Our home’s plumbing system is something we often take for granted. The majority of the time our toilet performs an important function just by pushing the lever. However, when the water supply is suddenly cut off due to a plumbing repair or another problem, it can be a frightening situation—especially if it has just been used.
First, it is imperative to understand how a toilet functions. After flushing the toilet, the water within the tank fills back up and remains there because of the stopper located at the bottom. This stopper is connected to the lever, causing it to lift up every time you flush. Then, the water flows down through a pipe and pushes the water through the bowl with the assistance of gravity. When your toilet is working normally, the stopper plugs the hole again and the tank will fill up for the next flush. However, when the water is shut off, the latter part doesn’t occur.
One Flush Left
If there is no running water in your home, there is most likely one flush left to use. If you anticipate not having water for several hours, you can save this one flush in the event of an “emergency.” Keep in mind, this applies to every toilet in your home. But if someone—or several people—use up the final flush in all of your home’s toilets, there is still another solution.
In order to flush the toilet manually, you will need to either purchase a few gallons of water or get some another way (i.e. asking a neighbor or using water from a swimming pool). It doesn’t matter what type of water you use, as long as you have enough of it.
To replicate the action of flushing, pour a whole bucket of water directly into the toilet bowl. Initially pour slowly, then quickly dump the rest of the water when the bucket is near empty. The shape of the toilet bowl and the pressure from the added water pushes everything through the pipes. You do not need to use the level or empty the tank.