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Overflowing Toilet? Here’s What to Do


We all know the feeling of trying to flush a toilet and realizing things aren’t going the way we want them to. Gradually, our level of panic increases as we worry that the filling won’t stop. As the toilet water overflows, so do our frantic emotions. But this is no time to freak out! You need to keep a cool head on your shoulders.

When this problem occurs, the best way to stay calm is to already know how to handle it. When you have a plan, you can simply execute the steps of the plan with no need to figure things out in the middle of a stressful moment. What should you do when your toilet overflows? We’ll give you a step-by-step plan so you won’t panic.

Step 1: Shut the Water Off

Almost all toilets have an individual shut-off valve for their water. This will be at the back of the toilet, on a pipe or hose connecting the toilet to the wall, usually to the left side. It’s an oval knob, and you can simply turn it clockwise until the water stops running. However, in rare situations, a toilet might not have this knob.

If necessary, you can shut off the water to the whole house. This shut-off valve will be located low down or in the basement on the wall facing your water supply. If you have municipal water, this will likely be the wall that faces the street. Otherwise it will be the wall closest to your well. Again, turn clockwise until it won’t turn anymore.

Step 2: Soak Up the Water

Don’t dab with a paper towel if you’ve got a pile-of-bath-towels-sized puddle. You want to soak that water up as quickly as you can so it won’t soak into your floor. That could leave you with sodden, germ-infested flooring, a weakened, water-damaged subfloor, and a lasting wetness that any mold would love to call home. Get the floor dry, and get those towels in the wash—ideally, with some bleach.

Step 3: Try to Unclog the Toilet

Plungers should be held vertically and thrust firmly but not very far, only a couple of inches. Remember, you’re trying to push water down through the drain, not pull the clog up. Give this a good try for a few minutes. It would be lovely if you didn’t have to call a plumber! Wipe up and disinfect any new splashes you create in the process.

Step 4: Call a Plumber

If you’re unsuccessful, you’ll need professional plumbing assistance. But first, in case it’s happened late at night or on a weekend, let’s determine whether this is an emergency. If it’s your only toilet, or if you’ve had to shut off the water to the whole house, you’ll want help immediately. Otherwise, you can wait until regular business hours to call for a plumber in West Chester, PA.

Contact Platinum Plumbing & Heating, Inc. today to schedule an appointment with our pros.

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