Toilet bowls are specifically designed to hold all the water in the tank without spilling over. In spite of that, toilet overflow can still occur and is actually a common problem. Flushing and then watching as the water in the toilet bowl continues to rise is the last thing a homeowner wants to see. If you find yourself having to deal with toilet water overflowing all over your bathroom floor, you need to address the problem immediately to minimize the damage to your home as well as avoid a potential health risk. However, you need to take utmost care when handling this type of problem, and make sure it is done thoroughly and correctly. Water from the toilet can be troublesome—even hazardous—as it is unsanitary and full of bacteria that is dangerous to your health and that of your family. To make matters worse, water that leaks from a toilet can lead to damage to the floor, subfloor, nearby cabinets—and even leak through ceilings and walls.
- What Causes a Toilet Overflow? – The most common reason a toilet overflows is because it is clogged. Some items are just not intended to be flushed and should never be flushed down the toilet, in particular, those that don’t break down in water for proper passage through a sanitary or sewer system. Typical culprits include disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products, and an excess amount of kitty litter. Other times, items fall into the toilet by accident, or curious children and toddlers are drawn to the toilet to give their favorite stuffed animal a “bath.” Take care to always keep the lid down when the toilet is not in use to avoid accidents.
In some instances, you can remedy a clog yourself by using a liquid drain opener and a plunger. But, if plunging the toilet doesn’t break open the clog, or if you think faulty plumbing is the cause, contact a professional. Plumbers are trained to deal with these types of issues, and they have specialized equipment, such as a snake, that can reach further down in the plumbing system to remove the obstruction.
- What to Do When Your Toilet Overflows – If the overflow is minimal, you might be able to clean up the mess yourself. You should always take precautions, however, to avoid contamination and coming into contact with unsanitary water and other matter. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and mop up the water right away with soap and disinfectant. (Then toss the mop, as you will not want to use it again anywhere else in your home.) Wash soiled clothing and towels in hot water to thoroughly disinfect them.
But, if the toilet overflow is more serious, for example, if it occurred as a result of a sewage backup, it requires professional cleanup and treatment. This type of water is highly contaminated and poses a serious health risk. And, if the water has been standing for any amount of time, the damage may extend beyond what is visible on the bathroom floor. The entire area needs to be checked for unsanitary water and moisture that could have seeped through the floor and subfloor or to nearby cabinets. A professional water damage cleanup and restoration company knows how to properly treat this type of mess. They have the necessary training and equipment, and follow specific safety and sanitary procedures to fully clean, dry, and sanitize the entire affected area. That includes checking for damage to floors, subfloors, and walls, and taking steps to ensure mold does not grow as a result of lingering moisture.
To minimize the risk of infection from contamination, clean your toilet regularly and make sure it always flushes and water flows properly. If you have a septic system, it is recommended to have the septic tank cleaned every 8 to 10 years, too, as sewer line backups can also result in toilet backup and overflow.
If your home has received water damage from a toilet overflow, call the IICRC-certified professionals at Warren Cleaning and Restoration. Our two family-owned and operated offices are located in Big Stone Gap, VA, and Hendersonville, NC, and we serve an approximate 2-hour radius from each. We can handle any water damage or water leak issue from an overflowing toilet, and will thoroughly dry, clean, and sanitize the damaged area to restore your home to its pre-water-damage condition.
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