how long can you leave a toilet removed?

Removing a toilet, whether for renovation, leakage check, or an upgrade, is something many homeowners face.

But what comes after that?

How long can you leave a toilet removed before installing the new toilet? and what precautions should you take?

Let’s dive in and find out… (ok, not the best analogy there…)

How Long Can You Leave a Toilet Removed?

You can leave your toilet removed for as long as you need, but it’s not as simple as just taking it out and leaving it:

  • Time Frame: There’s no strict time limit, but you must keep the toilet clean and stored properly. One thing to note also is that the longer you have the toilet removed, the more chance there is of degradation of the internal seals. This is because they are designed to be wet at all times. When they’ll dry out they can crack – so if you leave the toilet removed for an extended period, you may find yourself having to fork out for new seals.
  • Securing the Rough-In: This means making sure nothing gets into the sewage system. If not secured properly, it can cause health hazards due to harmful elements in the gas coming out of the toilet drain.
  • Functionality: Your toilet won’t stop functioning, but an improperly covered drain can become clogged. So, cover it tightly to avoid any malfunction.
How long can you leave a toilet removed?

How Do I Stop Sewer Gas After Removing Toilet?

That sewer gas can be a real problem. Here’s how to handle it:

  • Identify the Smell: Sewer gas smells terrible, like rotten eggs. If you smell it, you’ve got a leak.
  • Seal the Drain: Use a proper seal to block the gas. An open toilet drain can be a source of hydrogen sulfide, which is harmful to humans.
  • Professional Help: If it’s too much to handle, don’t hesitate to call a plumber. They can take apart the plumbing line and unclog it if needed.

Is It Okay to Leave a Toilet Hole Open?

Thinking of leaving a toilet hole open? I wouldn’t recommend it. The health hazards alone are enough to give anyone pause.

Leaving a toilet hole open is a big no-no. Here’s why:

  • Health Hazards: Exposure to sewer fume can lead to eye irritation, nausea, vomiting, headache, and even death in high concentrations.
  • Functional Problems: An open drain can become clogged if something falls in. Lets face it – noone wants to be the person removing the unnecessary blockage in the sewer line.

It’s essential to cover the toilet rough-in firmly to avoid these issues.

Will a Rag Stop Sewer Gas?

A rag might seem like a quick fix, but it’s not the best solution:

  • Use a Rag Temporarily: It can block the gas for a short time, but it’s definetly not a permanent solution.
  • Consider Other Methods: There are better ways to seal the drain, like using specialized products designed to prevent sewer gas leakage.

Do You Have to Turn Off Water When Removing Toilet?

YES! When it comes to removing a toilet, turning off the water isn’t just a suggestion; it’s a must.

Imagine the mess if you don’t! You risk flooding your bathroom, and nobody wants that. Plus, turning off the water makes the removal process smoother and less messy. It’s a small step, but one that can save you a lot of trouble.

Problems Leaving The Toilet Drain Open

Leaving the toilet drain open is asking for trouble:

  • Sewer Fume Dangers: Sewer fume contains hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxides. These can cause serious health issues. (Two people die in China while retrieving phone from a septic tank, Retrieved August 2023)
  • Cluttered Drain: If not sealed properly, things can fall in and jam the drain. Prevention is key, and if it happens, a professional plumber can help unclog it.

When Should A Toilet Be Removed?

Removing a toilet isn’t something you do on a whim. There are specific scenarios when it might be necessary. If the toilet isn’t working properly and can’t be fixed externally, removal might be the only option. Or perhaps you’re renovating and upgrading to a smart toilet or built-in bidet.

And don’t forget about aesthetics; if the current location doesn’t work for you, you might need to remove and relocate the toilet.

It’s a decision that requires careful consideration.


So, to recap, you can leave your toilet removed as long as you want, but you must seal the toilet rough-in properly to avoid clogging and toxic sewage gas. Your family’s well-being is paramount, so don’t take any chances. If you need a replacement fast or face any issues, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Stay safe, and keep those around you safe too!

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