How to Winterize Your Toilet

A toilet in a residential bathroom.

Are you planning on spending the winter season away from your home? Perhaps you want to escape from the cold weather and spend the season somewhere warm, or your family has a winter home in a scenic location that you’re looking forward to spending the next few months in. Either way, if you’re not going to be home during the winter, it’s time to start thinking about how to winterize your home’s plumbing system, and you should probably start with the toilets.

Many homeowners forget about the fact that the water in your toilet can freeze in extremely cold temperatures, which can also damage the toilet itself. To avoid any toilet damage this winter, follow these simple steps to winterize your toilet.

Step 1: Make Sure You Do Not Need to Use the Toilet

Before you winterize your toilet, make sure that you are done using it for the season. There could end up being quite the mess if you winterize your toilet and have to reverse all of the steps due to a bathroom emergency.

Step 2: Drain the Tank

Your toilet’s fill valve, which is usually located on the back of your toilet, needs to be switched off so that the water doesn’t keep filling the tank. The shut-off valve, which is typically located on the wall or floor near the toilet bowl, also needs to be turned off. Once the fill valve and shut-off valve are off, remove your toilet tank lid and gently place it on the floor. Flush your toilet and hold the flush handle down until you see that all of the water has drained from the tank. Do not release the flush handle until all of the water is gone from the tank.

Step 3: Drain the Bowl

Once your toilet tank is empty, there will most likely be some leftover water in the toilet bowl. To get rid of this extra water, fill a bucket with water and pour it into the bowl. As you pour the water in the bowl, slowly start lifting the bucket higher to switch up the pressure of the water flowing into the bowl. Once all of the water in the toilet bowl is gone, use a washcloth or rag to dry the rest of the bowl.

Pro tip: The process of pouring water from a bucket into the toilet bowl could get a bit messy, so we recommend laying out old towels on the floor around the toilet to catch any water that spills or misses the toilet bowl.

Winterizing your home’s plumbing system is crucial as the temperatures start to get colder, especially since frozen pipes can lead to serious damage in your home. If you have already winterized your toilet and are wondering how to avoid frozen pipes this season while you’re away from home, Dr Rooter of Lexington can help! Call us today at (803) 398-2090 or fill out our online contact form to get started.