Taking Out a Toilet? Be Sure to Drain It First

by Team HomeServe
female hand flushing a kohler toilet

Before removing a toilet, you'll need to get every last drop of water out of the tank and bowl — or you’ll risk getting splashed by a rogue gush of water when you lift the toilet out of place.

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There are a few reasons that you might need to drain a toilet, but the most common is when you need to replace the fixture. You'll need to remove all the water from your old model before unscrewing it from the floor and installing a new one. You may also need to drain a broken toilet before having it repaired.

Need to drain your commode? Put on your rubber gloves and follow this quick guide.

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How to Drain a Toilet Using the Flush

The simplest way to drain an unclogged toilet is to shut off the water supply and flush the toilet. However, if your fixture is blocked, you'll need to unclog it first using a plunger or drain snake.

Start by finding and turning off the water shutoff valve so that no more water can flow into the toilet. The shutoff valve is located behind your toilet, close to the floor. Turn it clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore. Then, flush the toilet repeatedly until the tank and bowl are virtually empty. You can then sponge the remaining water away to leave your fixture perfectly dry and ready to repair or remove.

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What Do You Do If Your Toilet Won't Drain?

You can drain a constantly running toilet or a toilet that won't flush by turning off the water at the shutoff valve. Then, use a plunger to force the water and any blockage down the drain. You should be left with an empty bowl.

If your toilet isn't flushing properly, you’ll need to find another way to drain the water tank. The simplest way to do this is to use a cup, a jug or another type of scoop to bail the water out. Pour it into the bathtub, sink or bucket.

A slightly less conventional method is to use a Shop-Vac or wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck the water out of your toilet. However, you should make sure your toilet is scrupulously clean before attempting this. Don’t try this with a regular vacuum cleaner.

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How Do I Get the Last Bit of Water Out of My Toilet?

No matter how you drain a toilet, there will almost certainly be a few remaining drops at the bottom of the tank or bowl. The easiest way to remove the last bit of water is by soaking it up with a large cleaning sponge and squeezing it out into a bucket.

Since we’re all home now more than ever, being prepared for unexpected home repairs with a plan from HomeServe is important. Having a plan in place gives you peace of mind knowing that you can simply call our 24/7 repair hotline for covered breakdowns. See what plans are available in your neighborhood.