky, that overflowing toilet was empty but in all likelihood, it overflowed because it first became clogged. We don’t need to go into any more details on this end of the story.
When a toilet overflows it’s because it is suffering from a clog, sewage backup or there has been a mechanical failure of the toilet itself. If you are lucky enough to be home when that toilet overflows, the first thing you want to do is reach around the back of the toilet and turn off the water supply. Turn the valve counter clockwise to shut off the water supply. This will quickly stem the overflow, stopping the mess from getting worse.
What To Do With A Toilet That Has No Shut Off Valve
If you are unfortunate enough to have a toilet that has no shut off valve you will need to follow these steps:
- Remove the cover from the top of the toilet tank.
- Manually lift the float high enough so that the water stops running into the tank.
- Find something to prop the float up while you venture to the basement.
- In the basement, you will more than likely find the main water for the house. It will probably be fairly close to the water heater. Turning off the water to the house will temporarily solve your toilet woes. If, however, your problem lies in clogged sewer lines and you have a back up, this may not be your solution.
- Find and fix the problem before turning the water back on.
Removing some of the water in your toilet will bring the water level back to normal. Be sure to dispose properly of any water you manually remove from the bowl. Flush the toilet again, once the problem is fixed will ensure that this contaminated water doesn’t reach your drinking water.
How To Use A Plunger Correctly
If a toilet clog is the culprit, a correct plunging technique will have your toilet flowing freely again in no time.
- When purchasing your plunger, remember this is one of those instances where you get you get what you pay for. Do not cheap out with a dollar store plunger.
- Do not feverishly plunge away. Faster is not better. Put even downward pressure toward the center of the bowl and start out slowly.
- You may need to increase intensity gradually.
- Once you are sure you have dislodged the obstruction, give it a flush.
- Align the rubber cup of a toilet plunger over the center of the hole of the toilet bowl.
- Apply downward pressure slowly at first, gradually increasing the speed and intensity.
If a clog has caused the overflow, a plunger will dislodge the mass and allow water to escape through the plumbing.
If your clog remains, try a toilet snake. This object is designed to go through your plumbing and can reach much farther than your hand. It’s also a lot less mess anytime you don’t have to put your hand in the toilet. These can be purchased affordably at any hardware store.
What To Check After Your Toilet Is Unclogged
Once your toilet is clog free and any toilet malfunction has been addressed, adjust the float in the tank to prevent further overflowing incidents. Ensure the chain that attached to the float is not kinked or tangled.
If your toilet continues to overflow on a regular basis, it might be time to call in the professionals. Sometimes toilets can stop functioning the way they are intended to and it may be time for a new throne.
If your home is located in Ontario, Wentworth Plumbing has been providing plumbing repair services that get the job done right the first time. Check out our contact us page to see if your home is in our service area.
Check our other blogs on DIY home plumbing repairs & tips.