Although toilets are one of the most important plumbing features in our homes, they are also one of the most likely sources of home flooding, leaks, and stinky toilet disasters! While most toilet overflows are caused by a simple clog that’s easily resolved with a plunger, many overflows are a result of a deeper plumbing line, mechanism, or septic issue that can quickly lead to disastrous and expensive water damage!
Before another clog catches you by surprise, take a few minutes to learn about the common causes of a toilet overflowing, and discover a few simple tricks you can use to protect your home (and your wallet) from common overflowing issues.
Basic Clog Resolution
If the toilet itself is blocked by too much toilet paper, a toy, or any other foreign object that has become lodged within the toilet’s system, this is good news. Before attempting to plunge or snake the toilet, you can immediately stop the flow of water by turning off the water supply valve on the back of the toilet. If you’re unable to find the shutoff valve, you can remove the cover from the back of the toilet and lift the ball/cup stopper until the water stops flowing.
Try Using a Plunger or a Drain Snake
At this point, if the overflowing stops, this means that your blockage is within the toilet drain. Depending on what’s causing the blockage, most toilet paper or small objects will successfully be pushed through the system with the use of a plunger. If the plunger is ineffective, the next step is to use a drain snake (also known as a toilet auger). These flexible devices extend deeper into the system, and often have a hook-like apparatus that will grab and remove any stubborn objects trapped within.
If exceptionally stubborn blockages are the culprit, a plumber (or you if you’re handy) may need to lift the toilet from its base to physically inspect the drain opening and manually remove the blockage or snake the underlying plumbing lines.
Sewage Line Issues
Oftentimes, the clog occurs further down the line or within the main sewer line itself. If your toilet’s plumbing connects directly to the city’s sewer system, excessive precipitation, and overused local system, or a physical blockage somewhere between your home and the street drains can all lead to gross sewage backups. If you’ve already turned off the water line to your toilet (and your house) and the issue persists, then it’s time to call in the professionals.
Just like if the main city sewer line has become overloaded, the same happens when your septic tank becomes overfilled. If you’ve neglected to empty your septic tank on time, or if roots, trash, or other debris have blocked the line at any point, the result is wastewater backup into your home.
Unblock Your Sewer Lines
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent these issues from becoming a routine burden. After shutting off the main water to your home, look for a small white pipe about 2-3” in diameter somewhere around the perimeter of your property. Also known as a “drain cleanout valve”, you can unscrew the cap to release pressure from within the line, allowing the trapped water/sewage to begin draining again.
You can also invest in a backwater prevention valve. These devices are designed to allow wastewater to exit, but the innovative flap design prevents backflow from entering the home. Installed directly into the sewer line or your drain line, these systems are well worth the money if you’re all too familiar with sewer line backups.
If your sewer line blockage is caused by an overburdened sump tank or city system, have your sump tank drained/repaired as soon as possible, or call your local city office and inform them of the issue. If you suspect the blockage is being caused by tree roots or other natural debris, a foaming root killer can be effective in clearing and preventing future clogs.
Seek a Professional’s Guidance
Whether it’s a basic toilet issue or a complex systemic issue, seeking professional guidance is always a good idea. A plumber will ensure that your lines are cleared and functioning properly, and a professional water damage cleanup in Philadelphia will prevent issues like mold and moisture-related property damage from affecting your property. Give us a call today, and we’ll help you dry, clean, and restore your property to its like-new condition!
We offer water damage restoration services in Philadelphia and surrounding areas:
- Water Damage Restoration Services in Bucks County, PA;
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