How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Flush‌ ‌a‌ ‌Toilet‌ ‌Without‌ ‌Running‌ ‌Water‌

toilet in white bathroom

Because running water is so readily accessible, it's easy to forget that there are times when we might have to go without it temporarily. For example, you might not have access to running water due to a natural disaster. Under more ordinary circumstances, your water might be shut off for plumbing repairs or remodeling. Even your city can shut off your water if significant maintenance or repairs are necessary.

While a lack of running water will prevent you from performing some daily activities, the good news is that you can still use and flush your toilet--with some workarounds. There are two main methods:

  • Pour a bucket of water into the bowl, and it will automatically flush.
  • Pour a bucket into the tank, and then pull the handle to flush.

Flushing a Toilet When the Water Is Shut Off

As long as the toilet bowl is full, you should have enough water for one more flush--but what happens if the toilet bowl isn't full?

Method 1

Fortunately, as long as you have another source of water, you’ll still be able to flush your toilet. You’ll need at least one gallon per flush. If you know ahead of time or anticipate that you'll be without running water, fill up your bathtub in advance. If you have some spare potable water, you can, of course, use that. Many people also prefer to use water from their pools or jacuzzis.

Collect the water in a large bucket that you will be able to lift and pour. Once you’re ready to flush, pour the water into the toilet bowl slowly at first before quickly dumping the rest of the water into the bowl. This will create pressure that pushes the contents of the toilet bowl through the pipes, making it unnecessary for you to use the handle to flush the toilet.

When you use this method, you are not emptying the toilet's tank, so there is no need to refill the tank. You are working solely from the toilet bowl, and you can repeat this process if needed.

Method 2

Alternatively, you can remove the lid from your toilet tank and fill it with water until it reaches the overflow line. At this point, you'll be able to flush the toilet with the handle like normal. If you're unable to create a flush by pouring water into the bowl, this method may work better. However, this second method requires more water, so the first method may work better if you only have a gallon of water to spare.

Remember: Keeping a bucket on hand is always smart in case of an emergency, and it can come in handy in several ways. A large bucket should be a basic part of your home’s plumbing kit, along with a cup plunger, a flange plunger, sealing tape, an adjustable wrench, and rags.

How Does a Toilet Work?

A household item that sees everyday use but is often taken for granted as far as understanding it's functioning goes. Here's a simple breakdown of how a toilet works:

  • The flush handle lifts the flapper located inside the tank
  • Water rushes out of the tank and into the bowl
  • Gravity than assists in the pulling down of the materials in the bowl
  • These waste materials are then pulled down and out of the bowl
  • The toilet bowl and tank then begin to refill with waste-free water

For respectful and courteous plumbing services in Gilbert, contact EZ Flow Plumbing, LLC online or call us at (480) 351-1820.

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