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  • Writer's pictureJohn Lockwood Plumbing

The Do's and Don'ts of Handling an Overflowing Toilet

Clogged toilets are very common, and are usually very easy to fix. They can become a real problem, though, when they cause your toilet to overflow, which can indicate issues with your plumbing and cause damage to other parts of the home. Knowing what to do if your toilet overflows can be really helpful, so here are a few things you should and shouldn't do to fix the problem.


Shut off the water supply.

If you've flushed your toilet and the water level rises, shutting off the water supply will stop the flow of water. Do this by locating the valve, which is on the wall behind the toilet, and turning it clockwise until it stops. If this doesn't work, open the tank behind your toilet and close the flapper valve, which should stop the flow of water. If the toilet is still overflowing, it's an indication that there are issues with your plumbing, so you should contact a plumber as soon as possible.

Use a plunger.

After you've turned off the water, use a plunger to try to release the clog. Place a few old towels around the base of the toilet to absorb some of the water that may spill out, then ensure a tight seal with the plunger and push it up and down for about 20 seconds to release the clog. Try this a few times, and if the clog has been dislodged, the water should go down on its own.


Flush again without trying to remove a clog.

If you flush your toilet and it begins to overflow, don't try to flush it again. This can push the clog further down and make it worse and can make the overflow worse. It can also cause damage to the rest of your plumbing by adding more pressure to the system.

Use other drains.

It's possible that this clog means there are issues in your plumbing system as a whole, so don't try using the sink or shower drain, as those could overflow as well, or even burst some of the pipes. Try to get rid of the clog yourself first, and if you can't, contact a plumber for help.

If you've tried everything above and your toilet is still clogged or overflowing, contact the plumbers at John Lockwood Plumbing. Located in Ontario, NY, this family-owned business has been providing professional and effective plumbing services for over 40 years. They are knowledgeable and will repair your plumbing system, even when you don't know what's wrong. For an estimate, call them at (585) 265-0736 or visit their website for more information.

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