drawing of toilet overflowing

What To Do When Your Toilet Overflows

What to Do When Your Toilet Overflows

When you are experiencing a toilet overflow, first you'll want to locate your water shut off valve near the base of your toilet. If your toilet doesn't have one of these, open the tank and make sure the float stays in it's position to not let anymore water fill the tank. In addition, you'll want to make sure you don't panic, grab a plunger, and look for the clog.

If all else fails, call our expert Denver plumbers at (720) 330-4868 to make sure your toilet is fixed as soon as possible.

Steps to Follow If Your Toilet is Overflowing

1. Don't Panic

This may sound like a simple or silly step, but it's an important one. The situation in front of you isn't a pretty one, but running from the room screaming isn't a viable solution. Take the time to catch your breath and realize that even if this is something you don't feel capable of handling, there are resources available to help you.

2. Use Your Plunger

Grabbing the plunger is the most logical place to start if your toilet overflows. The pipes that traverse from your toilet to the sewer system have a lot of immediate twists and turns, and if whatever was last flushed was too large, it's very possible it may have become lodged in one of the turns. The plunger will work to force the water and pressure through the pipe to get the offending item unstuck, allowing your toilet to return to normal functioning.

If this is your first time using a plunger, the process is simple. Hold onto the handle and place the other part into the toilet over the drain hole. Make sure that the hole is completely covered so that you essentially create a seal. From here, pressing down with the handle will hopefully clear out whatever got stuck. If not, check out the next step in this journey.

3. Clearing the Clog

If your problem wasn't resolved with a plunger, then things can start to get tricky. This means that whatever is down the pipes is either at just the perfect angle (think dinosaur tail versus plumbing pipe) or it's bigger than you were expecting. There are a few ways you can tackle this issue and they include using chemicals, using something like a snake, or going straight to calling a plumber. 

Using a Snake

We'll start with using a snake. These can be found at your local hardware store and will look sort of like a long spear-type tool. There is likely a description on the package, or the sales associate can give you a basic run-down, but it's really simple. You can also check out a quick video online if you want to be ultra-prepared. The basic concept of using a snake to unclog a drain is that it will "grab" onto whatever is down there and either pull it out.

It's important to note that you'll always want to pull rather than push, as pushing the clog further down can cause more significant problems including potential damage and the need for a new toilet. You'll want to place the snake in your toilet, just like you did with the plunger, and turn the handle clockwise from you. This will lower the working end of the snake. You can then turn the handle counterclockwise to retract the snake and hopefully the clog with it.

Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

As far as chemicals go, there are products on the market that are specifically designed to unclog your toilet. It is very important at this stage to read the instructions carefully on anything you purchase and ensure that you understand them. Some products work to clear out your clog using thermogenic, or heat. If chemicals are added in the wrong amounts, you run the risk of permanent damage to your toilet, potential injury to yourself, and having an embarrassing story to tell your friends and family about your toilet adventures.

The other safety precaution to be aware of is that your toilet is not a great place to perform science experiments. By this we mean, you shouldn't add more than one chemical at a time, or possibly even in a day. Some of the chemical combinations can be extremely hazardous and are likely not something you want to mess around with.

4. Get The Plumber!

Everyone seems to want to avoid this step, but sometimes it's a crucial phone call to make for the safety, health, hygiene, and sanity of everyone involved. Having a professional from High 5 Plumbing come to diagnose your toilet issue and give you a viable treatment option for it is going to be much quicker and safer than trying to tackle the project yourself. High 5 Plumbing is a great place to start for this.

We can complete most jobs in a single day. Additionally, all workers are background checked, and estimates are free.

Depending on your skill level you may be able to get through the clog yourself, but it is highly recommended to call the professionals at High 5 Plumbing to prevent any of your DIY efforts from making the issue worse!


Call High 5 Plumbing today at (720) 330-4868 or contact us online if you’re dealing with the aftermath of a toilet clog. Our Denver plumbers will be there to help you shortly!


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