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What Causes a Toilet to Overflow? When Do I Call A Professional?

Plumbing issues like toilet overflows are a nuisance. Not only can they be messy to clean up, but they can also indicate a larger underlying issue. First, you’ll want to know exactly what caused the overflow in the first place. 

It may be an issue you can easily resolve with a plunger or another piece of plumbing equipment you may already have. However, issues with your sewer or septic system will likely need to be addressed by a professional. Let’s explore some of the most common reasons your toilet is overflowing. 

What Causes a Toilet to Overflow?

Anything from a clogged drain to a back-flowing septic tank could be the root cause of your toilet issues. No matter what caused it, you need to address an overflow problem before it spreads contaminated water around your property. 

What Causes a Toilet to Overflow?

1. Clogged Drain

One of the most common reasons for an overflowing toilet is a clogged drain. But how did the clog form? Oftentimes a clogged drain is the result of too much toilet paper or someone erroneously flushing a product that is not made for flushing. Having a plunger nearby can usually resolve the problem. However, if your efforts don’t do the trick, contact a plumbing professional. 

As you await a plumber, you should shut off the water supply to your toilet. This will help keep more water from spilling onto your flooring. Keep in mind that this water is likely contaminated with sewage. Attempting to clean it on your own puts your health at risk. Allow a professional water damage company to take care of cleanup and surface disinfection. 

2. Blocked Vent Pipe

Your plumbing drain lines have vents that help release pent-up gasses that form when waste breaks down. These vents also allow outdoor air to replace the air that’s forced down the drain after flushing the toilet. Debris can block the vents and prevent fresh air from your plumbing drain lines. 

If your plumbing vents don’t replace the air lost after flushing, your toilet can’t function properly, which may lead to an overflow. But even if an overflow doesn’t occur, the absence of new air could wreak havoc on your plumbing system. Call a professional plumber if you believe the pipe vents are blocked. 

3. Sewer Problem

It may seem like a toilet issue, but an overflow could be the result of a problem with your sewer. Objects and tree roots could be obstructing the sewer line, causing it to back up. 

Another possibility is that the sewer pipe is dislocated. If that’s the case, you need to contact a plumbing professional immediately. This is a serious problem that requires special tools and equipment to resolve.

4. Back-Flowing Septic Tank

A poorly maintained septic tank has the potential to backflow into your home. If you continue to flush the toilet when the septic tank is full, the wastewater will have nowhere to go, leading to an overflowing toilet. This can also happen if the line to the septic tank is clogged, stopping wastewater from reaching the septic tank and pushing it back into your home. 

Reach out to a septic tank specialist to help maintain it and clear obstructions. They’ll have the tools needed to figure out the problem and apply any necessary repairs. 

5. Tank Float Ball

Is the toilet still overflowing? Then it’s time to locate the float ball. The float ball looks like a balloon attached to a rod. You can find it within the tank. When raised by the water inside the tank, the float ball tells the toilet when to shut off the water flow after you flush. 

Lift the float ball to make your toilet think the tank is full of water and prop it up. With the water flow stopped, you can address work on unclogging the drain and getting the mess cleaned up. 

6. Old Toilet

Some older toilets are low-flow, making them more likely to clog. Low-flow toilets don’t have the same flushing power as a standard toilet, which means using too much toilet paper can cause a clog. If you’re experiencing clogs and overflows too often, it may be time to upgrade your toilet. 

7. Toilet Tank Flapper

Occasionally, the toilet shutoff valves get stuck after long periods of being open or not being touched. If this is the case, lift the toilet tank lid and locate the flapper. The flapper is a rubber disc that covers the hole at the tank’s bottom. If open, the hole can allow water to continuously flow into the toilet bowl, eventually causing an overflow. To stop it, simply push the flapper down until the water flow stops. You may need to replace the flapper afterward and address any other issues that may have caused the initial overflow. 

When Do I Call A Professional for Toilet Overflow?

While some plumbing issues can be handled by you and a plunger, serious overflows should be left up to a professional. For one, the water overflowing t is likely contaminated, something a professional is ready for. Secondly, plumbers will help ensure any underlying issues are taken care of as well. 

Attempting to handle cleanup or repairs on your own could do more harm than good. So if you don’t know how to fix the problem or don’t feel comfortable, give your local plumber a call. 

Call Northeast Power Dry for Toilet Overflow Cleanup

What Causes a Toilet to Overflow?What Causes a Toilet to Overflow?

Overflowing toilets present an immediate danger to your floors, walls, and ceilings (if the toilet is located upstairs). As more water flows out of the toilet, it can soak vulnerable areas and lead to serious water damage and health hazards. Don’t burden yourself with the cleanup or risk your health—Call Northeast Power dry for help. 

Our toilet overflow cleanup services are available 24/7. If you’re a property owner in areas like  Bridgewater, Bound Brook, and Edison, you can rely on us for emergency support. Call us at 848-359-5845 or contact us.

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