There are few situations that cause panic the way that an overflowing toilet does. Flushing the toilet and then watching the water level get higher and higher – carrying the waste and the germs that fill the bowl to the surface and then over the edge and onto the floor.
This scenario is very common, but that doesn’t make it any less disgusting and frightening. Since there isn’t much you can do about what is happening then, you have to focus on what you can do next. But, you have to act quickly. The water is rising and will soon be over the edge of the toilet bowl and on the floor.
Here are a few steps for you to follow in the event of an overflowing toilet:
- The first thing you should always do is to turn off the shut off valve for the toilet. This valve is usually located behind the toilet, attached to a small hose that connects to the back of the toilet from the floor or the wall. The shut off valve turns the water off to your toilet and without more water coming, you can stop the overflow if you get to the valve in time. Make sure to keep your toilet valve well-lubricated throughout the year. These valves are not used very often so, it can get stuck and be hard to turn.
- If the valve won’t turn because it is stuck, make sure that you don’t panic during this situation. Your focus is to make sure that the water supply to the toilet bowl is shut off. To do this, you need to take the lid off of the tank and look inside. The rubber flapper that is on the bottom of the tank is what prevents and allows water to move from the tank to the bowl. Make sure this flapper is laying flat and has a good seal.
- Once you have stopped the flow of water, you can get out the plunger and get after the clog. Getting a clog to move requires that you cause a push and pull of air in the toilet drain. To do this, place the plunger over the toilet drain and push down and pull up without disengaging the flange of the plunger from the drain. You need to keep that seal as tight as possible.
An overflowing toilet is probably the most common plumbing failures that a home can have. It is dreaded by most people because it is messy. But, if you follow these tips you can contain the mess quickly and make it easier to manage the clean-up and repair.