Whether you’re a homeowner or a visitor to someone else’s home, few things are more terrifying than flushing a toilet and watching it slowly (but surely) overflow. The first question on anyone’s mind is “How do I get it to stop?” If you’re a visitor to someone else’s home, the second question is “How do I get it to stop now?”

What Causes a Toilet to Overflow?

It’s simple physics: the water goes down the drain, and new water fills it back up. The only reason that process would be hindered in any way is if there’s something stopping it up, like an excessive amount of toilet paper, debris from somewhere else, or, at least here in Tyler, TX, a catfish that’s been flushed down the toilet to avoid the wife’s suspicion that the husband’s been out fishing all day.

Or it could be something that’s a little bigger, such as a clogged sewer line or broken septic system. If you have low flow toilets – common in newer homes – you may also be more prone to clogs than older toilets.

How to Fix an Overflowing Toilet

If you notice that the water isn’t going down the bowl very quickly, or even worse, is starting to come back up, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the damage and get it working again ASAP.

  1. Don’t Panic. Seriously. It’s easy to go berserk when you see that catfish coming back up with the rest of the water that should be gone, but just take a deep breath and proceed to step 2.
  2. Turn Off the Water. You can either do this manually underneath the tank by turning off the water valve to the whole tank, or reach inside the tank (don’t worry, the water there is sanitary) and press down the little rubber plug called the flapper. Secure that in some way to stop the water from even dribbling in. If holding it down doesn’t stop the water, then absolutely turn off the aforementioned water valve.
  3. Use a Plunger. If you don’t have one, get one. If the water is off, you should have enough time to run out and grab one from a department store. Once procured, start plunging to see if you can remove any obvious blockages.
  4. Use a Snake. If a plunger doesn’t do the trick, try an auger that will manually dislodge the clog. Try to pull it up through the top if possible; if you can’t, you should be able to tear through it with your snake. Either one is fine.
  5. Identify Other Problems. If no other drain is stopped up – shower, sink, etc – then chances are it’s just the one toilet. If it’s an upstairs commode, head underneath to make sure there’s not a leak appearing on the ceiling directly underneath the toilet. If other drains are blocked too, then it might be a whole system clog. In that case, you’ll need to hire a professional.
  6. Remove Water. If you’ve got standing water in the bowl or on the floor, remove as much as you can to make it easier to work, either for you or a technician.

If it’s still not fixed, let us help! Call Evelyn at Fountain Plumbing today to get an estimate!


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