Cracking your toilet bowl might sound like an amusing situation from a sitcom, but the damage a cracked toilet bowl can cause is no joke. Unless you act quickly, a cracked toilet bowl can rapidly cause widespread flooding in your bathroom, necessitating expensive repairs and potentially causing serious structural damage to your home.
If your toilet bowl has cracked and you are unsure what do to, take the following steps as soon as possible to minimise the damage and get your toilet back up and running as soon as possible.
Step 1: Cut off the toilet's water supply
Obviously, your first priority is to stop water from leaking from your cracked toilet bowl. This means shutting off the toilet's water supply; if you don't, the bowl will continuously fill with water even as it leaks out.
Most modern toilets have built-in water shut-off valves, which are usually connected to the bottom of the toilet's water storage tank. These provide an easy way to cut off the water and stop the flooding, but many older toilets lack integrated shut-off valves.
If your toilet lacks a dedicated shut-off valve, you can use a piece of wood or another suitable object to keep the float lever in your toilet tank closed. This will prevent more water from flowing into the bowl but is not completely reliable. A safer option is to turn off the main shut-off valve in your home, which will cut off the water supply to all of your home's plumbing, including the toilet.
Step 2: Clean and sanitise the area
Once you have stopped your toilet bowl from leaking, you should clean up as much of the flooding as possible as quickly as possible. The longer standing water is allowed to sit on your bathroom floor, the more likely it is to seep into floorboards, structural timbers and other parts of your home, causing widespread damage and damp problems. Unless your toilet bowl was perfectly clean and freshly bleached, you will also need to disinfect the flooded area using a suitable antiseptic.
Step 3: Call an emergency plumber
A cracked toilet bowl isn't exactly a minor problem, and if you do not have any other toilets in your home, you will need to get it back up and running sooner rather than later. Once you have stopped the leaking and cleaned up the worst of the flooding, call an emergency plumber as soon as possible. These plumbing specialists can be called out 24 hours a day and have the skills and experience necessary to assess the damage to your toilet and come up with a suitable solution.
Unfortunately, a crack that is large enough to cause leaking from your bowl cannot be safely repaired, and your toilet will need to be replaced. Having emergency plumbers install your toilet is much faster, easier and safer than attempting to do it yourself, and you can ask your chosen plumbing service for advice on which replacement toilet to choose.