For anyone in Irene's path: how to flush a toilet when the water goes out

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Aliceacc, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 26, 2011

    OK, kind of a bizarre topic.

    I know enough to have some water ready in case we lose water-- some for drinking,some for cleaning, some for flushing. But I had no idea how to use that last bit.

    So, in case anyone else needs the info, here it is:

    " During an outage, you may flush a toilet, then pour water into the toilet tank (not the bowl) before flushing again. Turn off the water supply to the toilet before flushing. Toilet tanks hold several gallons of water, so plan accordingly. Remember, melted snow or ice can be a source of water during winter outages (but not for drinking). During the summer, you may be able to use water from a pool or hot tub. "
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me add that it makes sense to go practice turning off the water to your toilet. The water supply line that leads from the wall into the bottom of the toilet tank passes via a valve that most plumbers call an angle stop. If the handle of the angle stop is oval or round, you have a gate valve, which you may need to crank quite a bit to close (and it may not close entirely, in which case let me urge you to have it replaced once all Hades finishes breaking loose). If the handle is teardrop-shaped, you have a ball valve rather than a gate valve, and it should only take 1/4 turn to close.

    Another quick trick: if your toilet is threatening to overflow, the fastest way to stop the water is often to remove the tank lid and reach in, and pull gently upward on the round thing on the long wire arm or the can-shaped thing on the vertical post. Whatever it looks like, it's a float; when it drops, a valve opens and the tank fills, and when it gets back to where it should be, the valve closes. Before replacing one of the toilets in my house, I used to keep one of those little plastic hangers that socks are displayed on thumbtacked to the inside of a cabinet door: it was just the right length to hang over the side of the tank and hook onto the float arm to keep the float from falling.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I knew about the float part, but not where the toilet turnoff is.

    But Peter knows. When I showed him the sheet I printed up, he said it was no problem.
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Huh. We've always gotten a bucket of water, held it about waist high, and dumped it into the bowl to flush. Never heard the tank trick before. Learn something new every day!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Tomorrow morning, when everyone is done showering, I'll fill a few Rubber maid tubs with water and just leave them in the tub. (I'm thinking I can stockpile more water than if I just filled the tubs.)

    If we don't lose water, it will just go down the drain Sunday night.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The angle stop is generally on the wall behind the toilet, below the level of the bottom of the tank, with a tube leading from it to the tank. Not very conspicuous, unless one has happened to have to pull a toilet.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I must be really strange. The first thing I do when I move into a house or apartment is scope out all the water shut off valves for the sinks, toilets and any water-using fixture. If I'm in a house, I make sure to find the main water supply valve. I didn't realize that not everybody did this until very recently.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I do that too, but it's been commented elsewhere that I'm pretty weird.
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm one of those plumbing clueless people. Here they tell us to fill up our bathtub before the typhoon hits as extra water supply (obviously not for drinking).
     
  11. PCdiva

    PCdiva Connoisseur

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    Why do you turn the water supply off before flushing? Is this so you don't waste whatever water you have in your pipes for flushing?

    hmmm...something I wouldn't have thought about
     
  12. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    In the winter I have filled my bath tub with water in case the power goes out. I usually just get a big bucket, but if they predict something that might knock out power for awhile...I fill the tub!!!
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I just cleaned the 1st floor bathroom and filled the tub. After a quick computer break I'll hit the 2nd floor one. Though I'm not so sure about filling that tub. If a tree comes through our roof and breaks the tub, that would send all that extra water down the stairs or through the walls. I think I'll take my chances with a very little bit of water in that tub.
     
  14. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Alice sounds good!!!! I know I would grab our 5 gal buckets from outside & clean those out!!!! We would have this is a bucket for teeth brushing water. This is for if toilets go... LOL!!!
     
  15. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    Thanks for that tip, Alice!! We evacuated, but will probably return to a home with no power. Irene is hitting my area right now, so I'm guessing she'll be in your area tomorrow. At least she's weakening-- we're being hit with a Cat 1, and it looks like it will "just" be a tropical storm for you.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It looks to get ugly at about midnight, through on till tomorrow afternoon.

    I'm going to have the kids sleep in the living room; I have visions of a tree crashing through the roof into their bedrooms as they sleep, though that's not the explanation I'll give them.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Tell 'em it's about finding the flashlights in a hurry; you could even tell them that mothers just plain run paranoid, and ask them please to indulge you in this without sharing the specific nature of the paranoia.

    And hugs to you all.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I've never lost water. even with power outages, we have had water...sometimes a boil water order in effect, but never complete loss of water.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I've been in this house for over 20 years. The only time we've lost power for more than 2 hours was the 2 days we lost during the blackout about 8 years ago.

    A neighbor said they lost it for 6 days during Gloria, and people across town lost for 11 days. But I have no idea on the water situation.

    That said, filling the tub and some bottles with water was painless and cheap enough.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Yup...I did it to,but mostly because the water gets brown from sediment in some storms.
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    When I was without power for over a week, our toilets still flushed. I don't know why. We actually had to go outside to get water from some water pipes were broken and flowing like a little river in our front yard.

    I was glad that everything was freshly vacuumed before water started dripping inside and there were wet, muddy towels by the door.
     
  22. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Daisy... some water pumps don't need electric & some do... I think it all depends. Most like "well" water homes have electric pumps.
     
  23. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Since most tubs do leak a little around the drain, Alice's idea is best if possible. I also fill gallon jugs up and freeze for drinking water or ice as needed. That way I can put them in an ice chest without mess and have water to drink.
     
  24. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Mrachelle... I'd probably just leave them in the freezer... I'm so worried about letting the "cold" out!!!

    Right now we have about 6 half gallons of last year's cider frozen...so we'd be having a cider drinking contest...LOL!!!
     
  25. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Tornados are our fears in Oklahoma. My home was hit in May causing major power outages, loss of roof, damage to structure and lost of fencing and trees. Those frozen water jugs kept my freezer frozen for the four days. I didn't open them up. My animals were removed from our property by friends. My children and I stayed with my mother until the roof (two days later--a wonderful roofing friend) and electricity (four nights later) was turned back on. We also loose electricity for a day or two once or twice a winter. We have a well, so no electricity means no heat, air, or water. I am great at cooking on a grill. I have all kinds of tricks for flushing the toilet.
     
  26. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    mrachelle... we have lost power like you ... knock on wood not tornadoes though!!!

    Grill cooking or out to lunch to make a potty run is our favorite thing!!! LOL!!!

    I'm glad I have read all this toilet flushing advice... I always draw water just in case, but have really never had to use it except to brush our teeth!!!! LOL!!!
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It turns out our pumps don't need electricity. We had lots of water (though it was COLD water since the burner is electric.)
     
  28. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I know our pump takes electricity. So we would not have any!!!
     

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