4 Ways to Prevent Phantom Flushing
Ghost or phantom flushing is a term used to refer to a leaking tank in your toilet. It happens when water leaks from the back side of the toilet, causing it to get filled with water automatically.
Ghost flushing does not necessarily mean that your bathroom is haunted or that ghosts are responsible for the flushing action. However, it does indicate that you need to inspect your toilet as it could be having issues.
What Causes a Phantom Flush in a Toilet
Phantom flushing can occur for various reasons, although a common cause is a leak somewhere in your toilet.
1. Internal Leak
Many moving parts in a toilet are subject to wear and tear. One of these is the flapper, the rubber part at the top of your toilet tank. It can get broken or deteriorate, so it can no longer form a watertight seal around the drain. This allows water to fill the bowl constantly, causing the latter to overflow.
Other phantom flush causes can be attributed to the refill tube of your tank. If this is too low, it can cause water to flow into the tank constantly. To determine if this causes ghost flushing, simply remove the refill tube from your overflow pipe, flush the toilet, and see what happens.
2. External Leak
This can happen in the bow or in the, tank of your toilet. For the bowl, a leak can make it appear as if the toilet is “sweating.” Patching up the bowl is a temporary solution, and it’s better to have it replaced.
Meanwhile, a crack in the toilet tank’s exterior often occurs when the toilet is pushed to the wall. If the crack is small, you can try to lower the water level in your tank so ghost flushing can be avoided.
3. Floor Leak
A floor leak could cause phantom flushing if the toilet flange is working properly and you can’t see any external leak. This leak can constantly force your toilet to drain, producing a ghost flush. Turn off your water supply and call an emergency plumber to fix this.
How to Fix a Phantom Flush
If you have a ghost flushing problem, you should first turn off the water valve leading to the toilet. It is generally located under the bowl. Closing the valve will stop the water flow from the toilet and stop the flushing. If you have basic plumbing skills, you can try to do some toilet troubleshooting and replace the damaged component. If not, you should contact a professional plumber, as there could be other issues causing your toilet to leak.
How to Prevent a Toilet Phantom Flush
Ghost flushing is not that difficult to explain. As such, its occurrence can be prevented by doing the following:
1. Check the Flapper
The toilet flapper can deteriorate over time and consequently malfunction. To check if it still works, place a food dye in the toilet tank and leave it there. For the next 30 minutes, refrain from flushing the toilet. Afterward, if the bowl water shows the same color as the dye, it means that your flapper is damaged.
The tank will have to be emptied of water, and you can do this by turning off the water supply and holding the flush handle down until it stops. Once the tank is empty, remove the flapper by disconnecting it from the chain attached to the flush handle. Bring your damaged flapper to a hardware store and buy an exact replacement.
2. Lengthen the Flapper Chain
If your flapper still looks fine, but you still have phantom flushes, check the chain that connects this to the flush handle. If the chain is too short, you should increase its length by one or two links. A short chain can prevent the flapper from sitting in the siphon hole. This could cause slow leaks that can lead to phantom flushes. After lengthening your chain, perform the dye test. If the water in your bowl turns a different color, it should be safe to say that the flapper is still functional.
3. Look for Leaks
If the toilet flapper does not cause your ghost flushes, but the water in your bowl is discolored, look for signs of leakage. Check the floor for any small pools of water. Also, using your fingers, feel the tank’s underside, particularly the bolts connecting the tank to the bowl. If you find water or liquid there, tighten the bolts of the tank with a screwdriver. This should resolve your phantom flushes.
4. Contact a Plumber
If you’ve tried just about everything and ghost flushes still haunt you, it’s best to ask help from an experienced plumber. There could be other issues involved that you can’t easily identify. A professional plumber should be able to handle this.
Phantom flushing may sound scary when you first hear it, but this has nothing to do with ghosts lurking in your toilet. Instead, it’s about a leak that causes your toilet to make regular flushes on its own. This could be an internal, external, or floor-based leak which could entail a phantom flush repair for the problem to be fixed.
Ghost flushing is a plumbing problem that can easily be prevented. All it takes is regular toilet maintenance. The focus should be on the toilet flapper, which is known to deteriorate due to frequent use. You’ll have to replace it when it gets worn out, which you can do on your own. For best results, however, you should consider getting the services of a trusted plumbing company.
Absolute Electrical Heating and Air can help you chase your phantom flushing problems out of your home.
Don’t be scared if you often hear your toilet flushing by itself, even during late nights. It could just be a case of ghost flushing. Trust Absolute Electrical Heating and Air to get this problem fixed quickly.
Contact our reliable plumber in Colorado Springs, and we’ll visit your home as soon as possible and see what we can do. For all other plumbing-related concerns, feel free to call us anytime.
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