How To Flush A Toilet Without Water: Our Emergency How-To’s

Updated by Lynda Stevens

how to flush a toilet without water

What could be more stressful than not having running water to flush a toilet? This can happen a lot and it is usually due to toilet and plumbing issues. Many toilets can still be flushed down without running water. You should learn how to flush a toilet without water.

You should always have a bucket in the bathroom in case this happens. Fill up the bucket with water and then once you have collected enough pour it down forcefully in the toilet. That should forcefully flush it without using the flush lever to flush it down.

After that, it is time to determine why your toilet won’t flush. Here are some of the most common reasons why this happens:

  • No water source

Before doing anything else, make sure you check your water source first. If for some reason, there is no water supply, you could end up with a non-flushing toilet. Obviously, your toilet will not flush because it doesn’t have a water source to begin with.

This can happen occasionally, so make sure you check the other faucets first to see if you still have a water source.  You can also contact your local water source to find out if there are issues with your water supply that needs to be addressed. If you are using well water, check to see if there is still enough water being collected. In the summer, wells can dry up and this can limit the water you are getting.

  • The tank is not filling up with water

Check the water valve if it has been turned to “off” setting. If this is the case, the tank will not fill up with water and will not flush the toilet down. Make sure the water is above the overflow tube in order for it to flush. If it doesn’t fill up and the water remains below the overflow tube, you might need to replace the valve.

  • Your toilet has a damaged flapper

The flapper is responsible for allowing water to flow from the tank to the toilet bowl. Overtime, the toilet flapper gets damaged due to constant use. It can get warped in the process, which will then prevent it from working properly, hence the inability of your toilet to fill up the bowl with water. You can replace the flapper by yourself. Simply remove it from where it is connected and get a new one. Install it the same way the old one was installed.

  • Your toilet has a broken lift chain

The lift chain is what is connected to the toilet’s flapper. If you flush the toilet, it automatically lifts up, allowing you to fill up the tank with water. If this doesn’t happen due to a slack in the lift chain, the toilet will fail to flush.  

  • The overflow tube is damaged

The next thing you should check if your toilet won’t flush is the overflow tube. Damages in the overflow tube such as holes or cracks can prevent the tank from effectively filling up.

If these are the problems, make sure you get the help of a plumber to fix the issue. Damages to the internal mechanisms of the toilet will only worsen if you do not address these problems right away. A good plumber will assess which internal toilet part is damaged.

Tips in Maintaining Your Toilet

You can prevent toilets that do not flush properly by simply maintaining your toilet and its internal mechanisms. There are self-cleaning toilet systems today that you can integrate in the tank or just place on the bowl. Just make sure you avoid the heavily corrosive self-cleaning systems. They can cause the metal parts of the toilet to corrode and this can lead to a damaged system and the issues mentioned above. Be sure to check if the system is porcelain-safe.

Avoid flushing things down it as well. Keep an eye out on children who could end up flushing down small toys as this can cause clogging. Use toilet paper that can decompose or can easily dissolve in the toilet when flushed down. Teach your children not to play with the toilet.

You should also minimize damage to the toilet mechanisms, particularly the flush. Use just the right amount of force in pulling down the flush lever or pushing down the button.

Also check for leaks. The reason it might not be flushing down is because there is a leak somewhere that is preventing the tank from filling up effectively. A leaky toilet is bad because it often goes undetected. This is why you need to get the help of a plumber in order to assess the functions of the toilet.

Check the Water Pressure in Your Home

Be sure to check the water pressure in your home as well. Your toilet might not be flushing because there isn’t enough water coming in. A poor water pressure could be due to faulty fixtures tasked to bring water to your home. Check the water valves that are responsible for allowing water to flow into your home.

Also inspect the pipes. Water might not run to your bathroom and then to the toilet because there are clogs brought about by limescale deposits. Additionally, corrosion in the plumbing can also lead to leaks that can weaken the water pressure in your home.

If you are using a water pressure regulator, be sure to check out if it is working. If it is wonky, it won’t deliver the water that your home needs. Again, you will need the help of a professional plumber to check if these are the problems you need to deal with.

Replace Your Toilet

If you have an old toilet, perhaps it is time to replace it with a new one. If it is already past its prime, it might have worn out internal mechanisms that might already be beyond repair. You can also take advantage of new toilet technologies and designs that can make using it a lot more convenient.

Visit this article to help you find the best toilet for your home.

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