How to Fix Common Toilet Problems Without Calling a Plumber

Here is a common toilet disaster and what to do about it:

The Toilet is Clogged

If you have flushed the toilet and the water and contents did not go down, it is clogged. Sometimes the water will begin to rise to the top of the bowl and overflow. If you see the water rising and have a plunger available, begin to plunge the toilet immediately to try to prevent the overflow. If no plunger is available, use a toilet brush. In order to use a plunger properly, place the rubber part totally under water. This is important in order to gain suction or reverse siphoning action. Place the rubber plunger end over the hole and obtain a firm seal. Then use vigorous force to plunge many times in quick succession. The water should begin draining out of the bowl. Then flush the toilet to test that the clog has been cleared, but be ready to plunge during the test flush should the water start to back up again. If you are a guest in someone’s home and the toilet clogs, you should alert the homeowner that the toilet clogged and the actions you took to correct it, so that the homeowner can be aware of the problem in the future.

If the water has overflowed and is flooding the bathroom, first turn off the water at the wall behind the toilet. Once the water is off, user plunger to clear clog. Turn water back on and flush to test if clog has been cleared. Do not attempt clean-up until clog is cleared and toilet is flushing properly. Next remove all wet and/or soiled items from the floor including rugs, towels. Use some of the dirty towels to soak up the water. Wear gloves and clean up any solid waste or paper waste and flush this again (once toilet is properly flushing). Use a Wet-Vac to vacuum up the water if there is a lot of water. If there is no Wet-Vac available, use a mop to first mop up the worst of the mess and squeeze mop into toilet each time. Then get a bucket of bleach water and mop the entire floor, frequently emptying the bucket and rinsing the mop. If carpet has been affected, pull up the carpet and the pad and use Wet-Vac to clean them both. Leave them up until dried. Have them professionally cleaned and sanitized. Of course, it makes for easier clean-up if bathrooms are kept free of items on the floor including carpets, rugs, towels and decorative items.

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