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Ask John Toilet Overflowing Main Image
Ask John Toilet Overflowing Main Image

How Do I Stop My Toilet From Overflowing?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Don’t Panic When You Find Your Toilet Overflowing   

Toilet overflow is one of the most inconvenient issues a homeowner faces, especially with the water damage it often brings. It’s a hassle not being able to use the toilet, not to mention the cleanup after.

The answer lies in understanding the causes behind toilet overflows and implementing effective repair and preventative techniques. The combination of these will help you address the problem before it gets worse or even prevent it from happening in the first place.

Toilet Overflow Problem
If your confused why your toilet is overflowing, check out John’s article of common causes and DIY tips.

Understanding the Causes of an Overflowing Toilet and How to Fix Them

Before we talk about how to prevent the toilet from overflowing, let’s take a closer look at the possible causes of an overflow and how to troubleshoot each of them. Read on to learn how to stop your overflowing toilet tank:

Clogs in the Drain

A clog in the drain is one of the most frequent causes of an overflowing toilet. This happens when too much toilet paper, feminine hygiene goods, or other materials are flushed down the toilet and clog the pipes.

Try to remove the clog first by using a plunger. If it doesn’t work, consider using a toilet auger or snake to dig deeper into the drain and remove the obstruction. To prevent future clogs, encourage proper flushing practices among family members.

Blocked Trap

The curved part of the toilet’s drain is known as the toilet trap. It’s meant to catch water and keep sewer gases out of your house. Water won’t drain correctly and may overflow if the trap becomes clogged by a foreign item or an excessive amount of garbage.

To gently remove the clog in the toilet trap, use a plunger or toilet auger. Be careful not to force the obstruction farther down the drain. Only flush toilet paper and garbage that the toilet is made to handle to avoid recurring clogs.

Faulty Flapper Valve

The flapper valve in the toilet tank regulates the amount of water that flushes out into the bowl. After flushing, water will continue to flow into the bowl if the flapper doesn’t seal completely, which could result in an overflow.

Check the flapper valve’s seal by inspecting it closely. If the flapper is broken or not operating properly, replace it with a new one. Check the flapper’s condition frequently to avoid unanticipated overflowing.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, discusses some common reasons your toilet is overflowing along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to get it fixed.

Sewer Line Blockage

Water can back up into your toilet and other drains in your house due to a blockage in the main sewage line, resulting in an overflow. How can you keep a toilet from overflowing as a result of a clogged sewer line?

We recommend getting in touch with a licensed plumber if you suspect a sewage line obstruction. They may evaluate the problem and use specialized tools to remove the obstruction and stop overflows.

Excessive Flushing

Flushing the toilet several times in quick succession can lead to the bowl filling up with water a lot faster than it can drain. As a result, your toilet overflows, and your bathroom is left with significant water damage.

How to stop a flooding toilet due to excessive flushing? Between flushes, give the toilet ample time to empty completely. After flushing, if you observe the water level increasing excessively high, wait for it to go down before flushing once again.

Improper Water Level Adjustment

When you flush the toilet, an overflow might happen if the water level in the tank is set too high. The tank’s extra water will overflow and fill the bowl. So, how to stop a toilet from overflowing due to improper water level adjustment?

The solution is to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when adjusting the water level in the toilet tank. In order to help you, the fill line is often marked within the tank. By doing this, you can make sure the tank doesn’t have more water than is required for a proper flush.

Malfunctioning Fill Valve or Float

Inside the toilet are two important components – the fill valve aka ballcock and the float in the toilet tank. If any of these two is malfunctioning, it can cause a huge amount of water to enter the tank that may eventually overflow into the bowl.

How can you stop your overflowing toilet if the culprit is a faulty float or fill valve? Check the float and fill valves to make sure they are operating properly. You can stop water from spilling by adjusting or replacing any parts that are not functioning properly.

Understanding the reasons behind your overflowing toilet is not just the first step but one of the most important steps in addressing the problem and preventing it from happening in the first place. It will allow you to implement the correct solutions to resolve the problem.

Faulty Toilet Cistern
When your unsure what to do, get a professional to diagnose and repair your faulty.

Tips and Recommendations on How to Prevent Toilet Overflows

Now that you know how to stop a toilet from overflowing, let’s move on and learn about practical strategies to prevent overflows:

Avoid Flushing Non-Flushable Items

Teach your family members which items should not be flushed down the toilet. Examples are wipes, cotton balls, and sanitary products, which should only be disposed of in the trash.

Use a Plunger

Always have a plunger in the bathroom. This tool is highly important as it can help you remove most blockages that could cause the water level to rise.

Check the Flapper Valve

Seeing as the flapper valve is one of the possible causes of toilet overflows, make sure you check it regularly. Inspect regularly and fix as necessary, whether it be to adjust or replace it.

Regular Maintenance

Arrange regular plumbing maintenance to catch minor issues before they get worse. This often also includes preventative measures put in place to avoid overflows.

Keep a Trash Can Nearby

It’s always a good idea to have a trash can near the toilet. This promotes proper disposal of non-flushable items, so they don’t get accidentally flushed down the toilet and cause clogs.

Upgrade to Low-Flow Toilets

It’s good to upgrade to a dual-flush or low-flow toilet if your toilet is old. These contemporary toilets flush with less water each time, decreasing the likelihood of an overflow.

Being responsible in how you use the toilet and proactive in maintaining it are the most important tips for preventing toilet overflows. Now that you know how to stop a toilet from overflowing, you no longer have to panic when faced with this problem.

Toilet Upgrade
If your toilet is old consider getting it replaced with a modern low flow unit.

Overflowing Toilet FAQs

What causes a toilet to overflow

Various factors can cause toilet overflows, including clogs in the drain, blocked traps, faulty flapper valves, improper water level adjustment, excessive flushing, and sewer line blockages. You’ll know more about what causes your toilet to overflow by hiring a professional to inspect the fixture.

Can an overflowing toilet cause water damage?

Yes. An overflowing toilet can cause significant water damage just like any other flooding event. It can cause structural damage to your home, especially if the toilet is on the upper floor. As such, it’s important that you deal with this problem as soon as possible to prevent extensive and costly damage.

Are toilets supposed to not overflow?

Under normal operating conditions, toilets should prevent overflows. But only if it’s a properly functioning toilet, which has mechanisms that regulate the water level in the tank and control the water flow into the bowl. This means that an overflowing toilet indicates something is wrong with the mechanisms that usually prevent overflows.

Can a constantly running toilet lead to an overflow?

Yes, a constantly running toilet can cause an overflow. If your toilet is constantly running, there are mainly two things that are making it happen – the water in the tank flows into the overflow tube, or the system lets water pass continuously through the flush valve flapper. You can try finding the exact culprit of the overflow or call a professional to inspect the system for you.

What’s the first thing you should do when the toilet overflows?

The first thing you should do is to turn off the water supply to the toilet. Also, don’t flush the toilet. This way, you can prevent more water from getting into the bowl and overflowing onto the floor. Once the water supply is off, you or the plumber can go ahead and inspect everything, as well as repair or replace anything if necessary.

Hire a Local Plumbing Pro

On that note, follow the troubleshooting advice mentioned above to keep your toilet working properly. But if you’re still unsure what to do or can’t deal with the issue right away, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional. Contact a licensed plumber with the skills and tools using the phone number or form on this page.

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