Emergency Water Tank for Toilet

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rgs, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    We have frequent power outages here on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia so I'd like to hook up an emergency water tank for our Toto Drake toilet that we've installed thanks to all the information on this great site. 30 gallons or so should be enough to see us through most outages. There would have to be some kind of float valve shutoff when it fills and an opening at the top to let air in when the power is out and we need to fill the toilet from the tank. Probably be best if the toilet filled from the tank all the time. Any ideas on the kind of tank I could use or what I'd need to rig one up.
    Thanks,
    Richard
  2. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,918
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    How do you plan on building water pressure ?

    Do you want to use gravity ?


    Good Luck.
  3. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Yes. I'd put it on a stand so gravity would send the water into the Drake tank.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    You might find it doesn't work well. Then again...

    The shutoff valve in the toilet may not function without some minimum water pressure, and I doubt you'd be able to put it up high enough to generate enough to work the valve just using gravity. A close look at the Korky spec sheet on the valve should tell you the minimum pressure required.

    While more expensive than just a simple tank, you could use something like a well bladder storage tank with a checkvalve on the inlet. Plumb it inline with the toilet supply, and the city/town would provide the power to pressurize the storage tank and the check valve would keep it there. Size it for the number of flushes you want to be able to do.

    A bucket poured down the toilet would work to flush it as well, if you had a barrel somewhere to store some! Keep in mind that both the tank AND the bowl must be refilled after a flush to work properly the next time.

    Some fill valves might work at essentially near zero water pressure, but I don't think most of the modern ones will.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,487
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    You would probably have to replace the fill valve with an old fashioned one with a float ball. Once that is done, you just need a pipe from the tank to the toilet and some way to fill the tank. If you used a pneumatic pressure tank, then the original fill valve would work, assuming you have a pump, or other water supply source, which could pressurize the tank.
  6. guy48065

    guy48065 New Member

    Messages:
    111
    Location:
    SE and north MI
    All the pressure problems mentioned previously would go away if the toilet tank were filled from the TOP by your elevated storage tank. Are you hoping for something manual & simple--or mechanical & automatic? Simplest would be a garden hose with a shutoff valve between tanks. Open the valve to refill your toilet tank to the water level stain inside, then shut off. Good til next use.
  7. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    I should have mentioned I'm in a rural area and use a shallow well jet pump with pressures between 25 and 40 lbs with a bladder pressure tank now. That's not much pressure compared with city pressures and the Korky works fine with that but maybe gravity wouldn't provide that much pressure

    Jadnashua - Assuming two bladder pressure tanks will work inline, that looks like a possible solution. Don't think I can get a much larger pressure tank than the one I have down into my cellar but if a second larger one will work inline that might be a solution.

    guy48065 - manual and simple with a hose would work if I could rig a shutoff float valve on the storage tank. Not sure how to do that but maybe a plumber in this area would know how.

    Thanks for all the suggestions so far.
    Richard
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,487
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If you connect the tanks properly, you can use as many as you have room for. Multiple tanks would give you water to flush the toilet, and use EVERYWHERE ELSE in the house.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    Some valves require some minimum pressure to be able to seal and shut off the water, some don't. That's why I said to check out the valve's specs.

    If you tried filling with say just a hose, you'd only be refilling the tank, and not the bowl, so it would NOT flush right the next time (but you could refill both the tank and the bowl with a hose). You CAN, though, just pour a bucket of water into the bowl, and it will flush - may not get as good of a bowl wash, but it could be better! You would need to pour it in fairly quickly since you won't be having the advantage of the siphon jet when done that way.

    If you have the room, additional (or larger) bladder tanks would give you a supply.
  10. mikeplummer

    mikeplummer Plumber

    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    x2 - as many tanks as required to provide the amount of water you would need
  11. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,918
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Around here you can buy the 50 gallon blue barrels with lids for $20.

    They are made of plastic and corn syrup is shipped in them.

    I use a bucket and just keep the tank full during Hurricanes.


    Nothing fancy but it works better than the outhouse.
  12. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Jadnashua - you were right about the valve specs. 20 lbs is the minimum they work with. As pressure tanks get quite expensive as they go up in size I guess I'll go with a plain tank and a hose. Maybe I can find a plastic tank around here as DonL suggests. Funny you should mention an outhouse, DonL. I'm also building one of those, should all else fail. Nothing more dependable! :)
  13. Smooky

    Smooky Member

    Messages:
    596
    Location:
    NC
  14. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Interesting idea, Smooky. Thanks. I'm going to look into that.
  15. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,892
    Location:
    New England
    To get 20psi without a pump would require you to put the tank about 47' higher than the toilet using gravity only! So, probably not a viable option...and, you'd probably want to exceed that 20psi to have a little margin meaning higher yet.
  16. rgs

    rgs New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    Thanks, Jim. That's both interesting and good to know. Gravity's not going to do it.
  17. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,918
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Just a bucket will work. Even 1 gallon milk bottles, with screw on lids, to fill the tank for another flush.


    Running a pump off of a battery is more trouble than it would be worth. Better to use a generator.

    You can just join the bears during a power outage.


    Good Luck.
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