What to Do With a Toilet That Overflows

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An overflowing toilet presents an immediate problem that you must resolve before the toilet can be used again. You will first need to stop the toilet from overflowing, and address the obstruction in the toilet's drainpipe to prevent it from overflowing again. Avoid clogs in your toilet by using less toilet paper and not putting other objects in the toilet.

Turn off the Water

  • You will first need to stop the toilet from overflowing by shutting off the toilet's water supply. You will need to locate the toilet's shutoff valve, which normally is located low to the floor behind or next to the toilet. Once you find the valve, turn the handle clockwise as far as you can using your hand. Do not use a wrench or other tool to tighten the handle, or you could damage the handle or valve. If the water continues to flow, you will need to close the house's main water valve, which will shut off all of the water in the house, until you can repair the toilet. Clean up the water on the floor since leaving it can lead to water damage or mold growth.

Use a Plunger

  • Find a funnel-cup plunger to use on the toilet since it has a curved extension on the bottom of the cup that creates more pressure in the toilet's drainpipe. Regular plungers that have a simple cup on them work better in sinks and bathtubs when they become clogged. You need to place the plunger's cup in the toilet and cover the drain hole, creating a tight seal between the bowl and the edges of the plunger's cup. Vigorously pump the plunger's handle up and down at least a dozen times, remove the cup from the drain hole and flush the toilet to see if the clog persists. Continue plunging if you see progress; otherwise move on to the auger.

Use an Auger

  • A closet auger consists of a handle and a long, flexible hose that has a metal hook or corkscrew on one end. You feed the flexible portion of the auger into the toilet's drain opening, hook or corkscrew end first, ensuring that you do not scratch the porcelain. Turn the auger's handle clockwise to feed it deeper into the toilet's drainpipe and to push it through any obstructions in the pipe. Once you reach the end of the flexible hose, retract the auger from the drain by turning the handle counterclockwise. Depending on how severe the clog is, you may have to feed the auger into the toilet up to three times. The first time you need to aim for the center of the drain; on subsequent attempts feed the auger down the left and right walls of the drain in an effort to clear out the entire drainpipe.

Call a Plumber

  • Some toilet clogs still will not come free even after you use an auger. These clogs require the expertise of a trained plumber, who will employ additional methods as necessary to return your toilet to its normal working order. A greater problem with your house's plumbing may exist if you notice water backing up in other drains of your house.

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