Can I flush the toilet when there is no power?

Can I flush the toilet when there is no power
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Have you been in a dilemma, you’re hardpressed, rushed to the toilet only to realize there’s no power. Does absence of power automatically mean you can’t flush the toilet? Can I flush the toilet when there is no power?

Water, power and the toilet. What do all three have in common? None can do without the other in a toilet system. 

The real question should be do you really need power supply to flush the toilet? The answer is, it depends. 

It depends on what toilet system you are using. If the assumption is that most people use a WC system, then you do need power to pump water into your wc tank.

However when the house’s overhead tank is filled with water, you can use this tank as your water supply in the event of a blackout.

But if you get water from your city’s water supply, then you need constant power supply for your toilet.

But do you really need a power supply to flush your toilet?

Do you really need power supply to flush your toilet?

Do you really need a power supply to flush your toilet? No!

This is because the toilet system is not an automatic appliance. You do not need electric power to trigger the flushing of your wc. On the contrary, flushing is done manually by pressing a button, or winding a lever. 

This triggers the flushing mechanism that eventually expels water from the tank, down to the wc bucket where the actual flushing is done. 

With this explained, it is clear that you don’t directly power to flush your toilet. So where does power come-in in this process? Power is needed to generate and pump water supply from its source to the wc tank.

At this point, electricity has done its job. Now your hands take on from there. Even if there is a power outage, you should still be able to flush your toilet.

But there is a second dilemma, the tank’s water storage is not unlimited. This can only use the water in the tank once.

So what happens when someone else needs to use the restroom, another water supply is needed, hence power supply may be needed once again.

This excessive dependence of the toilet system on electricity is a major handicap of the system.

But with some creative thinking, you can reduce its dependence.

Let’s discuss how

How to flush toilet with no power (manually)

Can I flush the toilet when there is no power

If you live in a city with regular blackouts or poor power supply? You can limit your dependence on electricity, and constantly flush your toilet manually. Here is how:

  1. Have a reservoir of water at home.
  2. For wc users
    1. Fill the wc tank manually
    2. Flush using the flush handle or button
    3. Repeat this process with less water, if there’s any toilet remnant
  3. For squat toilet users,
    1. Measure 7-10 liters of water in bucket
    2. Do not pour the water directly in the sink hole
    3. Pour the water on the white landing leading to the sinkhole
    4. Repeat this process with slightly less water, if there’s any toilet remnant.

Have a reservoir of water at home

If there are regular blackouts, ensure you always have your overhead tank filled to maximum at all times. As a safe rule, never exhaust this storage to less than half of its capacity. In the event of a blackout you will need this supply for basic home operations, like cooking, laundrying, and of course, flushing the toilet.

But if you have poor electric infrastructure, then have a large container of water available for use in the toilet. Ensure you have an 80 liter bucket constantly filled with water. You can use a 200 liter drum instead, if ou have the manpower to regularly fill it. Often this bucket is filled by manually fetching water from a well, borehole or other water source available. However, you can also fill it during the rare occasions electricity is supplied. 

Once this is solved, your reliance on electricity is gone. Now you can move to the next stage.

For wc users

Fill the wc tank manually: Do not overlook this step, except the wc tank is damaged or bad. The wc flushing system is built to flush human waste more efficiently.

It generates a 360º supply of water from underside of the wc’s cap. This in turn creates an even water pressure to flush the waste down the toilet pipe.

Often with this system, you’ll have less need for a second flush. 

So even when you have to flush the toilet manually, 

  • pour water from a bucket into the wc tank. 
  • Fill the tank to the point beneath the tank’s hole at the top of the tank.

Flush using the flush handle or button: You do not need electricity to do this. Simply hold the flush handle and wind downward. For tanks with a button, press this button to initiate the flushing.

Repeat this process with less water: If there’s any toilet remnant, or the bowl is not properly cleaned, you should repeat this process. However, you do not need to fill the bowl to the brim. Just fill it till it gets to the floater, and push it up a little. From here you can perform the flushing with the button or handle afresh.

For squat toilet users

Measure 7-10 liters of water in bucket: Squat toilet needs less water to flush efficiently. The bowl is built to create a spiral flushing effect when flushed properly. Having a 7-liter bucket of water is enough to flush excrement or other human waste in a squat toilet.

Do not pour the water directly in the sink hole: As explained above, the squat bowl is built to create a spiral flushing effect. This creates a similar flushing effect as can be obtained in a wc with an even more efficient flushing result. Power the water on the white landing leading to the sinkhole, and let gravity do the rest work.

Repeat this process with slightly less water: There’s often no need for repeated flushing in the squat system. This is because most human waste is flushed in the first attempt. But for those stubborn excrement that refuses to go down the drain despite your best effort, you can flush a second time. But this time, do so with a smaller volume of water. If you flush the first attempt with a 7 liter bucket for example, use half the bucket for your second try.

How do you flush a toilet when it’s not working

Can I flush the toilet when there is no power

Several components and factors come together to make flushing the toilet possible. What component is faulty among will determine what is best to do the flushing.  We’ll largely group them into two

  • Electricity, and
  • Other equipments

Electricity: If your electricity is not working, then manually flush the toilet using the steps mentioned in the previous. 

Please refer to the, “How to flush toilet with no power (manually)” subheading above for how to flush toilet when your power supply is faulty.

Other equipment: a whole lot of equipment and appliances come together to make your toilet function. They range from wc tank, to the borehole system, to the overhead tank and the house’s plumbing system. 

Depending on your country, you may or may not have all of this system. If all of these, except the wc tank, are faulty, repeat the steps suggested in the, “How to flush toilet with no power (manually)” subheading above.

But if it is the wc that is faulty or if you use a squat toilet, then I’ll suggest you use the bucket flushing system. That is, simply pour a bucket of water in the toilet bowl to flush the waste.

Please note that, while you’ll need less than 10 liters of water to flush your squat toilet, you will need some 10 to 20 liters to flush a toilet once and/or a second time.

How many times can you flush a toilet without power

Can I flush the toilet when there is no power

There’s no limitation to how many times you can flush your toilet when doing so manually. Just note this basic principle: flush as much as needed to complete flushing the toilet and to clean of human waste.

However there are other factors that you should put into consideration. These are:

  1. Aim to flush, not just the whole waste, but also tiny remnants that might pose health hazards if left in the bowl. This might include tiny fragments of excrement and other waste in the bowl.
  2. Flushing the bowl also includes washing it with a brush to remove excrement stains on the walls of the bowl.
  3. Economize limited water supply. If there’s no power supply, there might also be a limited water supply. So use good judgment while flushing. Use only the least amount of water to flush, and then a little more. 

This will include using the wc tank instead of pouring from the bucket directly into the bowl. While the latter might seem economical at first, you might have to flush a second and third time to completely drive stubborn excrement down the drain.

In a squat system, you also want to avoid pouring water directly in the sink hole, as you’ll usually need more water to completely flush the waste down the drain. Instead, pour water on the sink’s landing base. This will cause the water to flush more effectively.


It can be frustrating when you need to use the toilet, and there’s no power supply. But the good news is, modern toilet systems still has a large manual system. Most of its operations can be done manually.

As long as you can get water to the toilet, you can flush your toilet without power. So follow the steps mentioned above, ensure there is constant water supply.

Even if you have a good electricity supply, still have a large back-up bucket filled with water ready for use in the restroom.

The next blackout might come unannounced, but even then, you can flush your toilet without power.

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