3 things to know about water when the power goes out

Odds and ends about water

Your bathroom will continue to be a busy part of your home in a disaster. Here’s a few hints to keep everyone clean, including your rear…ends.

Will I have water in a power outage?

Whether it’s a water tower or a dam, your municipal water pressure is provided naturally by storing water above ground level. The water reservoirs have their own backup power which should continue to work for days, if not weeks.

Will I have hot water when the power goes out?

If you have a gas tank water heater then your gas pilot light creates what little electricity it needs to run through a piezo ignition system. As long as the water heater pilot is on then your hot water heater will continue to work.

Piezo is short for the Piezoelectric Effect. It’s the same process that works in a BBQ or campfire push button igniter, or a quartz watch. There are materials that can generate their own electric charge when stress is applied to them.

A tankless water heater, even if it’s gas, has a PC board that requires electricity. Fortunately, you can add a battery backup, similar to what you use for a computer, to keep the hot water coming during a power outage. To find the correct size battery use the same rules as a generator. Look at the watts required to run the water heater, and remember that starting watts are higher.

How to make an emergency toilet

Your toilet is gravity powered. So even if the water is off, you can still flush the toilet by pouring water into the toilet bowl. Of course, if the water is off, don’t waste water flushing the toilet, unless you need an initial cleaning.

When you’re without water it’s critical that you find a way for people to use the toilet. You’ll also need to safely remove the waste. There are many different kinds of portable toilets, from buckets to composting toilets. Here’s how to create your own.
  1. Line the inside of a dry toilet bowl or five gallon jug with two garbage bags. 
  2. Place kitty litter, fireplace ash, or sawdust into the bottom of the bag. After using the toilet, sprinkle an additional layer. 
  3. At the end of each day move the bag at least 100 fee away from where people are cooking or eating. 
  4. Each day rinse the container with a disinfectant solution of 10 parts water to 1 part bleach to reduce odor.