Imagine that you’ve come home after a hard day at work. You use the bathroom, flush the toilet, and start to wash your hands. It’s only then that you realize something’s gone very wrong. You didn’t hear the toilet flush. And when you try to flush it again you realize the truth. Your toilet’s stopped working. It’d be normal to feel a little panic in that situation. The idea of having to make do with a non-functional toilet until repairs can be made is offputting. Thankfully, there are some relatively easy workarounds to use until professional help arrives. In fact, there are a few different methods you can use to manually flush a toilet. However, the first step involves understanding what’s gone wrong in the first place.

It’s Important To Understand the Problem Before Working on a Solution

You should begin by lifting up the lid of the toilet tank. It’s also important to keep in mind that the cover is often both heavy and relatively fragile. So you need to be ready to set the tank’s lid down somewhere once you’ve removed it.

Know what is wrong with the toilet first

Know what is wrong with the toilet first

You should then look in the side of the toilet tank which connects the external handle to a handle arm within the tank. You should find a chain forming a connection between the toilet handle and the handle arm. This is what lifts the rubber flapper and releases water within the toilet. If the chain’s come off you can simply reconnect it. However, it’s more common for the chain or the point where it connects to break off. In this case, it will need professional repair.

You should also note whether the tank is filled with water or not. When toilets are operating normally the tank will store water and refill itself if depleted. If the tank doesn’t have water in it then you’re typically looking at an issue with the water supply.

But now that you have an idea of what’s going on in the tank, you’ll want to proceed with one of a few different temporary fixes. You can manually flush the toilet by using one of these three options.

  • Manually fill the toilet bowl with water
  • Manually fill the toilet tank
  • Manually lift the rubber flapper

Option 1: Flush by Manually Filling the Toilet Bowl

When you flush a toilet you’re essentially filling the bowl with water through the tank. But if the tank isn’t supplying water into the bowl then you’ll have to do it manually. Thankfully this is a fairly simple process.

To flush the toilet by filling up the bowl, you should begin by filling up a bucket or other large container with water. This should roughly correspond to the amount of water that’s normally in your toilet bowl. Now, instead of using the toilet handle to flush, you’ll instead want to dump all the water from the bucket into the toilet bowl. Try to do this as quickly as possible so that the water will have enough weight to really push any solid waste down the pipes.

Option 2: Flush by Filling Up the Tank

You can also manually flush a toilet by doing something similar with the tank. At this point, you should know whether your tank has water in it. If there’s no water in the tank then you can fill it manually. You can look inside the tank to see if there’s a labeled water line. If there is, then you should pour enough water into the tank to fill it right up until that point. If there’s no marked water line then you should just try to fill the tank up until you only have about an inch of unfilled space between the water and the tank’s edge.

At this point, you should be able to flush the toilet by just using its handle. However, you’ll need to manually fill the tank back up every time you need to flush. If the toilet won’t flush even after filling the tank up then you’ll need to combine this step with the next.

Option 3: Flush by Lifting Up the Flapper

When you pull the handle of a fully functional toilet it allows water to move from the tank to the bowl through a hole normally covered by a rubber flapper. If the handle isn’t lifting the flapper then you can do it yourself.

You’ll first want to ensure that the tank has water in it. If not, then you should fill the tank up as described in option 2. Now, look for the rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank. You can simply lift the flapper up to drain water from the tank into the bowl. After the waste has been fully removed from the toilet bowl you can return the flapper to its initial position.

Help Is on the Way

Of course, manually flushing a toilet isn’t something anyone wants to engage in long-term. Thankfully most toilet issues can be fixed fairly quickly by professionals. Just make sure to call for help as soon as you notice the problem so that it can be taken care of just as quickly. Contact us for professional assistance.