If your toilet starts to overflow then the wastewater and any other products in the toilet will be deposited on your bathroom floor. That’s undesirable and can potentially cause health issues. It’s also very inconvenient.
Of course, the natural response is to call your local emergency plumber. This is a good idea. However, there are several things you can do to stop the toilet from overflowing and potentially fix the issue. At the least, you’ll be reducing the amount of waste going on your floor.
Shut The Water Supply Off
A well-plumbed house will have a valve for the water supplying the toilet cistern. Simply shutting it off will stop any more water from entering your toilet bowl and overflowing. If there isn’t a valve by the toilet then you’ll need to check for one somewhere else in the bathroom. Failing this, you can shut off the water to the entire house at the main stop cock.
Check the Cistern
If you lift off the lid of your cistern you’ll find a float. This should be near the top of the cistern. When it reaches the high position it shuts the water off to the bowl. But, if the float is sticking or failing, it will never reach the high position. In other words, it will continue to let water through, filling the bowl further.
You’ll need to manually lift the float arm and tie it up, this will stop the water from flowing and allow you to look at the real problem.
The Clogged Toilet
It would be very unusual for the above water supply issues to cause an overflowing toilet. In most cases, the water drains faster from the bowl than it enters. However, if the toilet is clogged, you’ll find that the wastewater has nowhere to go. This is when the toilet will back up and eventually overflow. The above will then make the problem worse.
Fortunately, a blocked toilet is usually easy to deal with.
- Use A Plunger
The best starting point is to use a dedicated toilet plunger. This covers the bowl at the base of the toilet and creates pressure through the manipulation of air. Simply work it up and down a few times and see if it helps to dislodge the clog.
- Baking Soda & Vinegar
Another effective way to eliminate a clog is to pour baking soda into the toilet. You’ll want to give it a few minutes to settle before adding some vinegar. The two substances react and can effectively dislodge a clog. It is worth noting that this approach can be used even if you have a septic tank.
- Check the vent
If the plunger and baking soda don’t work, you can have the professionals rod the stack. However, it is also worth looking at the vent pipe. A bird’s nest or similar can block the flow of air which makes it impossible for the toilet to function correctly.
Clearing the vent can restore normal function.