What Causes Ghost Flushing and How To Stop It

If you’ve ever been at home and heard your toilet flush when no one is in the bathroom, it can be quite unnerving. 

True to its name, this phenomenon is called “ghost flushing” and occurs when the toilet flushes unexpectedly without anyone pulling the handle. In addition to being disruptive, it can cause a waste of water and higher utility bills. 

To help out homeowners like you, we’ve covered the reasons for this and offer practical remedies to stop it from continuing in your house. 

If you need help fixing the issue or would rather have a professional plumber visit, just call our team at Clover Contracting.

Common Reasons for Irregular Unintended Flushing

Ghost flushing, or phantom flushing, is an annoying and puzzling toilet problem. You can recognize and successfully handle the situation by being familiar with the usual triggers of this flushing. By understanding the causes and how they relate to the issue, you can take the necessary actions to stop it and guarantee proper toilet function.

Problems with Flapper Seals 

A bad flapper seal is one of the most common sources of ghost flushing and it’s often due to wear and tear due to water exposure. The seal is a rubber valve located at the base of the toilet tank, responsible for regulating the water flow during flushing. 

However, if the seal gets worn out or damaged, water can slowly leak from the tank into the bowl and cause an unintentional flush. 

When searching for the cause of your flushing, look for damage or cracks in the flapper. If you find any, replace it or call a professional to do so for you. 

A Faulty Fill Valve 

After each flush, the fill valve called the ballcock or inlet valve, refills the toilet tank with water. The fill valve is one of the two main parts of your toilet responsible for supplying the tank. 

If it malfunctions or breaks, the result is often irregular water flow or phantom flushing. Examine the fill valve for any wear or buildup that might affect its ability to function. Then, replace the fill valve if needed to restore the flush.

A Loose or Broken Shut-Off Valve

In some rarer – but still relatively common – cases, the cause of a ghost flushing toilet can be outside of the bathroom itself. Most external causes often seem like leaks. But, if you can’t find the reason, check your toilet’s water shut-off valve.

If the valve is causing problems, call our team at Clover Contracting. Usually, the washer can handle quite a bit of pressure, but if the water pressure in your home is too high for your water valve, it can break. If you aren’t careful, you could risk flooding.

Our Top Prevention Methods

Phantom flushing, as we’ve mentioned, is a frustrating and wasteful issue to deal with. Yet, if you want to keep your bathroom functional and water-efficient, it’s essential to understand how to handle this problem. You can quickly stop this annoying problem and ensure that your toilet runs smoothly just by addressing the root causes and putting the right solutions in place.

Check and Change the flapper valve. 

Another simple fix for your toilet ghost flushing is checking the flapper valve. Locate the flapper valve inside the toilet’s tank and scan it for any debris, cracks, or wear and tear. Ideally, it should be replaced immediately if there’s any damage or it’s not sealing correctly, but you can delay it slightly if the damage isn’t severe. 

To ensure the flapper valve’s been replaced and installed correctly, refer to the manufacturer’s guide or seek professional advice. The effectiveness and durability of your toilet and its parts can be preserved with regular maintenance and quick flapper valve replacement when needed.

Change the Fill Valve 

If you suspect another cause, a quick ghost flushing toilet fix is checking the toilet tank’s water level and fill valve. The water level must be lower than the overflow pipe while still high enough to flush correctly. As mentioned, if there’s a crack or a leak somewhere on the valve, water will continuously flow in until the toilet automatically flushes.

If you’re planning to try and fix the problem yourself, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Otherwise, call us at Clover Contracting for help from a licensed plumber.

Maintaining and Cleaning Valves 

Like with the fill and flapper valves, water damage should be expected, so ensure the valves are as identical as possible if you don’t have the toilet’s manufacturing manual. Your water can even cause buildup, so check at least once every month, if not every two weeks!

Start by turning off the water supply to the toilet before cleaning the valves. Next, depending on the valve you’re cleaning, remove the valve cap or disconnect it. Check the valve itself for signs of damage or buildup. Using a vinegar solution or a cleaning agent is an excellent option to dissolve deposits if you find any. 

Then, use a soft bristle brush or fabric to gently scrub the valve to remove any last bits of dirt. Afterward, thoroughly wash the valve with water before placing it back into the tank.

Call a Plumbing Professional

Many homeowners often find themselves asking, “Is ghost flushing dangerous?” While it’s sudden and distracting at times, the flushing isn’t all that dangerous. There may be some damage to the toilet itself, due to the near-constant flow of water, but it won’t cause you harm unless you let it go unfixed for too long. 

If you tried all of these solutions and the ghost flushing is still happening, it’s highly recommended that you get the help of a qualified plumber. Contact our team, who can fix your appointment with one of our professional residential plumbers. They can thoroughly examine the plumbing system in and around your toilet to provide tailored suggestions to fix your problem.

Plumbing Issue? We’ve Got the Solution. Call Clover Contracting Today.  

This issue can be annoying and if you don’t fix it it can cause costly plumbing issues in the long run. As we mentioned in this article, you can successfully stop the flushing in your toilet by understanding the causes and using the steps to prevent or fix it. 

You can easily keep your toilet functioning properly and prevent unnecessary water waste by performing regular upkeep and making the appropriate valve adjustments on time.

If you can’t resolve the problem on your own, the best idea is to seek the advice of a professional plumber. Our team at Clover Contracting is always ready to help! Contact us today to book an appointment, and we’ll provide expert guidance and prompt assistance to get your plumbing system back up and running normally. 

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