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Question DetailsAsked on 2/1/2015

My sons toilet looked like it was gonna overflow and then all the water drained from the bowl. Is that normal?

He had to leave for work so he just left it. While at work the toilet flooded his apartment. It was not flushed again and there was no water in the bowl when he left. His manager is saying negligence but it sounds to me like there is an issue with the toilet not the clogging. I have NEVER heard of a toilet overflowing when the water has receded like that unless it was flushed again.

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1 Answer


Just the overflowing after he was gone, I would have guessed (if a little bit of water only - a cup or two only) that an air bubble "burped" into the filled bowl and displaced a bit of water out. Otherwise, if more water, that maybe he has a leaking flapper valve so water kept trickling down into the bowl while he was gone, which could be a lot of gallons of water. Or the toilet "runs" - continually putting water into the overflow tube in the tank because the inlet valve/float does not shut off completely.

Since it emptied, especially if the water was down but the blockage was still there at next flushing, I would guess (though it is rare) that the blockage was in the sewer pipe below the toilet rather thann in the toilet, and the wax ring where the toilet connects to the sewer pipe was not totally sealing, so the water leaked out through the wax ring - either down into underlying units, or partly into the subfloor, depending on setting level.

I would say if he called the manager (assuming management is responsible for that type of plumbing issue) before he left, then he should be off the hook if the repair person did not get there in time before it flooded, whatever the cause. Also, who would have been responsible if the toilet had actually overflowed initially when it plugged up - if that would have been management's issue, then that should settle it. Or if your son's responsibility, then it would be his.

If responsibility depends on the circumstances, then he should be there when plumber comes to determine the cause of the blockage AND of the flooding - though if this is the normal plumber that works for management, that sort of stacks the deck in advance.

If your son is responsible for plumbing/toilet issues, then regardless of why it happened I would say he is financially responsible - depending on damage and whether damage occurred to other tenant's property, might or might not be worth filing an insurance claim on his renter's or condo owner's insurance.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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