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What to do when toilet overflows?

Diagnosing the cause of the overflow and dealing with it may be a job with a professional. However, the first order of business, which anyone can carry out, is to halt the flow of sewage from the toilet to the floor:
  • Immediately remove the toilet tank lid – set it aside carefully, don’t knock it on the floor (breakable).
  • Don’t waste time moving towels and such to soak up the overflow- stopping the overflow is the top priority.
  • Reach inside the toilet tank and push down the flapper valve (rubber valve in the center of the bottom of the toilet tank) that lets the tank empty water into the toilet bowl- This will halt water entering the toilet bowl from the toilet tank.
  • Remember: the water in the toilet tank is just water- the water in the toilet bowl is sewage.
  • Lift the float that operates the toilet tank fill valve- this will halt the fill up of the toilet tank.
  • If the water level in the toilet bowl slowly drops after you perform the above steps, just keep on holding the toilet tank float up in its highest position until the water level returns to normal.
  • If, on the other hand, the water level in the toilet bowl shows no sign of dropping, continue to hold up the toilet tank float while you close the toilet supply valve – it should be near the floor or in the wall behind the toilet.
  • If the toilet supply valve is hard to turn do not force it – it could break and leave you a terrible supply leak on top of your overflow problem.
  • If you can’t close or locate the toilet fill valve – remove the little flexible rubber or plastic tube that is sending water into the toilet bowl through the vertical standpipe.
Congratulations, you halted your toilet overflow – now is the time to call a professional company to cleanup any sewage spill and to identify and remedy the root cause of the overflow. It might be a blocked drain or pipe in your own home, a blocked main drain, a non-functional sewage ejector/septic pump or even a problem with your septic tank.
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