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What to do when the toilet overflows

Posted On: October 11, 2016
Toilet Flush

It’s actually a fairly common thing that happens to a lot of people. Still, when the toilet overflows, you probably have one of those panic filled moments with visions of water damage everywhere. Still, being armed with the knowledge of what to do will make things go smoother when this problem crops up.

First, you need to locate the shut off valve for the toilet. Usually they are located behind the toilet near the floor. Turn it until the water stops running completely. If your toilet doesn’t have a shut off valve or you can’t easily get to it, your other option is to move the float to the top of the tank, which also has the effect of stopping the water from coming into the tank. If you are moving the float, you will want to find a way to rig it to stay there once you move it up.

Once the water has stopped running, you then need to figure out what is causing the overflow. If there is a clog, you need to pull out a plunger or plumbing snake, if you have one. If you know a foreign object is causing the clog, you can grab some rubber gloves and try to remove it. When you use one of these, you will want to get a bucket and bail some of the water out of the bowl so you don’t spill more water on the floor.

You never want to put a clog remover like Drano down the toilet. The company that produces Drano does not recommend that. Most drain clearing products use a chemical reaction to break up a clog and that creates heat. Heat can actually make things worse by cracking the porcelain in your toilet and making a replacement necessary. Also, if those drain opening products do not work, you could end up burning yourself with those products when you use other methods to open the drain.

You will also want to make sure that you clean up the area thoroughly after an overflow. That means soaking up the water with a towel for smaller spills or a Shop-Vac for larger ones. Once that has been done, you will want to clean and disinfect the area that was impacted.

Finally, if the toilet just will not unclog, then you will want to get in contact with a plumber to take care of the problem.

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