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What Is "Ghost Flushing?"

When it’s the middle of the night and you’re alone at home, hearing the toilet suddenly flush is the last thing you want to happen. In the plumbing biz, we call this “ghost flushing” and it’s scary for a few reasons. First, it can be unsettling and downright scary for homeowners and second, it’s a major waste of water.

What Causes Phantom Flushing?

When a toilet has one component that won't work or if the water pressure to the device isn't controlled properly, ghost flushing can occur. The reasons for phantom toilet flushing include:

  • Defective flush gasket
  • Bad toilet flapper or stopper ball
  • Slow water leakage from the toilet’s tank to the bowl
  • Loose fill tube
  • Float ball at the wrong level
  • Flapper chain requires adjustment

A toilet that has a continuous flushing problem can waste thousands of gallons of water each month, so you should fix the problem right away.

Putting an End to Ghost Flushing

The first thing that you should do is turn off the water valve that leads to the toilet — this is located underneath the bowl. This makes it impossible to use the toilet until it is repaired, but it will prevent the phantom flushing by stopping the flow of the water. If you understand toilet repairs, then you can troubleshoot the problem and eventually replace the broken component.

Not sure how to fix a spontaneously flushing toilet? We don’t blame you! Toilet repairs can be more complicated than you think, so we suggest leaving the tough work to us — Mr. Rooter of San Francisco!