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How Often Should You Flush Your Unused Toilet?

Updated: Jan 12


flush-unused-toilet

If you’re like many homeowners, you aren’t at your home 12 months out of the year. You might come in the summertime and close up the house for winter. Or you may leave for extended vacations. Yet even when you’re not there, your home needs routine maintenance…like flushing the toilets. That leaves the question on how often you should flush an unused toilet and what issues can happen if it isn’t flushed regularly.


Issues When an Unused Toilet Isn’t Flushed Regularly

When you leave for a vacation or extended trip, it’s easy to overlook the small details, such as the toilets in your home. But neglecting unused toilets can lead to a range of problems that can dampen your post-trip return and even put a strain on your budget. Here are some of the issues that can arise:

Foul Odors

Stagnant water in the toilet bowl can develop unpleasant stale or musty odors. This is particularly a problem if there are any traces of urine or other waste in the bowl.


Bacteria Growth

Without regular flushing, bacteria and other microorganism can multiply in the stagnant water, and can produce unpleasant odors as they break down organic matter. In warm and humid environments, bacteria tend to proliferate more rapidly, and prolonged stagnation can potentially lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria over time.


Mineral Buildup

If the water in your toilet bowl contains minerals, such as calcium or magnesium, these minerals can accumulate and form deposits over time. This can result in unsightly dark stains or white or off-white scaling inside the bowl or on the rim. They can also accumulate around the waterline or in the jets under the bowl rim.


Calcium and magnesium are often present in hard water, and these mineral deposits are commonly referred to as limescale or mineral scale. Limescale can be stubborn and difficult to remove, requiring the use of specialized cleaning agents or descaling products to dissolve and remove the deposits.



Trap Seal Evaporation

Every toilet has a built-in trap that holds a small amount of water in the curved pipe beneath the toilet bowl. This water creates a seal that prevents sewer gases from entering the bathroom. If your toilet is not flushed regularly, the water in the trap seal can evaporate, breaking the seal and allowing unpleasant odors to penetrate into your bathroom. Having water in the trap helps maintain the proper functioning of your plumbing system.


Wax Ring Seal Deterioration

The wax ring seal is located between the base of your toilet and the floor flange and provides a watertight seal to prevent leaks between the toilet and the drainpipe. Over time, the wax ring can dry out, become brittle, or lose its effectiveness if not compressed and maintained under pressure. This can lead to leaks.


Tank-to-Bowl Gasket Failure

The tank-to-bowl gasket seals the connection between the toilet tank and the bowl to ensure that water does not leak from the tank into the bowl. If the toilet is left unused for a long period, the gasket can deteriorate, resulting in leaks when the toilet is flushed.


Mold or Mildew

In a damp or humid environment, mold or mildew can grow in the toilet bowl or on its surfaces, leading to dark stains or rings.


How Often Should My Unused Toilet be Flushed?

If a toilet is not being used regularly, it is recommended that it be flushed at least every 2 weeks to prevent stagnant water from developing foul odors, potentially harboring bacteria, or creating unsightly mineral buildup within the toilet. Flushing helps maintain the integrity of your plumbing system and ensures that the trap seal remains intact. This prevents sewer gases from entering your bathroom.


Deep Creek Lake Home Watch Protects Your Home…and Your Toilets

Regular flushing and cleaning of the toilet bowl and proper bathroom ventilation can help maintain a hygienic environment. When you’re away from home for an extended period, it is crucial to have someone flush your unused toilets periodically. Neglecting to do so can lead to issues that can affect both your plumbing system and your comfort once you return home.


If you’re planning a trip and want to return to a hassle-free and fully-functioning home, trust Deep Creek Lake Home Watch.


Contact Deep Creek Lake Home Watch

If you’d like to learn more about our Home Watch services, or to schedule your free initial consultation, please contact Deep Creek Home Watch at 833-325-4923.

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