Every home has a toilet, but most people don’t give it a second thought. That is, until it starts flooding your bathroom and leaving you wondering, “What causes a toilet to overflow?”
Knowing why your toilet is overflowing is very important to figure out how to stop it. As a reliable plumbing repair company in Pacifica, CA, we at Works Plumbing know how frustrating it can be to deal with an overflowing toilet or any plumbing problem, for that matter. We’re available 24/7 to answer your call and fix your overflowing toilet. Call (650) 835-2009 to schedule service.
Your toilet could be overflowing for any number of reasons. Learn the most common reasons and how to stop an overflowing toilet in this step-by-step guide.
Why Is Your Toilet Overflowing?
When it works properly, your toilet should flush water down the toilet bowl and allow your plumbing system to take the wastewater away from your property. A broken toilet can cause many issues, but one of the more frustrating ones is an overflowing toilet.
What causes an overflowing toilet in the first place? More often than not, a toilet overflows because of one of these three reasons.
1. You Have a Blocked or Clogged Drain
Clogged drains prevent water from coming through, so when you flush your toilet, the water comes back up through the bowl and, eventually, onto your floor. It’s also relatively easy to determine if your toilet is overflowing because of a drain. If the water is flowing out of the toilet bowl and not the tank, it’s due to a drain clog.
How do you fix a clogged toilet drain? Grab a plunger, seal it over the hole at the bottom of the toilet bowl, and plunge to remove the clog.
Plungers work best for minor clogs. For instance, flushing unnecessary paper products (paper towels, too much toilet paper, etc.) can quickly clog up your toilet. You can often resolve this with a plunger.
Some clogs require more than a typical plunger. For example, if you have children, they could throw toys and other small but bulky objects down the toilet bowl. You could also accidentally flush your keys, phone, or clothing.
If your plunger doesn’t work and you still have an overflowing toilet, it’s time to call the professionals.
2. Your Toilet Has a High Filler Float
The filler float determines how much water the toilet tank should use to fill up the toilet. If the float is too high, the water will overflow in the tank. Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix. If you see water coming out of your tank, lift the tank lid and try to fix the mechanism to get better control of the float.
If you have no idea what the filler float is or how to fix it, don’t worry. When in doubt, always call a professional plumber. Since this is a pretty easy fix, it shouldn’t cost you much, either.
3. Blocked Vent Pipe
When determining what causes a toilet to overflow from the bowl, keep in mind that it’s not always a blocked drain. It could also be a blocked vent pipe. But what is a vent pipe, and how do you fix it?
Basically, the vent pipe moves external air into your plumbing system and replaces the air that each flush pumps away. If something is blocking the vent pipe, your toilet won’t be able to flush correctly and will probably start overflowing.
So, how do you know if it’s a blocked vent pipe or a clog? If your toilet starts overflowing right after you try to flush, it’s probably a clog. However, if you notice that your toilet has more frequent clogs, it could be a vent pipe. A blocked vent pipe requires a professional’s attention.
Toilet Backup vs. Overflow: What’s the Difference?
When water starts coming out of your toilet bowl, you probably reach for the plunger without giving it a second thought. However, before putting in the elbow grease, you need to determine whether you’re dealing with toilet backup or overflow.
What’s the difference? A backed-up toilet is often the result of a clog preventing the water from draining correctly. Meanwhile, toilet overflow is often a pipe or septic system issue.
Since backups are often due to too much toilet paper or other items clogging your drain, you can typically fix the problem using a plunger. However, overflows could be due to a blockage in the mainline or corroded pipes. In this case, you need to hire a professional to fix the issue as soon as possible.
How to Quickly Stop Your Toilet from Overflowing
Understanding what causes a toilet to overflow is only part of the solution. An overflowing toilet can lead to a flooded bathroom, damaged plumbing, and more, so you need to address it immediately. Try these steps to stop your toilet from overflowing.
Step #1: Use the Toilet’s Shutoff Valve
The first thing you need to do is cut off your toilet’s water supply. You can do this by looking behind your toilet and finding a silver knob shaped like a football on the wall. Turn it clockwise to prevent more water from coming through your toilet.
Step #2: Fix the Toilet Tank Flapper
Using the toilet shutoff valve should stop the water, but sometimes this knob can become stuck. If that’s the case for you, then you need to try the toilet tank flapper.
Remove the toilet tank lid, then look for your toilet’s flapper, which is the rubber disc covering the hole at the bottom of your toilet’s tank. An open flapper causes water to continue to flow into the bowl. You can stop this by simply pressing the flapper back down to completely cover the tank hole.
Keep in mind that this is just a temporary solution. Cutting off the water or fixing the flapper just gives you enough time to address the clog in your toilet and prevent more water from flooding your floors.
Step #3: Check the Float Ball
If you can’t stop the water overflow by cutting off the water supply or fixing the flapper, your last resort should be the float ball. This is pretty easy to spot; it’s the large balloon that attaches to a rod in your toilet’s tank. When the water level in the tank raises this bar, it tells your toilet to stop the water from filling it after you flush.
Lift the float ball to stop water flowing from the tank to the bowl, then use something to hold it there so you can clean up and address the cause of the overflow.
Can You Do Anything to Prevent Toilet Overflow?
Dealing with an overflowing toilet is a headache, so you should know how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Fortunately, you do have a few ways to keep your toilet operating as efficiently as possible. First, only flush toilet paper. Even flushable wipes and paper towels can cause clogs.
The first and most important thing to keep up with is routine plumbing maintenance. The key to preventing any plumbing issues is routine maintenance because it can help keep everything running smoothly and minimize potential problems.
What does routine maintenance include for your toilet? When you schedule an annual inspection with professional plumbers, the experts use specialized cameras to get a more in-depth look at your pipes and plumbing system.
This comprehensive inspection allows them to find any potential blockages or pipe damage before they worsen into something more expensive. Caring for your pipes is essential for protecting your toilet and any other part of your plumbing system. If you want to do everything you can to avoid an overflowing toilet, take good care of your pipes.
Our Overflowing Toilet Repair Service
If you have a clogged toilet drain or any other plumbing problem, call us at Works Plumbing for 24/7 emergency service. Our professional plumbers use state-of-the-art equipment and have years of industry experience, so they can effectively resolve your problem and make sure you can flush the toilet with ease again.
We can use several different techniques to fix an overflowing toilet:
- Hydro jetting
- And more
The repair method will ultimately depend on your specific plumbing problem. If your toilet is overflowing and you can’t get a handle on things, let our professionals take care of it for you.
Reach Out to the Go-To Plumbing Experts Today | Works Plumbing
Understanding what causes a toilet to overflow can help you find a quick solution when the problem arises. Regardless, the best way to fix any plumbing issue is by calling the experts.
At Works Plumbing, we’ve seen every toilet issue under the sun, so we can quickly repair your plumbing system and make sure you don’t have to deal with an overflowing toilet again any time soon.