As a homeowner, or even as a renter, hearing water unexpectedly splashing on the floor in the bathroom when it's vacant can make your heart skip a beat.
Water damage can be an expensive, unpleasant burden to handle. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to deal with a faulty, overflowing toilet at some point in your life. Do you know what to do when the water from the toilet starts flooding your bathroom?
Thankfully, most overflowing toilet problems can be quick and inexpensive to repair when you have some basic plumbing know-how.
Here, we'll illustrate what to do when your toilet starts overflowing and how you can get water flowing down the drain again. When in doubt, remember the plumbing experts at Althoff Industries are only a phone call away.
1. Shut off the Water
Before you can figure out why your toilet is overflowing, you need to stop the flow of water to your toilet to prevent excessive water damage.
Most toilets have a water shut-off valve located close to the wall between the tank and the floor.
Turn the valve handle clockwise until it's fully tightened, and you no longer hear water flowing.
This should stop water from flowing out of the toilet and limit the amount of cleanup and water damage you have.
If you're unable to turn off the water at the toilet's shut-off valve, you can remove the lid from the toilet tank and manually lift the float. When the float reaches a certain height, the toilet knows to stop filling the tank with water.
Oftentimes, the float gets stuck and the toilet overflows with water if it's unable to drain properly.
If you still can't stop water from flowing out of your toilet, you can shut off the flow of water to your entire house.
Depending on the age of your home and where you live, the water shutoff valve should be located near your water heater, or if you are connected to a municipal city water supply, by the street. This should prevent any additional water from flowing to your home.
If you've turned off the toilet water supply, adjusted the tank float and turned off the main water supply, and the toilet is still overflowing, you may be experiencing a sewer line backup. For sewer line backup emergencies, contact a professional immediately.
2. Figure Out Why the Toilet Isn't Draining
The likely culprit for an overflowing toilet is a clogged drain. What's the easiest and most effective way to unclog a toilet drain? A flange plunger.
In comparison to standard flat-based sink plungers, flange plungers have an extra rubber ridge that fits inside of a toilet drain. This creates more suction during the plunging process and helps you unclog the drain with ease.
First, remove some of the water from the toilet. This will ensure you make less of a mess during the plunging process.
Place the flange inside the toilet drain and firmly press the cup against the drain to create a strong seal. Forcefully push the plunger towards the drain and pull it back up again five times, releasing the seal on the final pull. Repeat this motion until you dislodge the clog and the toilet starts to drain.
3. What if a Plunger Doesn't Work?
If you've worn your arms out trying to clear the drain using a flange plunger, a toilet snake or closet auger may be the solution you need. These manageable, hand-powered tools are easy to use, affordable and available at any local hardware store.
Toilet snakes can clear drains by breaking up the clog, allowing it to pass through the sewer lines. Simply insert the coiled end of the snake into the opening and keep feeding it down the drain until you feel it stop at the clog.
Crank the handle until you feel the clog begin to break up and see water begin to drain. You may need to reverse the snake and crank it multiple times if the clog is particularly tough.
4. Remember to Clean Thoroughly
If your toilet is overflowing, it's probably carrying harmful, disease-carrying bacteria everywhere the water touches. When you finally get your toilet flowing again, be sure to remove any standing water, completely dry out cabinets and thoroughly sanitize every surface the water touched.
When all Else Fails, Hand It off to Althoff
Our experienced plumbing experts can get even the most stubborn toilets flowing properly again. We understand how unpleasant plumbing troubles can be—that's why we're available to help 24/7. Give us a call at 815-345-2778 to schedule your appointment today.