What To Do If You Have an Overflowing Toilet

Apr 12, 2018
toilet overflow

If you have an overflowing toilet, don’t panic.

Your toilet bowl may not be designed to hold all of the water in the tank, and is probably clogged. This is a problem you can easily fix by yourself. Make sure not to flush the toilet if the water levels are high. This will cause the bowl to fill with even more water, and the toilet to overflow even more. The first step is to turn off the toilet’s flow of water that is coming from the tank. You can do this by locating the valve on the bottom side of the bowl and turning it counter-clockwise.

overflowing toilet

Adjust the toilet float cup

After this is done, open the tank and remove the toilet’s float cup or ball. This should stop the water from running. If the water is still running, you may need to temporarily shut off your house’s water supply. Then, put on a pair of rubber gloves and remove the excess water from the bowl using a bucket. Dispose of the water if it’s clean. If it is dirty, keep it in the bucket until the problem has been remedied and you can re-flush it.

Grab your toilet plunger

Use a toilet plunger to apply downward pressure to the hole in the center of the toilet bowl. Gradually increase the amount of pressure you are using. The plunger will hopefully dislodge the clog that caused the overflow. Don’t apply too much pressure right away, as this can result in even more of a mess than you already have. Plunging will allow the toilet to drain as normal. Then, use a toilet auger to remove any other pieces of the clog that cannot be removed with a plunger. When you feel pressure or resistance from the auger, you will know that you have removed the clog. If you still cannot remove the clog with either a plunger or an auger, you can try to use a chemical drain cleaner. Be very cautious about this as they are caustic and potentially dangerous if used improperly.

clogged drain

Adjust float mechanism

Reset the float mechanism in your tank so that it is lower, preventing an overflowing toilet again. Make sure the chain and the float are not tangled or caught on any foreign objects or sides of the tank. Turn your water back on, and dispose of any dirty water that you may have removed from the toilet. Your toilet should now be working properly. If you often have issues with your toilet overflowing, call a plumber to examine your entire plumbing system and find the source of the problem.

Take care to prevent an overflowing toilet from happening again by checking your toilet tank’s water levels every so often to make sure that they are still low/medium. Do not flush the toilet more than once in a row, and do not let any large objects fall into the toilet, as this will cause another clog that will be difficult to fix. Luckily, if you are prepared, a toilet overflow is fairly simple to fix.

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