“Help!! My toilet is overflowing onto the floor and it just won’t stop! I tried shutting the water off underneath the toilet and it helped a little, but it still keeps flowing. I’m up to my ankles in sewage! What do I do?”
You have no idea how many times we at NDI Plumbing Inc. have received that phone call from frantic homeowners! If your toilet starts to back up and overflow, don’t panic. The important thing is to get the overflow under control and to identify the source of the problem. That means keeping a cool head and taking an analytical approach.
First off, whenever your toilet overflows, it is a good idea to turn off the water to the toilet because it eliminates any more water from being used until the problem is fixed. The shut off is beneath the bowl, usually on the left side.
Did the overflow begin when you flushed the toilet? When your toilet overflows right after you flush it’s usually a sign that the toilet itself has a blockage. If it turns out that the clog is in the toilet itself, you could try using a toilet plunger to move the blockage through the toilet. That may be all you need to rectify the situation. Give it a few plunges to see if clears the clog. If not, don’t continue — it will probably just make things worse. Call a plumbing and drain professional; they can unclog the toilet quickly, inexpensively and safely.
What if your toilet keeps overflowing even when you haven’t flushed it? Usually this means the clog is in a drain pipe, possibly your main drain pipe or sewer line. If this is the case, when you run water from any fixture such as a shower, the water will back up from the main drain pipe and come out of your toilet bowl because it is the lowest point in your drain system. Of course, this makes it seem like the toilet is the problem, when in fact it’s your main drain pipe or sewer line that isn’t letting water go down. If you stop using water at other fixtures, the toilet will stop overflowing.
If it appears that your main drain or sewer might be clogged, call a drain cleaning professional as soon as possible. Powerful drain clearing equipment is required to unblock a main drain.
If you have a private septic system, the problem may be that your septic tank is full and is causing your main drain to back up into your home. If your septic tank has not been pumped within the last eighteen months, you should have it done to see if this is the cause of your problem. Even if you discover the problem was not in the septic tank, taking care of past due maintenance on your septic system is money well spent.
It’s also very possible that the problem is not on your end. If you are on a town sewer system it is possible that the city sewer is blocked and sewage from your home and or your neighbors’ homes is backing up into your home. Check with your neighbors to see if they are having any problem with their main drains. If they are, be sure to call your town sewer department. If your neighbors or town say they are having problems, your town will take care of unclogging the sewer pipe. If raw sewage has backed into your home, you can call a professional cleaning company to handle the clean up and properly sanitize your home.
Contact NDI Plumbing Inc.
With over 30 years of service experience, we have helped thousands of homeowners in the Reno, Sparks, Fernley, Fallon, and Carson City areas with their plumbing needs. Our team of plumbing professionals consists of some of the most experienced and most qualified plumbers working today in the Reno/Sparks area. These are top-notch plumbing technicians who can accurately diagnose and quickly fix any and all plumbing problems. Plumbing emergencies are our specialty!