An overflowing toilet is one of those plumbing issues we have all dealt with at some point. Watching as the water reaches the brim of your toilet can send you into a panic, especially if the water is contaminated with waste. An overflow is often the result of the drainpipe connected to the toilet being blocked, or the tank float device that regulates the water flow into the bowl malfunctioning.
Plumbing 101: dealing with an overflow
Most clogs can be fixed using basic tools found around the house. The homeowner will need:
- A pair of disposable gloves
- A bucket
- A mop to clean up any mess
- A plunger
- A toilet auger
Here are the basic steps one should take when dealing with a toilet that overflows when flushed. First, turn off the water supply to the toilet. There is usually a shut-off valve located at the bottom side of the toilet. Turning the valve with an anti-clockwise motion stops water from getting into the toilet.
If there is no shut-off valve, remove the cover of the tank area. The float ball should be lifted until water stops coming in. If that does not work, the homeowner will have to turn off the water supply to the house. While wearing a set of disposable gloves, use a cup to remove excess water at the brim of the bowl. The water can be poured into a sink if it is cleaned. If not, it should be poured into a bucket and poured into a working toilet.
Next, take a plunger and align it right over the hole in the toilet bowl. Downward pressure should be applied slowly at first, then the intensity should be slowly increased. If the overflow was caused by a clog, the plunger should dislodge it, allowing water to escape through the plumbing. If a plunger does not dislodge the clog, it is time to use a toilet auger. Also known as a plumbing snake, this device is inserted into the toilet hole and pushed in deeply. The pressure is then applied to the other end while turning the device.
The floating mechanism should be adjusted to prevent the tank part of the toilet from overflowing. The chain attached to it should be straightened out if it is tangled. If the toilet keeps getting clogged often, it is time to call in a professional plumbing crew to diagnose the problem. The overflow might be caused by more serious issues like an external vent being clogged.
A toilet that overflows with soiled water often might be an indicator of a sewer backup. Professional plumbers are needed to fix this. Never try to handle contaminated sewage as it is a serious health hazard.
Set up an appointment with Bevills Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning
If the steps listed above seem to be a little too much or you have already tried to remove the clog with no luck, set up an appointment with a plumber. A professional plumber will help you solve any issue around the house.