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What to Do When Your Toilet Overflows

It would be nice to think that you would never have to deal with toilet water leaking out onto your floor, but the chances are likely that it will happen to you eventually.  Clogs are a normal thing, and it’s good to know what you should do when it happens.  Panicking won’t help, and you need to be able to take action right away.

First, find the shut off valve for your toilet.  If you look behind and below the tank, you’ll see a small water line with a valve that you should be able to turn by hand.  If you can’t find it, the valve may be hidden behind the wall or under the floor, in which case you should talk to a plumber about having it moved.  Know where the valve is ahead of time, so you won’t be searching for it in an emergency.  Over the years, the valve may have become hard to turn or even rusted open.  This is another reason you should locate it now and make sure you can turn it off in a dire situation.

If you can’t turn off the water with the shut off valve, you have two other options.  One is to turn off the water at the main shutoff valve.  This will stop water from flowing to all parts of your house.  It will stop the overflow from the toilet, but it can be inconvenient not to have service anywhere else.

Another option is to open the back of the toilet tank and look for the flapper.  This is a rubber disk on a hinge that normally covers a hole in the bottom of the tank when the toilet has finished cycling.  Gently push it down.  Depending on the type of toilet you have, you may also be able to turn off the water by lifting the float ball.  This is what stops the tank from filling once it reaches a certain level.  Be careful, because the water may start up again if you release it.  Make sure you have someone around to assist you.

Once the water has stopped, you need to address the clog. Most of the time, your plunger should do the trick.  If not, you may need to call A&W Plumbing. Once the clog is fixed, you can turn the water back on.

Remember to get familiar with the parts of your toilet ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about what to do in an emergency.  Do what you can on your own, but always leave the big jobs to the professionals.  Here at A&W Plumbing, we’re happy to help!