Though we will all inevitably experience it at some point, an overflowing toilet is one of the worst fixes for homeowners. When you flush the toilet but the water doesn’t stop filling, you may feel a sudden pang of anxiety. The dread grows as the water rises up to the rim of the bowl and begins to spill under the seat onto the floor.

To compound the problem, you can’t remember whether to lift or dampen the flapper under the toilet lid, and you may be considering just flushing the toilet again and again to loosen something that may be clogged in the line.Before the mess in your bathroom gets any worse, read this quick guide to diagnosing your overflowing toilet and fixing it.

white toilet bowl in a bathroom

1. Turn Off The Water Supply

Most overflowing toilets have a water supply knob behind the toilet close to the surrounding wall. Turn this knob to stop the water supply to the overflowing toilet and prevent any more overflowing. You can also open the lid of the toilet and dampen the flapper to prevent more water from overflowing through the system.

Wipe your brow and give yourself a pat on the back. With the water supply halted, you won’t have to worry about any more water entering the picture while you fix the overflowing toilet.

But at this point, you need to think about two possible reasons why your toilet may be overflowing: a clog, or mechanical problems.

2. Unclog the Toilet

If the overflowing toilet is clogged, you need to unclog it. A few handy tools will make this process much more manageable. The first thing you want to grab is a plunger. If you have a toilet auger (or toilet snake), grab that along with a few rubber O-rings and some plastic gloves. These tools will help you if you're dealing with a clogged toilet.

Plunge the Clog

Use a conventional plunger to push the clog down the drain system by force. This may take a few tries and a bit of muscle power, but it is typically the simplest way to remove a clog and to fix your overflowing toilet.

Use the Auger

If the plunger isn’t doing the trick, pull out your toilet auger. These can be purchased inexpensively at home improvement stores. The auger uses a flexible snake end to penetrate the clog and allow water to flow back from the toilet to the sewage system. After the auger gets through the clog, you should be able to flush or plunge the clog out of the system.

Be sure to check your bathtub drain! Often times toilet drains are connected to bathtub drains. A clog in your toilet could affect your bathtub drain.

If neither the plunger nor the auger fix the clog, you may need to remove the toilet and address a clog deeper in the system. At this point, you will want to call a professional who will take care of the problem with industrial tools.

3. Fix Mechanical Malfunctions

If you suspect your overflowing toilet is due to mechanical problems, carefully open the toilet lid and examine what is inside. If the chain connected to the flapper isn’t properly attached, reattach the chain. This may immediately fix your overflowing toilet! If this isn’t the problem, examine the fill valve. If this is leaking, you may need to replace it.

If these measures don’t work for you, give the professional plumbers a call and contact Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air. We’ll answer your call 24/7 and send a technician to get your toilet back in working order.

When you require professional assistance, call the experts at Bellows Plumbing, Heating & Air. Our technicians are well experienced and qualified to help with all of your home plumbing, heating and cooling needs. Located in the Santa Cruz and Marin County areas, our technicians are ready to help any hour of every day. See what your neighbors are saying about us!