We’ve all been there. You flush the toilet and the water starts…coming up. Eke! It’s even worse when you’re at a party or office function! Although your first urge is likely to quickly get the heck out of there, it’s best to remain calm and remember these instructions:
– Do NOT flush again!
– Quickly take the lid off the back of the toilet.
– Push the tank ball (or “flapper,” if you’re in a 1920s mood) down, closing the flush valve. This will keep the water inside the tank instead of your toilet bowl.
Most overflowing toilet issues are the result of sanitary products, small toys, or other items inadvertently dropped into the bowl (cell phone, anyone?). Although it may seem best (and less messy) to force them through the pipeline, it is actually better to dislodge or remove the foreign object with your hands (wearing some good latex or kitchen gloves, of course).
Common clogs, however, are due to excess waste and toilet tissue. These clogs can usually be fixed using a good old-fashioned plunger. Although it spends 99% of its life sitting unnoticed in the bathroom corner, it becomes a life (and embarrassment) saver in these situations. Simply submerge the plunger in the water, give it about 20 seconds of pushing and pulling, and the pathway should be clear once again. Some stubborn clogs may require the use of a closet auger. This is sometimes called a “snake” and can be purchased at your local hardware store for $35 or less.
Recurrent clogs and other drain backups will probably need to be addressed by a licensed plumber, so it’s always best to have their contact information handy in case the need arises.