Ghost flushing

Hot Water Recirculation Pumps
May 14, 2021
Mechanical Plumbing Air Admittance Vent
May 14, 2021

From Everett –

Sometimes at night when my house is quiet and I’m the only one home, I hear water running. Then a few minutes later and for no reason my toilet flushes. Can you tell me why this is happening and is there a way to stop it?

Hello Everett and thank you for your question.

In plumbers language this is called “Ghost Flushing” and here is what I suspect is going on. It could be a few of things, first take the top off of the toilets tank and look at the very bottom where what we call the “Flapper” is. It is a round piece of rubber that sits over a hole that allows the water to flush. After the flush the “Flapper” should rest back down over the hole covering it completely and allow the tank to refill. The flapper may be dried out and cracked and not coming down over the hole letting the water slowly leak and at a certain point the toilet will call for a refill and flush on its own. Another reason for “Ghost Flushing” could be the “Float” may need an adjustment and or the throat of the tank may be old and pitted allowing water to slowly leak and again call for a flush. Lastly, your tank could even have a small hairline crack that might look to you like simple condensation but it will still drain the tank ever so slowly and cause the tank to flush.

These are just a few things that can be going on, some of which can be handled by the homeowner. I hope this has been helpful and good luck getting the “Ghost” out of the house.


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