The toilet is possibly the single most important plumbing fixture in your whole house. Sure, the shower, faucets, and kitchen sink are super important, but could you survive without your toilet? Unfortunately, the most important and most-used plumbing fixture is also terribly prone to issues, particularly backing up. Whether it’s too much toilet paper going down, your munchkin deciding to let a toy go for a swim, or something else, often a toilet will back up and overflow. A backed-up toilet can be a minor inconvenience or it can become a huge issue. Read on to learn more about four most common causes of an overflowing toilet (that are not kid-related) and what you should do about it.
One somewhat unknown part of plumbing system is the vertical pipe called the vent. This vent allows an exchange of air in the pipes that makes things run smoothly. Unfortunately the vents can get clogged with leaves, pine needles, and other debris. When it gets clogged, it can create a vacuum that stops the toilet from flushing correctly. You will need a professional to come out and clear the vent in this case.
Things in your toilet or the connected pipes can create clogs that block the toilet from draining. Sometimes these items can create temporary clogs. These you can usually plunge and get rid of, stopping the overflow and fixing the issue. Other times the materials might build up over time creating a huge clog that requires professional attention. Plunging should always be your first step, but if it doesn’t clear the clog, you should turn off the water and call a plumber. Even if it does clear the clog, call a plumber if you find you’re having repeated clogging issues.
A Full Septic Tank…
Another cause of your toilet backing up could be your septic tank. If your septic tank is full, there isn’t anywhere for the waste to go when you flush. Your septic system should be getting regular maintenance and if it hasn’t been maintained in a while, you should call a professional to come out and check it. When the issue is your septic tank, you will usually find that the back ups and overflows happen at the lowest toilet in the home.
…Or Sewer Line Issues
If you don’t have a septic tank, then that can’t be your issue. The sewer pipes leading out to the municipal sewer system can also become clogged. Roots are the most common cause of back ups to your sewer pipes and if the pipes are on your property they are your responsibility. This is far more common than the municipal system being to blame. If the problem is your pipes you will definitely need a plumbing professional.
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