Tips for Draining Your Toilet
Repairing or replacing the toilet with a newer model may require draining the toilet tank and bowl completely. Most homeowners wonder how they can fully drain their toilet in preparation for a repair or replacement.
There’s always water flowing in and out of the toilet. Upon flushing the toilet, water flows into the bowl and down to the sewer line through a large drain piping.
The toilet tank then refills. Even after flushing, there’s always some water left in the bowl. There’s no built mechanism for draining the toilet completely. Thus, don’t be surprised to unbolt the toilet tank or bowl only to get welcomed by a minor spill.
Before removing the bowl, ensure you empty water from the trap. The toilet trap is the section that connects the bowl to the drain. It holds water throughout.
You may empty water from the toilet trap directly from within the bowl, but doing it that way may leave some water behind.
The best way to drain the bowl and tank completely would be a combination of multiple methods. Here’s how to drain your toilet completely.
Shutting off the toilet water supply
First, shut off the main water supply to the toilet. Then flush the toilet. Doing so will remove a good amount of water from both the bowl and the tank.
However, only try this method if your toilet doesn’t have a clog. In case it’s clogged, then try plunging using the following steps:
- Check where the toilet water supply shutoff valve is located. The valve is usually small in size and its handle is often football-shaped. You’ll most probably find the valve along the toilet water supply line from where it goes through the wall.
- Turn off the valve in a clockwise direction. Ensure it’s completely turned off.
- Next, flush your toilet to empty much of the stored water. When flushing, keep holding the handle down to empty the tank further than it normally does.
- You can use a sponge to remove any water that will be left within the tank. Sponging will also help in removing any water left within the bowl.
Also, note that some older shutoff valves may have stopped functioning well. In such cases, the valve may not turn off the toilet water supply completely.
If that’s the case, then turn off your home’s main supply line before draining the toilet.
Plunging the toilet
You can also plunge your toilet bowl to remove any remaining water. The motion created by the plunger pushes water in the toilet trap and forces it to move through the drainage.
Plunging is especially ideal for removing any remaining water in a clogged toilet. Flushing a clogged toilet would only make it harder to empty the bowl since it will overflow. Here’s how to plunge the toilet:
- First, turn off the toilet water supply. Next, place the toilet plunger over the toilet drain opening within the bowl. Plunge the toilet to remove any water held in the trap. Plunging will also create some pressure that will push any existing clogs down the drain.
- Next, flush your toilet. This will empty the toilet tank. In case the clog is already cleared, the water will flow freely. You’ll only be left with some little water held by the trap.
- Take the plunger again and try forcing the water sitting in the trap down the drain. Some little water may be left behind. In this case, you can use a sponge to clear it. Sponging will leave the bowl and trap dry.
Siphoning the water
Another method of removing water from the toilet is by siphoning. You’ll only need a short and flexible hose. With this method, be ready to get dirty.
You should wear a pair of rubber gloves since you’ll come in contact with the toilet water by dipping one of your hands into the water.
Only use this method when the toilet doesn’t have any waste materials such as paper. You can also use this method to drain water from the toilet tank. Here’s how to siphon water from your toilet:
- First, fill the hose with water. You can fill it up from the tub or sink. Next, plug both openings of the pipe with your fingers to ensure the water within the hose won’t escape. If some water escapes, air will move into the hose and break the siphon.
- While still blocking the hose openings with your fingers, insert one of the ends into the bowl or tank depending on what you’re emptying. Then put the other hose opening in a bucket.
- Next, remove your fingers from the hose openings. Water will start draining from the toilet the bucket. Just ensure the end in the bucket remains at a lower level than that in the toilet to allow for siphoning.
Bailing water from the toilet
You can use a small bowl or cup to bail out any remaining water in the tank or bowl after flushing. You can even use a hairspray cap to scoop water from the lowest water level possible.
You might want to wear some rubber gloves while scooping the water. Scoop the water from the bottom-most part of the toilet to ensure the trap is emptied.
Sponging water from the toilet
Upon emptying the toilet using the previous methods, some water might be left behind. You can empty the toilet completely by sponging it. Simply take a large piece of an absorbent sponge to get rid of any residual water.
Wear gloves while sponging the toilet. Once the sponge is soaked in water, squeeze it into the bathroom drain or a bucket. Continue sponging until there’s no more water left in the toilet.
Vacuuming the water
You can do wet-dry vacuuming to drain water from the toilet. This method is only suitable for removing clean toilet water. Never vacuum dirty toilet water.
You’ll need to detach the vacuum filter to get it into the wet mode. Avoid overfilling the bin while vacuuming. An overfilled bin would spill water around your home as you move the heavy vacuum.