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What Causes Toilet Overflows + How to Fix It (Safely)

An overflowing toilet does more than carry a foul odor in the bathroom. Home and sewer waste carries bacteria and bacteria-filled water with it, causing floor damage, wall damage, mold, and damage to bathroom furniture and appliances. Worse, the water seeps to hallways and other rooms in the house, threatening the floors and walls in that area.

Jump to sections:

What causes a toilet to overflow?

What to do if your toilet floods

Does home insurance cover toilet floods?

Toilet overflow damage restoration services

What causes a toilet to overflow?

There might be multiple reasons why your toilet overflows. These are five of the most common causes of water damage from the overflowing toilet.

Clogged pipes

A clog can prevent functioning pipes from its job, which is carrying waste from the toilet to the outside. The major culprit is toilet paper, but it could be human waste buildup or the toilet flow.

Vent blockage

The vertical pipe that connects plumbing fixtures together is the vent. The vent takes air from the outside and sends it down to the toilet to replace the air missing. Vent blockage is when debris blocks the vent. The result is a foul smell, a bubbling sound, suction, and/or draining issues.

Broken toilet parts

Malfunctioning parts inside and outside the toilet tank can cause toilet overflow from the base and/or tank. Examples are a broken flush handle and a malfunctioning fill valve.

Septic tank issues

Homes with septic tanks store waste first and then release the waste into the soil. A full septic tank will cause the toilet to overflow from the tank. Trapped stored waste in tanks will have the same result.

Low-flow toilet

Sadly, this toilet itself may be the culprit. Low-flow toilets cannot keep up with the home’s demands. It requires more than one flush to get the job done. For these toilets, it’s easy to clog it with non-flushable items, causing overflow from the base.

What to do if your toilet floods

A pile-up from toilet overflow is never satisfying to clean up. The dirty water, bacteria, and human waste make it unsanitary to touch. This is why you need to contact the water damage restoration professionals to handle it for you. Before they arrive, here’s what you can do to minimise further water damage:

Identify the type of water. Overflow water comes in three types – clean, gray, and black. 

  1. Clean water is the safest to clean up. It’s the same clean water that comes from faucets. 
  2. If the clean water interacts with rim buildup, feces, or by-products, it becomes black water. This is the most unsanitary to clean up alone. 
  3. Gray water is clean water and urine combined, so there is some contamination. Gray water becomes black water if it sits idle.
Turn off the toilet water valve to prevent further overflows. If this doesn’t work, or you can’t find it, turn off the water supply valve.
Remove anything you can from the surrounding area. If it is already wet, use rubber gloves to place the items into a thick, heavy duty garbage sack to be dried and cleaned later.

Contact your home insurance company to let them know about the toilet overflow and check your policy coverage.


Does home insurance cover toilet overflows?

The home insurance policy will cover sudden and accidental water damage from a burst pipe. Additionally, the policy will cover dwellings and personal property. Water damage dwellings insurance coverage covers wall damage from pipes inside it. Personal property water damage insurance coverage covers belongings like electronics and books damaged from water. The policy will not cover negligence, maintenance issues, floods, and outside drains/sewers. For water damage from toilet overflow, coverage is 50/50. It depends highly on the overflow’s cause and the problem area’s location.

Need some help with an overflowing toilet? iFlooded Restoration's got you covered

Because of the iffy resolution, you need a pro on your side. The water damage restoration professionals at iFlooded Restoration know exactly how to maneuver this situation. 

We dry the floors using the latest technology to properly dry your bathroom and avoid any risk of mold growth. We use tools and tried-and-true knowledge to clean up the mess and sanitize the area.

After the floors are clean, sanitary, and dry, we will survey the damaged area for potential mold growth or upcoming damage. Finally, if it is a covered loss, all payment comes from the insurance company. 

With over 30 years of experience with water damage restoration, never tackle this dirty job alone. Contact us for a consultation, including a free estimate.

Call Us Today for NY Water Damage Restoration!

We are reliable, and our 24/7 response team is on standby, waiting to serve you.

With more than 30 years of water damage restoration experience, iFlooded Restoration provides the best water damage repair services in New York and the Tri-State Area. 

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