Cleaning Tip: Winterizing Your Toilet

If you have a second home in a cold-weather climate, then this article is for you. As you close up your cabin or second-home, your bathroom could reach freezing temperatures this winter. You’ll want to shut off the water to your toilet and any other areas of the house that have running water.

Here’s how to winterize your toilet for the winter months.

Your toilet has two main parts: The tank which holds the water for flushing and the bowl. The bowl holds water and connects to the drain allowing you to get rid of waste and water. The tank sits behind the bowl and contains a reserve of water that flushes on demand. The size of the toilet may vary as there are different heights and depths depending on the size of the people in your house.

Inside the tank is the fill valve, many of these are made out of metal, but more of the newer ones are made out of plastic. The gatekeeper of the water which is responsible for allowing fresh water to fill the tank is this fill valve. It prevents to much water from filling. The next item is the shut-off valve which exists outside the toilet near the wall of the toilet underneath. This is usually on the left side of the toilet under the tank.

Step 1: Close The Fill Line

First step is to shut off the water coming into the tank. On the left side of the tank underneath is the shutoff valve. Turn this until it won’t turn anymore. The water should be shut off now.

Step 2: Drain The Tank

Now you will use the lever on the left side of the toilet to flush the toilet. This will drain almost all of the water from the reserve tank and flushing the water down the drain at the same time.

Once the water has been drained, there will be a small amount left in the tank. Remove the tank cover from the tank, place on the floor. Look in the bowl of the toilet to see if there is any water left lingering.

Fill bucket with water (3 to 5 gallons) and pour water into the bowl, not the tank. As you are pouring water gradually lift the bucket higher to change the momentum of the water pouring into the bowl. The goal here is the force flush the bowl and leave it almost completely empty.

Now that the toilet bowl is almost dry, get a sponge and completely dry out the toilet bowl.

Step 3: Add Antifreeze

The last step to this process is to add antifreeze. Do this very carefully. Before you open the antifreeze bottle, make sure you are wearing safety glasses and rubber gloves. Antifreeze should be non-toxic and marked safe for plumbing use and for plumbing systems. Pour the antifreeze directly into your tank. As you pour this into the tank, hold down the flush lever to flush the toilet and force some of the liquid into the other parts of your toilet.

This is the first step in winterizing your home, don’t forget to drain all your water pipes to prevent them from freezing and flooding your home while you are gone.

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