xandr pixel
Skip to main content

Ghost Flushing

This spooky occurrence makes you think your bathroom may be haunted when you hear your toilet flushing and no one else is home.

Ghost flushing

When you hear a flushing sound from your toilet every few minutes (or even every few hours), that is a sign of a slow leak from the toilet bowl or tank. The leak causes the water level to drop below a certain point, causing the float to give the signal to refill the tank. Then comes the sound of the ghost flush.

Here are some suggestions to solve Ghost Flushing:

1. Check to see if your toilet is leaking internally.
Is water leaking on the floor? If not, more than likely the ghost flushing is caused by an internal leak. Something could be wrong with the rubber flapper that allows water to run out of the drain, therefore causing the toilet to continually refill.

2. Evaluate the rubber flapper’s effectiveness.
For some Halloween fun, you can get out the food coloring to find out if it is your flapper causing the leak. Simply put a few drops of food coloring in the back tank of the toilet. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If you see that same color in the toilet bowl, you will know the issue is the flapper.

3. Check for damage on the toilet flapper.
Clean the flapper and the surface area of the flush valve. Then, check to see if the chain to the flapper fits properly, allowing the flapper to fit well over the drain opening.

4. Replace the rubber flapper if needed.
This is a very common solution for internal toilet leaking. You can easily buy one at the hardware store or online.

5. Still leaking? Check your refill tube.
Make sure the refill tube is not inserted too far into the overflow pipe. In this case you should pull out the tube and attach it to the outside overflow pipe. This keeps the tube from entering the overflow pipe and usually will stop an internal leak from the tank to the bowl that caused the ghost flushing.

6. Replace the entire flush valve.
If you have done both of the above and still have a ghost flushing toilet, you may have to replace the entire flush valve. This is not a beginner level DIY endeavor, but those with more experience (and probably an extra pair of hands) may choose to take it on. If you think you’re ready for the job, we recommend doing more internet research before you get started.

7. Is your toilet leaking on the floor? Check the water supply for visible leaks.
If you find water on the floor from your leaky toilet, first clean and dry the area to then look for the source of the leak when a new puddle forms. See if the water is coming from underneath the toilet or around the base. Examine the following to confirm the leak is coming from underneath your toilet and not from a loose supply tube, cracked tank or sweaty bowl, or defective shutoff valve.

Water leaking on the floor from underneath the toilet can sometimes be easily fixed by making sure the bolts that secure your toilet to the floor are tight. If that does not solve the external toilet leak, you may have to replace the wax gasket underneath your leaky toilet.

8. Check to see if water is dripping from the bottom of the tank.
This could be another external toilet leak source when water is found on the floor. By looking and feeling underneath your toilet tank you may discover wetness. This is a good indication that the tank-to-bowl sponge gasket needs to be replaced.

You would not intentionally flush money down the toilet, but if your toilet is running and causing high water bills, money IS going down the drain! Don’t get spooked by ghost flushing.  Call Plumb Pro Plus if you need assistance — we ain’t afraid of no ghost (flushing)!