Help! My Toilet is Overflowing!

An overflowing toilet can be a pretty upsetting problem. Taking quick action can stop your toilet from flooding the bathroom and making a big mess.

Fix the Immediate Problem

If your toilet is overflowing, turning off the water supply can stop the problem. For many toilets, the water shut off valve is found either behind or to the side of the toilet, protruding from the wall. Turn the shut off valve clockwise to stop the water from filling the tank and overflowing the toilet.

If the valve can’t be located, or if the valve can’t be turned, remove the lid from the toilet tank and reach inside. Press down on the flapper valve in the center bottom of the toilet tank. This will prevent the bowl from filling with more water. Then lift up on the flapper to prevent the tank from filling with water.

Wait for the Water To Go Down

Once you’ve stopped the flow of water into the bowl, the water level in the bowl should decrease slowly. Wait for the water level to go down before removing your hand from the tank.

If the water level does not decrease, then the plumbing is completely clogged. You can use something heavy to push down on the flapper in the middle of the toilet tank so you can reach your hand out of the tank, or you can have a partner or friend turn off the water supply to the house.

Plunge the Toilet

Assuming a clog in the plumbing is your problem, a good plunge may fix the issue. To plunge your toilet, do the following:

  1. Place the plunger in the toilet. Let the water in the toilet flow over the head of the plunger. This creates a good seal between the toilet bowl and the plunger. If there isn’t enough water in the toilet to cover the head of the plunger, you’ll need to turn the water back on and flush the toilet. Once the toilet has been flushed, you’ll have to act quickly to prevent the bowl from overflowing again.
  2. Pump the plunger up and down rapidly about 6 times, then pull the plunger up quickly. Watch to see if the water level goes down.
  3. Repeat steps one and two until the toilet is flushing well.

Plunging a toilet is an art, and many homeowners will develop their own methods of dealing with toilet clogs. If you haven’t developed your own style, check out this video for some helpful instructions:

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Never use chemical drain cleaner. Chemical drain cleaner can be bad for your pipes and bad for the environment as well.
  • Most clogs start off small and get bigger. You can avoid a full-on clog by unclogging the toilet when the water flow slow but still functioning.

Plunging Didn’t Work? Call a Plumber For Help!

If plunging the toilet isn’t working, your problem could go deeper than your plunger is able to handle. At Terry’s Plumbing in Pittsburgh, we unclog toilets, clean and repair sewers and replace toilets and more. If your toilet is overflowing, we’ll find out why. To make an appointment, call us today at (412) 364-9114.