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Question DetailsAsked on 10/5/2016

does hurricane have any bearing on toilet pressure (water refill)

does water pressure in toilets, have any bearing on electricity loss.? Will toilets refill with electriciy loss?

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2 Answers


Potentially - if your water is on gravity feed because you are in a low area, your town has a tall elevated storage tank, or storage reservoir or tank on higher ground or way upstream of the town - you may get gravity feed of water to your house even if the power is out - potentially for weeks if a major reservoir is uphill, maybe not for long. For instance, elevated water towers (common in midwest especially) will commonly only hold 1/4 to maybe 1 day's water supply for the twon - they are for pressure control more than storage.

BUT - generally you may have gravity flow only for a limited time after the power goes out in some areas. Some water utilities have adequate generating capacity to keep their water treatment plant and pumps going for many days - some only for some hours and some very small water utilities do not have backup power to run their treatment plant at all so may runn out of fresh treated water in hours, so it will depend on where you live.

BTW - except with electric-assist or very fancy high-tech toilets which use power, power loss at your house will not affect water availability in a normal home (other than hot water may not be available depending if electric water heater or high-efficiency with heat pump on top or eductor fan in the exhaust (direct vent unit). Usually what control water pressure is power at the utility water treatment plant to process the incoming raw water, and power for the valves and pumps that control where the water goes and at what pressure.

One other factor - in communities along creeks/rivers or seashore, erosion from flooding or high waves can rupture water lines, causing loss of pressure.

To be on the safe side, I would assume you are going to lose water in a prolonged power outage - things you can do as a major forecasted storm approaches:

1) fill plastic jubs/bottles with drinking water (note new ones have to be aged with water in them changed out every week or so for at least a couple of weeks or three to not have an overpowering plastic taste - the whitish or clear plaastic normally have less of a problem with this than colored platic like HDPE. So for drinking water for an immediately upcoming emergency (Hurricane Matthew ?) packaged flats of bottled water is your best bet, using new 5-6 gallon plastic jugs (water jugs or new gas cans) or even 50 gallon plastic barrels of water for non-cooking/drinking purposes - washcloth/ sponge bathing, and potentially toilet flushing though that takes 2-3 gallons per flush so would use up water in short order that way.

2) prefill bathtub with water for bathing/washing/flushing - I recommend not over half full if on older wood flooring, not knowing the strength of the flooring - concrete slab should be able to handle basically full tub no problem.

3) bear in mind (assuming non-freezing weather) swimming pool, hot tub water can be used to store water to flush toilets and wash ordinary wear clothes and such.

4) Also, washing water can be saved to use for toilet flushing.

5) For #1 you do not have to flush every time - have some disinfectant liquid to put in the bowl to reduce odor between flushes

6) push comes to shove, you can use plastic garbage bags wrapped around the toilet base and seat (may need a bit of tape to hold it) for #2, then take out and store in tight sealing garbage can till it can be disposed of. Or get a portable camping toilet and use that when water is off.

7) note - do NOT flush or put water down the drain if you have a lift pump in your sewer system - either a lift pump in the house (which may serve only lowest level so upstairs OK to use on gravity flow) or may serve entire house, so without power your sewer lines would fill up quickly and possibly leak (not designed to hold accumulation of liquid under pressure)/ Also, if your septic system has a lift pump to the leach field if that is out your septic tank will fill up and overflow or back up into house. In any of those cases, a backup generator is a good idea - though needs to be temporarily connected outside and watched while in use and brought in when not in use, or be well bolted down with theft-resistant bolts or it is likely to vanish in the night. People stealing small generators (and sometimes even large ones) is relatively common in disasters - and the sound leads than tight to them.

You can find a lot of info on disaster prep at websites like,, your state and local disaster preparedness agency, etc.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


One other emergency measure I forgot to mention - assuming you are on a gravity sewer system (no sewage grinder/lift pump or septic system lift pump - everything flows by gravity to street sewers or septic system - then you will be able to put water down drains and toilet OK - if you have water to use.

In that event, in addition to storing water in the house, for flushing purposes (and maybe even washing if you know the water source is not contaminated) you can use 5 gallon or larger plastic jugs or gas cans to go to a nearby water source to get water for flushing and maybe even washing - lake, river, even ocean water for bathing and flushing. Or to an adjacent areas with power/water pressure to beg/borrow/buy clean water - so be sure to have both non-potable and a couple of potable water containers available in that case. In major disasters public distribution of bulk water from tanker trucks or trailers is also common.

Be sure to label those containers with indelible magic marker - maybe also a warning tag on the handle - that they contain NON-POTABLE WATER unless you have a known clean water source, and POTABLE WATER for knoiwn clean drinking water. [Look up water purification procedures for disinfecting water that is pretty clear and clean but you need to make sure of if using for cooking/drinking/body washing]. Obviously, especially after a major storm, one should assume that pretty much any stream, river, or pond will be contaminated with runoff from animal lots and overflowing septic and so forth, so water from an open source should not be used for cooking/body washing/drinking/tooth brushing without proper decontamination procedures.

Some people make sure they have a large-capacity garden wagon (easier to handle than wheelbarrow though that also will hold about three-four 5 gallon gas cans) to hand haul water in an emergency so they are not using possibly very scarce fuel from their car to make probably daily water runs. Of course, if you have a pickup or trailer, you can use 40-60 gallon drums but that means using buckets or 5 gallon cans or such to fill them, and having a spigot to take the wqater out of them into smaller containers (lying on their side) when you get home - so commonly 5 gallon containers are much easier to use and not much more expensive.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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