Can you flush the toilet when the power is out? (AVOID Doing This!)

Power outages are an unfortunate reality of life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of business. Generally, there is water in the tank so you can at least flush once when the power is out. If there is no issue with the water supply, you should be able to flush after this as well as a toilet generally doesn’t use electricity.

The exception is when you use a pump to supply water to your toilet. This can be down when the electricity is out. You might have to use a bucket to flush in this instance. 

Let’s discuss this in more detail.

How to flush toilet when power is out: do toilets work without power?

During a power outage, the water supply to your toilet is not interrupted. This means that you can continue to flush without any problems.

 You can generally use the same approach as you would otherwise do: just flush the toilet. If it doesn’t work anymore, you can fill a bucket with water. It is always a great idea to have some bottles with water standing in your home so that you can use these to flush the toilet if needed.

The water creates pressure and this pushes the items out of the toilet. It is important that you are able to do this as the buildup of poop and pee can lead to a smelly and unpleasant situation. 

The waste disposal might not work when the power is out. Don’t flush these items in the toilet! This could create a clog and make it impossible to flush items through the drain. Unclogging a drain can often be done with a plunger but clogs should be avoided as they can lead to more expensive repairs as well. 

If you have problems with your toilet, something else might be broken. Flappers often break after a while and need to be replaced. Let’s take a look at how you can fix a toilet:

 Some fancy toilets use electricity (for example, if they have a bidet). You can check the manual to check if it keeps working without electricity. This depends on the design of the toilet.

How to Maintain your toilet so that you can always flush.

It is also possible that some dirt accumulates in your toilet or the toilet tank. This can make it difficult to flush. Let’s check how we can avoid this. First of all, make sure that you have a bucket with a lid that fits inside of your toilet bowl.

Fill this bucket with water and add some soap. Place a rag in the bucket. Lastly, put some rubber gloves on. These gloves will help prevent any unwanted germs from coming into contact with your hands.

After placing the bucket inside the toilet, take another clean rag and wrap it around the chain of your toilet’s handle. You can also open your toilet tank to get that cleaned as well. This can get dirty and stop the water supply to your toilet.

Toilets and pumps during a power outage

Pumps are great for maintaining pressure in toilets during a power outage, but if you don’t want to purchase a new pump and use your current one, it’s possible to make it work if you get a backup power source. You can add this pump to a special power circuit so that it doesn’t get interrupted when the power goes out. Alternatively, you can get a pump with batteries. 

If you don’t have a backup power generator system, it might be a great idea to unplug the pump when the electricity is down. There might be some fluctuations in the energy level when the system is coming back up. To make sure that it doesn’t affect your pump, you might want to unplug it until you have electricity again. Your pump will have to restart anyway. 

Toilets and sewage system during power outage

The sewage system will likely be the last thing to break down during a power outage. It works using gravity so there generally shouldn’t be a problem. If the city is out of power, it is possible that they might not be able to pump away the sewage. This depends on the geography and how the system has been designed. In general, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as backup plans are in place and systems have redundancies. 

Just make sure that your sewage system gets cleaned when it is getting full and you should be good to go. If the sewage system is working really well, it should almost never get cleaned. The type of construction also affects this.

What to do when the power turns back on

In most cases, you don’t have to do anything. It can be a great idea to inspect the plumbing system and water pipes to see if there are leaks.

You can perform a test to see if you have a water leak. Close all the faucets and shut down all the devices that use water. Once this is done, you go to the water meter and write the number down that you see. Wait 15 minutes. Then you check the water usage numbers again. If there is no meaningful difference between the two numbers, there is probably no leak. If there is a big difference, you can check if there is a leak somewhere. We have discussed how to do that here.

The toilet should keep working as usual. If your pump didn’t work during the power outage, you can check if it turns on again. In some instances, the pump needs to be reset. Make sure that the settings are still correct when it does so. 

How to flush your toilet without water

You can fill a bucket or jug nearby with a little water and then pour it into the bowl (where you would normally pee). This is very easy to do. Just keep adding water until the water in the bowl turns normal again. Don’t use other liquids (such as drain cleaner) or solids (such as sand) as this can affect your pipes or sewage system.

If you really don’t have water, you can try to use milk but this is not an ideal situation. You can ask your neighbors if their water system works or go to the store to get some bottles of water. 

If this doesn’t work, you can go to a restaurant and ask if you can go to the toilet there. It is also possible to go to the toilet outside. Be careful though as you can get a fine for this in some cities. 

We have mentioned more tips here.

Going to the toilet during a storm

One of the most important things you can do during a storm is to make sure you’re able to go to the toilet.  

First, prepare your storm toilet kit by gathering these items:

– Toilet plunger

– Plastic bags

– Water bottles

– Paper towels


These items will make sure that you can still flush during a storm. A storm pack is a great idea in general. Always better to be prepared.

To conclude, we can state that the toilet generally keeps working if the power is out. The system of the city maintains the water pressure. Therefore your toilet should get water. Gravity pushes water away from your toilet so this doesn’t require any electricity.

There are some exceptions such as when you use a pump to provide water to your toilet. You might look into backup power so that the pump can remain active when the power is out. You can also get some water bottles so that you can use these to flush your toilet if there is another problem. 

It can be annoying if the power is going down. Luckily this generally doesn’t last too long. This will make sure that you can flush the toilet again. You can also use a bucket to flush a toilet if there is a problem with the power.

Most houses have multiple toilets. If you are lucky, at least one of them will work. You can go to a nearby restaurant or gym as well if your toilets don’t work anymore.