Here's How Often You Need To Flush An Unused Toilet

Do you have a bathroom with a toilet that doesn't get used anymore? Sometimes an entire bathroom either never or rarely gets used, for one reason or another. Unused toilets are a bit like unused cars, in that you need to run them periodically so they don't stop working altogether. For toilets, you need to flush them at least once a week. Additionally, you can't really overdo it, so if you're not sure, flush anyway. It can't hurt.

Most of us would kill for an extra bathroom, right? But sometimes we end up with an extra one if the household gets downsized, or simply have one that sees very few visitors. It's easy to let that toilet slip your mind, but it's important to give it a flush at least weekly to keep it flowing and free from sediment and unsightly toilet stains. In fact, there are other important things to know if you have a mostly unused bathroom.

What will happen if you don't flush an unused toilet

You may be wondering what happens if you neglect to flush an unused toilet for too long. Mineral deposits and staining from the standing water and bacteria will begin to thrive. Not only that, but it can start to stink and smell like sulfur or sewer gas. Plus, if you let the water sit in the bowl without ever circulating it, it will leave unsightly rings behind when you do. If this happens, you'll end up having to use harsh chemicals and a lot of elbow grease to remove them.

Additionally, the water left in the p-trap will ultimately evaporate, allowing sewer gas to seep through and begin to stink up the bathroom. Plus, we all know how standing water starts to attract bacteria that can cause sickness. Another problem that can occur is the deterioration of the seals around the base of the toilet over time. Lastly, debris and waste left in the pipes can cause them to become clogged. While these are pretty compelling reasons to be sure you regularly flush any and all toilets in the house, routine maintenance for an unused bathroom doesn't end there.

Additional tasks for an unused bathroom

Another task you should perform weekly in your rarely used bathroom is to run the water in the sink and shower. This will keep all the p-traps for each fixture full and the methane gas out, where it belongs. Keep the bathroom clean even though it's not used regularly, and open up a window occasionally to keep mold and mildew at bay. If you don't have a window or don't want to open it, at least make sure the door stays open for this reason.

Additionally, if you have a single shower handle for both hot and cold water, make sure you run both sides. Check to be sure the hot side gets hot, and vice-versa. These types of handles are equipped with what's called an anti-scald balancing cartridge, and there's a tiny pin inside there that will get stuck in either the hot or cold position if it's not used for a while. As long as you give your unused bathroom a little TLC once a week, you shouldn't have any other problems.