There are few plumbing problems that incite an immediate sense of dread, and one of them is not knowing how to fix an overflowing toilet. At that moment, it might feel like there is nothing you can do to stop it, and that it might be too late to prevent any damage. Luckily, there are ways you can manage an overflowing toilet to prevent the worst outcomes.

As with many plumbing problems, the first thing you should do when you see your toilet backing up it to turn off the water. Find the shut-off valve on the wall behind the toilet and stop all incoming water. With no more water running to the toilet, you have slowed the flow and given yourself more time to assess the situation.

The next step in your plan of attack is to check in the tank. If you cannot find the shutoff valve, or are having issues turning off the water, you can stop the flow of water by closing the flapper. With the lid off the tank, look for the rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank and close it so no more water goes to the bowl. If the flapper is closed and water is still flowing, you need to lift the float ball manually to shut off the water.

Now that the water is off, it is time to do the dirty work. Clearing a clog in the toilet requires a plunger, which helps force the clog out by using the force of its action. Use a plunger with a flange in these situations, as opposed to a flat plunger. Flat plungers work better on flatter surfaces, like a sink or shower drain. The plungers with the flange will create a better seal around the drain of your toilet.

Plunging will help dislodge the clog, but be sure it clears the blockage, even if the water is still running. When the passage is open, water should start to properly drain back down the toilet. After that, you can turn the water back on using the valve behind the toilet, and carry on with business as usual.

Things don’t always go as planned, though. When the toughest toilet problems have your head spinner, call the professionals at Kellermeier Plumbing at 616-866-5134. At Kellermeier Plumbing, we pride ourselves on being honest and upfront with our customers and strive to provide our clients with the highest level of service.