Some plumbing jobs are well within the capabilities of the average homeowner. If you're handy with a few tools, you can probably fix minor leaks under your sink or even a dripping faucet. Sadly, sewage problems are usually better left to the professionals. A toilet backup isn't just a gross and smelly problem but also a severe health hazard.
When your toilet backs up, it pushes blackwater into your home. Blackwater is an industry term that refers to any water that's come into contact with human waste – in other words, sewage. You should never take a situation involving blackwater lightly, and these three steps will help ensure you can resolve the problem efficiently and safely.
Step 1: Make Your Home Safe
Your first step should be to make your home as safe as possible. Turn off your water supply, open windows and doors for ventilation, and keep your bathroom fan running. If your home has any HVAC floor vents near the backup, it's critical to do what you can to protect them. Turn your HVAC system off entirely if you suspect contamination.
Remember that sewage can be incredibly harmful, so it's crucial to do everything you can to make your home safe. If the backup is particularly severe, you may need to consider moving your family to a hotel for the night.
Step 2: Clear the Immediate Area
If your toilet isn't currently spewing more wastewater into your bathroom, then you should attempt to clear the area outside of the spill as best you can. Use heavy rubber gloves and boots when you enter the bathroom. It's also a good idea to wear long sleeves and long pants to protect your exposed skin from splashes, and you should prepare to toss them if they become too soiled.
Once you've donned some protective gear, you can remove loose items that you want to protect. Even if the problem doesn't seem to be getting worse, the toilet may suddenly back up again and threaten anything else you leave nearby. You can help reduce your cleanup costs by bringing these items out of the way now.
Step 3: Wait for Help
Don't attempt to clear the clog yourself, and never try to flush a toilet that's already backed up once. Not only are you exposing yourself to sewage, but you may make the problem worse or cause the toilet to back up again. Instead, wait for a toilet backup repair service, such as Rob's Septic Tanks Inc., to arrive so they can evaluate the situation, clear the issue, and get your toilet flowing again.