If you find yourself without running water in your home, your first instinct might be to panic. Fortunately, a toilet tank accumulates water immediately after a flush. You can count on this for one more flush, but if you won’t have running water for a day or two, that won’t be much help. Luckily, you can still use your toilet even without flowing water.
Below are tips on how to flush your toilet without water. But first, let’s understand how a toilet works.
How Does a Toilet Work?
The toilet is designed such that, after you flush, the tank accumulates water for the next flush. On a standard toilet, gravity causes the water to flow down from the tank and into the toilet bowl, then out through the drain and carrying away any waste.
Notably, some toilets are tankless. With such toilets, you don’t have to wait for the toilet to accumulate so that you can flush. Tankless toilets are only feasible in areas with high water pressure, so they’re not as common in residential areas. They’re much more common in public buildings.
So, what happens if you have a normal, standard toilet with a tank on the back. Let’s say that your water is turned off because they’re doing construction work on the street outside your house. Your tank was full of water in the morning, but you’ve flushed it and the tank isn’t refilling. What can you do?
How Can I Flush a Toilet without Water?
Use a bucket with water
If you receive a prior warning regarding water disruptions, you should stock up on some water using buckets. Alternatively, store water by filling your bathtub with water. For this method, you can flush in two ways.
The first method involves pouring water inside the toilet bowl using a bucket. At first, pour slowly so you don’t splash yourself with toilet water. Then, pour the remaining water inside the bowl to create some water pressure that will push waste down the drain with a little force, and carry away the contents of the toilet bowl.
The second method involves using a bucket with water to fill the toilet tank. Here you want to make sure that the water doesn’t overflow, so pour slowly. Once you fill the tank, you will flush normally using a handle.
If you don’t have water stored in buckets or your bathtub, you can fetch it from your hot tub or jacuzzi, or use pool water. If you are lucky enough to live close to a lake, ocean, or river, you could use that water in a pinch.
Use a Water Bottle or Water Jug
If you don’t have stored water in buckets, you can use bottles or jugs of water to flush your toilet. The procedure is the same as using a bucket. Use a bottle to pour water inside the toilet bowl or the tank. Note that the procedure might not be effective due to the bottle’s small size and its inability to hold as much water- the force for the flush comes from the quantity of water being pulled down by gravity. Keep that in mind.
Use Dish Detergent
While not technically a solution for flushing the toilet when the water isn’t running, you can at least treat the water so as to avoid too much of a smell.
Dish detergent is good for cleaning off waste stuck on dishes, but it can also work well in your toilet. Add a small amount of dish detergent to the toilet bowl, careful not to splash. Then, flush using your stored water. This method helps prevent odors from lingering due to water shortages.
How Much Water Does Your Toilet Use Every Time You Flush It?
Toilets use a lot of water per flush, but there are some ways to reduce the amount of water used each time. But, the answer depends on what type of toilet you have:
Older toilets use between 3.5 and 5 gallons of water per flush (GPF), with as much as 7. Flushing these can account for up to 30 percent of indoor water use.
Newer models use 1.28 GPF or less. These are High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) required by law in new construction or remodeling projects in many communities.
Now that you are equipped with helpful and useful information, you can make your handy work easier. Do you have a plumbing emergency that needs professional fixing? We, at Proficient Plumbing & Heating, are the best expert plumbers around. Talk to us!