A backed-up toilet is a messy and unpleasant problem that no one wants in a home. Unfortunately, though, this is a reality of indoor plumbing that most people will be confronted with at least once or twice. The key is preparation. As long as you have important tools like a plunger always nearby, you should be able to resolve the problem before it gets too serious, and before the mess caused gets too large.
Things You'll Need
- Sewer snake
Turn off the water supply valve to the toilet if water is actively running out the top of the bowl.
Press your plunger firmly around the toilet drain Press the plunger down and pull up carefully, trying not to splash the backed-up water onto yourself. Plunge for several minutes, or as long as needed, to make the water level drain.
Insert a sewer snake (also called an auger) into the toilet and feed it down into the line if the plunger didn't remove the obstruction. When the snake meets resistance, pull it back to try and unclog the toilet. Keep feeding it forward and then retracting it until the clog is free.
Access the clean-out drain in your plumbing and try to clear the pipes from that point if the auger does not remove any blockages when entering the system from the toilet. Sometimes the blockage in the pipe causing the backup is located farther down the line and you can't reach it from the toilet.
Call a plumber to come to the house to fix the toilet if you can't get it to stop backing up after using a drain augur. Plumbers have the experience and tools needed to assess and fix blockages in locations that can't be reached by other means.
Tips & Warnings
- If you experience frequent toilet backups, even if they resolve you may want to call a plumber. There may be a more serious problem in your sewer pipes that is causing them to obstruct easily.
- Wash yourself off carefully after working on a backed-up toilet. Sewage water that splashes on you is very dirty and contains any number of potentially harmful bacteria.
- Toiletology 101: Emergencies -- Over-Flowing Toilet Bowl
- InspectAPedia: Guide to Septic Backup or Sewer Backup Repairs -- What to Do When the Toilets Back Up
- Fix a Toilet: Clogged Toilet, Bowl Overflows
- Planet Green; 7 Green Methods to Unclog a Toilet...Plumber's Crack Optional; Eric Leech; June 2009
- City of Columbia, MO: Emergency Procedures for Sewer Backup
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images