What Causes a Toilet to Overflow in Your Home?

July 29, 2021

Learning what causes a toilet to overflow is the first step in being able to deal with such an emergency. Not having the use of a toilet creates a substantial inconvenience. Identifying the source of the clog is the first step in fixing the problem. The clog could be coming from the toilet, the vent pipe, the septic tank, or the sewer line. You can determine what causes a toilet to overflow by:

  • Using a plunger to see if you can drain the toilet. Too much toilet paper will plug up a toilet eventually, whether it’s the result of overuse or a child’s exuberant use of the paper. Kids or pets could have dropped items in the toilet that plug it up.
  • Listening for noises. If you don’t have much luck with the plunger, you might have either a blocked vent or a plugged sewer line. Hearing or seeing bubbling in the toilet or from anywhere else in the plumbing system could indicate that the clog is either in the pipes or the venting.

If it’s the sewer, the lowest plumbing fixture in the house is the most vulnerable when it’s a sewer or septic issue. If it's either the vent or the sewer line, contact a plumber to investigate.

Old pipes, grease, or trees might be what causes a toilet to overflow. Over time, pipes can collapse or deposits along the inside of the pipes can reach the point where they close. Using the plumbing system to drain grease is a sure way to plug up the pipes prematurely.

Some tree roots aggressively seek water, and if there’s a leak in a sewer pipe underground, the roots could grow toward it. They inch their way into the pipes and eventually plug it.

  • Investigating the septic system. Homeowners with a septic system sometimes have problems with a full tank or the drain field. Both can cause your toilet to stop draining. You can check the plumbing cleanout to see how far the water has backed up. If it’s full, call a licensed plumber for immediate assistance. Sewage is a serious health hazard.

To learn more about what causes a toilet to overflow, contact the pros at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, providing top-notch plumbing services for Monmouth County homeowners.