Long term toilet flushing

Posted by: CJK

Long term toilet flushing - 03/25/06 09:14 PM

Having prepared several people for some amount of 'long term emergencies', I have had to come up with a way for someone to flush their toilet when the 'system' couldn't provide the water and/or pressure to do it. I specifically had a request from someone that couln't lift and pour the large container that was needed to flush it.

First....this will work whether you are are city water or a well and septic system. (I am on a well and septic myself) During a prolonged power outage, we don't have the water available to us via the well because the pump is electric. It is also a pain to start up the generator "just to flush the toilet". Here's what you do....

Turn off the toilet's water supply. You should still have water in the upper tank. At this point all that has changed is that you've turned off the water TO the toilet. Now "use" the toilet as you normally would....(I think all of us know the 'trick' of pouring a large amount of water into the bowl to get it to 'flush') Now BEFORE you do anything....get a bucket of water handy.....you WILL be pouring it into the bowl just as you have in the past.....but this time you will flush the toilet and then immediately begin pouring. You will not need nearly as much water as if you were just pouring it into the bowl.

How does this help...read on....Now that the toilet is flushed clean...pour 'some' more water into the bowl. Just enough to bring it to the regular level. Now you can add more water to the upper tank so that it is full again. Now you are ready to 'use the toilet again'.

I have had a few people that had great difficulty in pouring the large bucket say that this way is much easier....they only have to pour a small (and managable amount wieght wise) while the toilet does the rest. Then they said it was easy to take their time and 'fill the tank' again a little at a time. There was no need to lift heavy containers of water.

Hope this is useful to someone.
Posted by: RayW

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/26/06 02:30 PM

Something else to add the this thread. If you have a pressure flush toilet you can not pour water in it and make it flush. If you don't know if it is a pressure flush toilet or not, lift the tank cover and if you can see water it is not a pressure flush toilet. If you lift the tank cover and see a tank it is a pressure flush toilet.

I do not know if all pressure flush toilets suffer from this affliction or not, i had this conversation just a few days ago with a friend of mine and none of his toilets worked by pouring water in it when he lost water pressure.
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/26/06 03:44 PM

Hmmm. Am I missing something? Why would you ever pour water into the bowl?

I've not been in that situation, but I just had a look at my non-pressurised toilet. It keeps enough water in its upper tank for one flush. It is refilled via a ballcock. To test I held that up with my hand, flushed, and it worked. Then the tank was empty. I released the ballcock and it refilled for next time. So if my water was cut off I would flush normally and then refill the tank by hand. I wouldn't pour water into the bowl, only into the tank, and it wouldn't need to be done quickly.
Posted by: CJK

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/26/06 04:11 PM

Brangdoon.....if you've used the toilet for a BM, sometimes the water in the tank is NOT enough to flush it clean, especially if you have one of those 'new' toilets that are limited to (I think) 1 gallon per flush. Supposedly they save water. How I don't know because we need to flush it multiple times sometimes. For those of you lucky enough to not need this info....great. I know of several people around me that found it helpful.

BTW.....if anyone has one of those "old" toilets that ISN'T limited to that 1 gal per flush........I'd love to get my hands on it! <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
Posted by: Craig_phx

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/27/06 04:07 PM

If the water is turned off due to a power outage do you think you should use your saved tub water. I think using a potty bucket with kitty litter might be better. Then you can use your tub water to clean up. I have some 5-gallon camping water containers we will use for drinking and cooking.
Posted by: RayW

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/29/06 01:13 AM

Christopher, you can still find the 3.5 gallon flush toilets. Sometimes you can find a plumber that will part with one, have even seen a few at garage sales.

And not all of the 1.6 gallon flush toilets are the same. Here is a comparison of 1.6's,


Here is another article that you might find of interest,

Posted by: Ade

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/29/06 02:09 AM

Why flush at all?

In a water outage situation the water going down the toilet is going to be far more valuable for other things.

Get a camp toilet, or one of those seats that snap onto a five gallon bucket. That and a supply of trash bags will do nicely. No heavy water to lift. No water wasted. Just take out the trash. That's what I plan on doing for anything less than a permanent outage.

Posted by: CJK

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/29/06 02:15 AM

I agree that it 'wasn't' a perfect 'situation'. It wasn't meant to be....I was just suggesting 'alternatives' for those who won't/can't use the 5 gal bucket.....I was just getting what I thought was some useful info out there.....I didn't mean to cause a ruckus.....no I wouldn't use my stash of water for flushing.....I have had some people ask for ways to flush with things they had and without further 'retrofitting' or acquiring new things.
Posted by: Ade

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/29/06 02:33 AM

Ruckus? There was a ruckus?

Sorry, man. I've been under the whip busy lately and my reply was a tad terse. Didn't mean to imply that your ideas weren't good ones, just trying to get "out of the box".

No offense intended.

Posted by: ki4buc

Re: Long term toilet flushing - 03/29/06 09:32 PM

Pouring into the bowl just bypasses the tank on the top. Plus, last I saw, the bowl was a lot wider than the tank, makes it easier to pour water in.

I would find an alternative to using the toilet anyway, because if the power is out in your area, the pumping stations will also be out, and your stuff won't get where it needs to be. In fact, if you're in a low lying area, you could have sewage backup into your home/apartment. That is something to be more concerned about. <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />