Flooding toilets are an unwelcomed sight for any home or business owner. Aside from potential health concerns, there is also the trouble of an increasing water bill.

Toilet overflows usually require professional intervention, as the water involved may be harmful and the damage sustained widespread. Before responding to the situation, it is important to understand the common causes of toilet flooding and how to prevent them.

What Causes a Toilet Overflow?

Toilets and their corresponding sewer systems operate on the principle of gravity to remove sewage. Overflows and flooding occur when something prevents this system from working properly.

Blockages A clog in the system is preventing sewage from being flushed.

Damage in the water line
Broken water pipes can cause a massive amount of water to flood the bathroom, which could escalate in a matter of moments if the shutoff valve is not closed in time.

Damage in the sewer line
A blocked, broken or cracked sewer line will not allow sewage to drain properly. When this happens, sewage backs up the sewer line and re-enters the property through the lowest possible point, which is most often be a basement toilet.

Shower leak
Leaks can form if a shower's foundation is compromised. These leaks can flood a bathroom, cause mold growth and result in seepage in the subfloor.

Defects in the plumbing
Toilets can overflow if there are defects in the plumbing system, such as a stuck flush handle or a tank float mechanism not working properly.


If your toilet runs constantly, this typically indicates a malfunction in the toilet tank's internal components. Fortunately, these problems can be easy to diagnose and solve. ServiceMaster Restore has some tips below.
  • Adjust the fill valve or ballcock to reduce the amount of water entering the tank if the water is continuously escaping down the overflow tube.
  • Check the flapper to ensure that it is not chipped, hardened, or worn. Inspect the chain that is coming off the flapper to make sure that it is not caught or tangled and has adequate slack to allow the flapper to automatically close after the release of the handle.
  • Check the flush valve for signs of roughness or erosion, which may allow water to slowly drain into the bowl and cause the tank to be refilled periodically.
  • Ensure that the flush lever is tightly secured and is in good working condition. This includes the toilet handle and the arm located in the interior of the tank.
Don't wait for a toilet overflow to cause major issues before you contact the professionals! Call ServiceMaster by Wright today.

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