Can You Take a Shower When the Power Is Out

A power outage occurs randomly and is very inconvenient and many things you can typically use don’t work at all. Virtually everyone has a shower every day. In this article, I will cover whether you can take a shower when the power is out.

As a general rule, you can take a shower when the power is out. Hot water is kept in a large hot water cylinder that will remain hot for 1 to 2 days after the power is disconnected. But, some plumbing systems have a shower pump. If you do a shower will not work during a power outage.

Depending on what season it is a cold shower will do the job. But, it’s not the most comfortable thing in the world in winter. Below, I will explain how to know if your shower has a shower pump and if a hot shower will work without a shower pump.

The Parts of a Shower That Require Electricity

A shower is installed where the pipes, are hidden behind walls, therefore, it’s difficult to know exactly how a shower works. Here’s a rundown of what parts of a shower use electricity so you know what you’re in for if there’s a power cut.

a hot water cylinder

In general, the hot water cylinder and the shower pump are the only parts of a shower that require electricity. Not all plumbing systems have a shower pump. Water in a hot water cylinder can also be gas-powered. A hot water cylinder will remain hot for 1 to 2 days with no power or gas.

Most gas-powered systems have a pilot light. This is a tiny flame that is always on. When the gas burner underneath needs to turn on it will use the pilot light to ignite. Therefore, if your hot water cylinder is powered by gas and it has a pilot light you can always have a hot shower even during a power outage. 

How to know if you have a shower pump

The main way you will know if you have a shower pump is if the shower will not work during a power outage. A shower pump is almost always located next to the hot water cylinder. 

Therefore, if you know where your hot water cylinder is you can generally have a quick look to see if you have a shower pump. Otherwise, the only way to know is to disconnect the power to the whole house and see if your shower works.

vented shower pump

A shower pump is connected to a shower in such a way that all the water that goes to the shower is fed through the pump. Therefore, the only way to have a shower if you have a shower pump, but no electricity is to re-plumb the shower. 

Basically, you’ll need to disconnect the water lines from the water pump and feed them to the pipe that goes to the shower. Unless you’re a plumber this is a very big job. And something, where it’s best just to wait until the power, comes back on.

How to shower when the shower doesn’t work during a power outage

The good news is the hot water will still be hot. And you should use a method used in remote areas with no plumbing. This is where you fill a bucket with warm/hot water. 

Then use a scoop such as an ice cream container, and pour the water over yourself. You then apply shampoo, and soap to your entire body. And then use the same method to rinse all the soap and shampoo off.

Using a generator to power your hot water cylinder

Many hot water cylinders are electric and plug into a wall outlet rather than the wiring of your home. Therefore, with an extension cord, you can plug a hot water cylinder into a generator. This is typically necessary because generators are quite heavy. 

A generator can also be connected to the mains. Here’s a video that shows how to connect a generator to the mains:

How Much Power Does a Shower Use

When there’s a power outage for some time, you may decide to use a generator. Generators do use a fairly decent amount of fuel but not anything crazy. So, how much power will you need to power a shower?

On average, a shower uses 1 kWh of electricity per shower. This is based on a 6-minute shower. Based on the average electricity cost it’s about $0.50 for a whole family per day. A generator used to power your whole home will use 0.75 gallons (3.4 liters) of gas per hour. 

The good news is that it only takes about 40 minutes for a hot water heater to be completely heated. Therefore, you only need to run a generator for about an hour to completely heat it. 

The water in a hot water cylinder for a shower will provide about 1 hour of shower time. So, if most people have reasonably short showers, a hot water cylinder will last 2 days.

Does a Toilet Flush When the Power Is Out

press the toilet handle to flush the toilet

When the power goes out none of your electric appliances will work. But, there are various things such as faucets, and the toilet which don’t appear to use any electricity. So, here’s whether a toilet flushes when there’s a power outage.

In general, a toilet will flush when the power is out. The only type that won’t is a smart toilet. Regular toilets don’t use any electricity at all. They work mechanically, where when you press the button or lever to flush it opens the valve which causes water to flow into the bowl.

Smart toilets on the other hand do use electricity. They have features like an automatic toilet seat and an automatic flush. Smart toilets are connected to the wiring in a home. Therefore, if the power goes out they won’t function at all. Some smart toilets have a certain amount of emergency flushing. Where they will flush a few times when there is no power.

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