Whether it's Jack Nicholson going crazy in an isolated and creepy yet picturesque hotel, or a cultivated and charming killer with a taste for fava beans and a nice Chianti, this type of horror ends the moment you turn the TV off and remember you're in your nice, safe home. But what about when your home presents you with another type of horror? When your toilet doesn't flush and the water (along with the contents of the bowl) begins to creep upwards, it's a sign that something is seriously wrong in the world. The water and the contents of the bowl are supposed to be whisked away, not lurched up to the point where it's about to spill all over your bathroom floor! What should you do when your blocked toilet threatens to overflow?
Stop the Water
That water needs to stop its upwards journey immediately. Quickly locate and disable the flush valve. This instantly cuts the toilet's water supply. It won't fix the problem, and yet it will avert an unhygienic catastrophe. If you cannot locate the flush valve, open the cistern and grasp the ballcock. Gently angling it upwards will also cut the flow of water. It might need to be carefully wedged into this upward position while you assess the problem.
A small amount of chemical drain cleaner can be of assistance, although its results might be slow-acting. Heavier than standing water, the drain cleaner will move through your pipes until it reaches the blockage, whereupon a chemical reaction producing heat and gas can help to dislodge the blockage. Only use a small amount so as not to damage your pipes. It might also be that it will only partially unblock your toilet, although this will at least allow it to drain.
If you can see the blockage (such an excessive amount of toilet paper), you might be able to manually dislodge it. It's an unpleasant-sounding option, but you could put on a pair of rubber washing up gloves and pull the blockage out with your fingers. You could also straighten a wire coat hanger while curving it at one end to create a hook. You might be able to use this improvised tool to remove the blockage.
It might be that you only have one toilet, and it might be that your efforts to remove the blockage are unsuccessful. Such a situation can be quite urgent, so don't hesitate to get on the phone to emergency plumbers, such as those from P1 Plumbing & Electrical, in your area for speedy assistance. It's not as though you can go without a working toilet for long!