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What to Do When Your Toilet Overflows


It is so easy to panic when you’re faced with a plumbing emergency. And an overflowing toilet is about as panic-inducing as a plumbing emergency gets! Not only do you have no idea what to do, you’re also vividly aware that germ-infested water is spreading pathogens across your bathroom, and the problem is getting bigger by the second!

Panic can easily make a problem bigger, or make it take longer to come up with a solution. So it’s the last thing you want to do in a challenging situation. How can you avoid panicking when your toilet overflows? By knowing ahead of time what you’ll need to do. Let us arm you with some knowledge.

Step 1: Shut the Water Off

It’s a good idea in general, when nothing is immediately going wrong, to take a little tour of your home and make sure you know where the water shut-off valves are for the various fixtures, and where the main water shut-off valve to the house is. This can save you a lot of time and distress when you need to shut the water off in a hurry.

Almost all toilets have an oval-handled shut-off valve located to the lower left behind the toilet. Simply turn it until you can’t turn it any further. If for some reason this is missing or broken or just doesn’t do the trick, the main water shut-off to your house will be on an interior wall facing the water source (nearest the street if you have municipal water, or nearest the well) and is often in the basement.

Step 2: Soak Up the Water

It doesn’t take long for a big puddle to cause major water damage to the structure of your floor and subfloor below and around the toilet. Contaminated water is a major bacterial hazard, and mold and rot will be delighted to set in where the wood is soaked. Also, toilets are heavy, and people who sit on them are even heavier. You don’t want the floor to give out underneath you!

Soaking up the water should be your top priority as soon as the continuing flow is stopped. Do this even before calling a plumber. If there’s a lot of water, use large towels, and have a bucket on hand to toss them into.

Step 3: Use a Plunger

If you suspect that something is clogging the toilet, whether you know something had a hard time flushing or you just saw a giggling small child and you can no longer find their rubber duck, try using your toilet plunger, held vertically and thrust just a short distance with a good bit of force several times.

Step 4: Call a Plumber

If you haven’t gotten the toilet unblocked, you’ll need an emergency plumber in Ashburn, VA. If you did get it unblocked, it’s still a good idea to have drain cleaning done in the near future. Slow or partially clogged drains can easily lead to sudden clogs again. 

Step 5: Disinfect

Launder your bucket of dirty towels with bleach or another disinfectant. Wipe down the area around the toilet with a strong disinfectant. And wash, wash, wash your hands.

Whether you have a question about how to shut off your water, you want to schedule a routine appointment, or you have a major emergency on your hands, we’ll always have your back.

AllTech Services, Inc. is your trusted resource for all your plumbing concerns. Contact us today!

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