How to Stop Your Overflowing Sink, Tub, and Toilet

There’s no doubt that when you discover an overflowing sink, tub or toilet in your home, there’s an overwhelming sense of frustration and worry:  How did this happen?  What do I do now?  What will this cost me?  Luckily, you can rest easy knowing how to calmly and carefully solve these problems.

Of course, it’s always best to know the extent of the issue so that you know when is the right time to handle a household problem on your own or call a professional.  Below are some helpful steps to take if you find yourself having to clean up an overflowing fixture.

How to Deal with Sink Overflow

Sink overflow has the potential to cause much more than just a wet mess in your home. If the water gets out of control, it may result in flooding and serious interior water damage to your property.  It can also create serious health hazards as it can develop eventual bacterial growth.

When dealing with an overflowing sink, your best line of defense is always to do your best to prevent it from happening.  Thankfully, avoiding a sink overflow isn’t hard to do; you just have to keep in mind that most overflows happen due to a clogged drain. If you easily maintain keeping your drain clear, water should be able to flow to the sewers as intended.

Keeping your Drain Line Clear

  • Don’t dispose of food scraps through your sink. As particles accumulate, they can form a solid clog that restricts water movement.
  • Just because fat, oil and grease look fluid doesn’t mean they’ll go right along with water to the sewers. These substances can deposit and solidify in your drainage pipe and cause a clog. Learn more about proper grease disposal.
  • Avoid getting hair into your sink. Hair can create a barrier that prevents the escape of water into the sewage system.
  • Always have a drain cover to filter out large, solid objects that may fall into your sink’s drainage pipe. Dispose of these particles in the trash.

If and when a sink overflow does happen, you can try and apply some quick fixes to save yourself some money that you would otherwise have to pay a licensed plumber.

  1. Shut off the faucet that feeds water to your sink.
  2. Use a pitcher or any large container that you can find to get as much water out of your sink as possible. Dispose the unsanitary water or in another sink or toilet.
  3. Use a plunger to try and clear the clog.
  4. If the clog doesn’t clear, take a bucket and place it under your sink’s drain trap (the J-shaped pipe under your sink).
  5. Loosen the fittings until your drain trap comes off. Empty the water in it to the bucket.
  6. Use a wire or a plumbing snake to clear the drain trap of whatever clog is in it. You can also run hot water through it to loosen whatever may be causing blockages.
  7. Re-install the drain trap and let tap water run through your sink for a few minutes. If water doesn’t remain standing in your sink, you’re good to go.If you’re still experiencing issues with your overflowing sink, be sure to call a specialist in your area for a professional opinion.

How do you fix a flooded bathtub?

If you ever run into an overflowing tub, you may be thinking, “Why is my bathtub flooding?” One common reason for your flooding tub could be due to a clogged drain or pipe. These malfunctions are very common when most any fixture floods.

However, bathtubs usually are built with an overflow drain.  This is a simple safety feature that is located on the front wall of the tub. The bathtub overflow gasket is an important part of this contained system.

When water in the bathtub reaches the small hole in the overflow cover plate, the overflow drain channels the excess back down into the tub’s main drain pipe. Be sure to prevent this by knowing the common causes and ways to prevent overflow.

  • Clogged Overflow Drain – Frequent use clogs the drain with debris and soap scum.
  • Leaky Overflow Tube – Leaks seep outside the tub drain and through the bathroom floor.
  • Damaged Overflow Gasket – A deteriorated overflow gasket allows water to escape
  • Leaving the Tub Running – A continual flow of water overwhelms the drain.
  • Misdirected Shower Water – Contain shower water if it runs over the cover plate.
  • Deep Tub Soaks – Relaxing, deep baths submerge the overflow plate and eventually compromise the drain quality.

Water damage from a ground floor overflowing bathtub can range from soaked floors to warped baseboards. Water leaking from an upstairs bathroom to the downstairs is especially concerning because it can result in these serious problems; eventually leading to property damage.

How to Stop a Toilet from Overflowing

Again, the overall common causes of overflowing fixtures are either a clogged drain or some type of specific malfunction.  Flushing anything that’s not meant to be in the toilet drain, even too much toilet paper, can become problematic.

You can fix a clogged toilet by following these simple steps.  If you feel that you have tried these and the problem still occurs, it may be time to call a professional.

  1. Gather your tools and materials.  For this you will need a plunger, an auger and an O-ring.
  2. Take the lid off the toilet tank, and push the flapper down to stop more water from entering the bowl. Then turn off the water supply behind and at the bottom of the toilet.
  3. Use the Plunger and Auger:  A plunger may also be used in conjunction with an auger in order to create enough suction to remove any material in the toilet bowl that may still cause a problem.
  4. Still Clogged?  At this point it is best to call a professional plumber. They will likely use an industrial auger and may also need to remove, and reattach the toilet in order to remove the clog.

If your toilet won’t stop running it may be due to one of three main reasons:

  1. The float height needs to be adjusted
  2. The flapper is leaking and needs to be adjusted
  3. The refill tube needs to be shortened

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are toilet and sink drains connected?

Technically, yes.   Toilet and sink drains are connected to the main sewer line.

Why does my toilet water come up through the tub? (How do I know if my main line is clogged?)

If you’ve ever experienced the level of damage to where toilet water is entering your bathtub, this may be due to a clogged sewer pipe.  Normally,  your drains and main sewer drain are clear of debris and water flows easily out of your home when you flush the toilet. However,  if you have any sewer drain clogs, water gets directed to the next opening, in this case, your bathtub.

Debris, grease, paper products and other objects are usually the culprit to the clog.  In order to clear the sewer line, that requires a professional specialist to do the work. 

How much does it cost to unclog a main sewer line?

This depends upon several factors: your geographic location, the company you use and the amount of labor required.  Typically this sewer cleaning service may cost between $200 – $500.

Does insurance cover bathtub overflow?

Most home insurance companies cover water damage resulting from a bathtub or sink overflow.  To be sure, always contact your insurance provider in order to get more specific details on your plan.

Let Jenkins Restorations help you with water damaged sustained by overflowing sinks, tubs, or toilets!

Call 888.450.6580