what to do when sanitation services are interrupted

A New Homeowner's Guide For Dealing With A Backed-Up Toilet

A backed-up toilet bowl won't drain as it should. It may even overflow, filling up with unwanted sewage. If you're a new renter or homeowner, this may be the first time you've experienced this issue, but don't panic. You just need to take action to mitigate the damage and resolve the issue as soon as you can. Here is a step-by-step guide you can follow when dealing with a backed-up toilet.

1. Stop using the toilet.

In case it doesn't go without saying, you should stop using the toilet as soon as you realize it isn't functioning properly. Continuing to use the toilet when it's backed up can cause a sewage overflow that you probably don't want to deal with. If you have additional toilets in the house that are still functioning properly, use those instead. If you only have one bathroom, you may have to drive to a nearby restaurant, store, or friend's house to use their facilities until your toilet is repaired.

2. Call a plumber.

Some clogs can be loosened with a plunger, but a backed-up toilet is different from a clogged toilet. When a toilet backs up, it means there is a clog in the sewer line that's causing sewage to reenter your toilet bowl. You'll need to call a plumber that offers toilet backup repair services. If it's late at night and you can't wait for a repair, call an emergency plumber who operates outside normal business hours. Stay at your home so you can be ready to let the plumber in once they arrive.

3. Check the other drains in your house.

When sewer lines back up, it's common for multiple drains to suffer the effects. While waiting for your plumber to arrive, check the other drains in your house, as well. Look for standing water in your sink and shower. Check for a malodorous smell. Untreated sewage is full of bacteria that carry unwanted odors, so smelly drains are signs that the sewer line is leaking into other parts of your home. Make note of the affected drains and inform the toilet backup repairperson when they arrive.

4. Follow your plumber's recommendations.

The plumber will first try to remove the source of your clogged sewer line using a drain snake. In many cases, this tool will do the job. Sometimes backed-up toilets are caused by large tree roots growing into your pipes. If your plumber discovers that this is the case, they will unclog the pipe. However, they may also recommend that you hire a landscaping contractor to remove the offending tree.

To learn more, contact a resource like Rob's Septic Tanks Inc.