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Can You Flush Toilet When Power Is Out? Plumbing Guru


Can You Flush Toilet When Power Is Out

An average person goes to the toilet several times a day. For a healthy digestive system to work correctly, it must remove toxins. 

These toxins can be in the form of sweat, farts, urine, and feces. The need for privacy while removing especially urine and human feces led to the making of toilets.

The availability of water is necessary to flush any toilet. Toilets can be made for the sitting posture or squatting posture. John Harrington invented the toilet in 1596 for Queen Elizabeth 1. 

Let’s first answer the question before we dive deep into the matter.

Can you flush the toilet when the power is out?

Yes, toilets can be flushed when there is a power outage. Most flushing systems use pump-assisted toilets, which only require gravity and water pressure to work. It is, however, recommended to use a manual flushing method when there is no water in the flush tank.

Types Of Toilet Flush Systems

Different people have different preferences for their toilet flushing systems. These different types of flush systems include;

1. Siphon Flush

It has a button on top of the flush tank which, when pressed, opens up the valve inside the tank allowing water to flow to the toilet bowl. Once you flush, water will rise rapidly in the bowl before it flushes out. 

Although this type of system is prone to clogging, it gives a powerful flush and a cleaner toilet bowl. It is recommended that one uses a plunger if there is a clog in this type of flush system.

2. Ballcock Flush System

This type is the most commonly used system. It has a floating ball hence the name ballcock. A rod is connected to the floating ball that causes the valve to open. This allows water to pass through once the plunger is activated. 

Though this type of system works effectively, it is prone to failure due to the highness of the shut-off valve, which makes water run to the overflow tube. The main advantage is materials used to make this type of flush system are easily replaceable.

3. Flapper-Flush Valve

The difference between this type of flush system and the ballcock system is that this one uses a flapper instead of a floating ball. 

The flapper floats inside the toilet tank, and when one flushes, it moves from its position, thus allowing water to flow into the toilet bowl. 

The flapper now sinks and will only flat once the water level again rises. The flapper flush system takes a lot of time to refill water into the flush tank. It is easy to maintain, and this makes it a simple system.

4. Pressure-Assisted System

It is primarily used in commercial places. When one presses the button, it releases air pressure to keep the water from flowing into the bowl. 

The water now flows to the bowl, flushing away the waste. This type of flush system is boisterous though, it has a powerful flush and keeps the bowl clean.

5. Gravity Flush System

In this type of flush system, water is applied to the system, which causes the waste in the bowl to flush away. Nothing is trapped in the bowl because it has a siphonic effect.

It does not produce a lot of noise as compared to pressure-assisted systems. However, with those types of flush systems, clogging is very rampant. It is also solid and quiet.

6. Double Cyclone System

This uses siphonic effect mechanisms as gravity flush systems. However, this type uses two nozzles and a propulsion system. It uses a minimal amount of water, although it is pretty powerful.

Hence the pieces of equipment used to repair this system are very difficult to find thus, should be properly maintained.

7. Dual System

It has two buttons, each designed for a specific purpose. One button is for solids and the other for liquids. 

It is designed so that liquid waste does not require a lot of water to be flushed, while solids need a lot of force and water to be flushed.

This type of system is environmentally friendly and recommended for areas with water shortages.

8. Washdown Toilet

They have a big trap way making water and waste be flushed easily. It requires high pressure of the gushing water. 

The problem with this type of flush system is that it leaves behind skid marks in the toilet. It, however, flushes very fast and not easy to clog.

9. Rear Toilet Flush System

It is a rarely used type of flushing system. It does not have a flush tank, and its fixtures are hidden, making it look more modern.

Due to its sleekness, it requires regular maintenance and re-adjustments. It has a powerful flush.

How To Flush Toilets When There Is No Power

 There are two ways of flushing toilets when there is a power outage;

  1. Pour water into the bowl directly – This requires one to have enough water and pour it fast enough to make the waste be flushed. If you pour water slowly, the waste will not be flushed.
  2. Pour water in the flush tank and flush as you usually do -This is more effective as it uses less water and does not require any skill.

What Causes AToilet Not To Flush Easily When There Is No Power?

1. The toilet is clogged.

Clogging in the pipe is mainly caused by waste and other debris which are not supposed to be flushed in the toilet. Clogging can be rectified by plunging, or if it persists, one should seek a professional.

2. There is a problem with the flapper or lift chain

Water may constantly flow to the bowl when the flapper leaks. Another case is when the lift chain is detached from the flapper hence no water will flow out of the flush tank.

It can be solved by replacing the cracked flapper or the damaged lift chain.

3. The tank has no enough water.

When the flush tank does not have enough water, it will not release the required amount of water required when flushing.

It can be fixed by manually bending the float arm up, increasing the water level.

Ways To Store Water For Flushing When There Is A Power Outage

  • Filling bathtubs with water for flushing 

Due to its immense size, it can store enough water for about five flushes if the person flushing knows the manual way of flushing a toilet.

  • Using rain barrels to store water for flushing

This type of water storage will save on costs when there is a power outage and when there is power as water collected from rain in barrels can easily be channeled to the flushing tank.

  • Using buckets and basins to store water for flushing

This type is most necessary to areas that have frequent water shortages as one can manually flush.

Ways To Use Minimal Water When Flushing The Toilet

1. Use of low-flow or composting toilet

They are relatively expensive to install, but they use less amount of water than standard toilets.

2. Greywater system

This is a recycling type of system that recycles water from the bathroom sink into the flush tank. This also minimizes the cost of water in the house.

3. Dropping a brick

This reduces the amount of water used. It uses a mechanism whereby the volume of water that the flush tank can hold is the amount at which the bowl will flush the waste away.

Dos And Don’ts When Using The Toilet

Here are some things you should do or avoid while using your toilet 


  • Use a penetrating lubricant when doing maintenance and repairs to loosen the fittings.
  • Regularly use a mixture of white vinegar and hot water or other recommended bowl cleansers to clean the bowl. This reduces clogging in the toilet.
  • Clean your toilet from unwanted odors by using detergents designed specifically for cleaning the toilet.
  • Throw away bowl cleaning brushes with bristles showing or preferably use plastic brushes.
  • Before flushing the toilet, remove objects that can cause clogging in the pipe.


  • Do not use abrasive materials to clean your toilet as they scratch the bowl, which can not be repaired when scratched.
  • Hitting the toilet with complicated metal tools such as hammers while fixing it will crack the toilet bowl.
  • Sitting on the flush tank is not recommended as it can crack. Standing on the toilet bowl is not recommended as well.
  • Paints, hazardous chemicals, oils, and thinners should not be flushed in the toilet. When the toilet is flushed with this product, it can react with other products present in the sewer or septic tank, causing more harm.
  • Do not dispose just of anything in the toilet bowl. Do not flush anything else rather than human waste or toilet paper in the toilet bowl.


Flushing of a toilet does not necessarily need electricity as there are times when there are power outages. Such times require one to use other methods to flush the toilet as it would be awful to leave the toilet messily.

The type of flushing system is dependent on the user preference. The user of the toilet should ensure that at all times he or she leaves the toilet in a good state.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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