Dealing With Phantom Flushing?

leaking toiletYou’ve noticed that your home toilet flushes lately when no one is in the bathroom. It’s a little creepy, and you’re wondering what weird activity is happening in your home. Well, it could be what you’re experiencing is quite explainable. Plumbers also call this “phantom flushing.

Toilet Repair Coopersburg PA: What Is Phantom Flushing?

Phantom flushing is something that happens with house toilets when the toilet’s reservoir tank is leaking. Many call it phantom flushing because the toilet appears to be flushing on its own, or as plumbers jokingly say, by a phantom or ghost.

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What Are The Results Of This Happening To Your Toilet?

What is happening with phantom flushing is that a small rubber flapper, or the flapper’s sealing, has worn out. You can find the flapper at the top of the toilet tank. It fits around the handle or lever used to flush the toilet. The flapper serves the dual function of helping keep water from moving out of the tank. It ensures that there is always enough water stored to flush the toilet. Its flap is moved aside when someone pushes the flushing handle. This aspect allows water back into the tank to keep it full for flushing again.

When the flapper, or the sealant around it, has worn out, it creates a leak at the weak areas. Consequently, the water can seep from the tank and down through the short connecting pipeline, into the toilet bowl. This action also causes the float in the toilet tank to lower as the water in the tank decreases. When the water reaches the designated refill level, the float is triggered to refill the tank. This action causes a rush of water that sounds like the flushing of the toilet. If the toilet flapper is the cause of the phantom flushing and is not repaired or replaced, this ‘flushing’ activity will continue to happen.

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How Can I Know If I Have A Leaking Toilet?

image of plumber repairing toiletTo find out if phantom flushing is happening in your toilet, you will need to find out if you have damaged or worn sealants around the toilet tank flapper. To do this, you can run a quick and easy test using simple food coloring. Just follow the simple steps mentioned below.

  1. Make sure your food dye is an intense color and will be noticeable in the water
  2. Place enough food dye into the toilet tank to achieve a deep tint
  3. Leave the colored water to sit in the tank for at least 20-30 minutes. 20-30 minutes should be enough time for water to seep through a leak if there is any leak
  4. Check the toilet bowl after the 20-30 minutes to see if there is any of the food dye coloring in the bowl. If there is food dye color in the bowl, it means that you indeed have a leaking flapper which you will need to replace or repair.
  5. If you would like to be even more certain that the flapper is the culprit of your phantom-flushing toilet, you can also do a flapper chain lengthening test. To do this, lengthen the chain that fastens the flapper to the flush lever by about two links. Then, run the dye test again. Extending the chain by a couple of links tests if the chain might be too short, and thus preventing the flapper from fitting correctly in the siphon hole – which could cause leaks that can lead to phantom flushing. If the water in the bowl is the same color as the tank water, even with the lengthening of the chain, then you need to change the flapper.

*Please note that a licensed plumber is the best and safest option in determining if your toilet has a leak or other malfunction.

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Ultimately, the best and safest thing you can do to ensure a satisfactory resolution to your malfunctioning toilet is to seek the advice of a qualified and licensed plumber. If you would like a professional assessment on your phantom flushing issue, feel free to reach out to us by using any of our contact options listed below.

For a reliable and trusted plumbing company, look no further than Robinson Plumbing.

We offer a wide range of plumbing services, including toilet repairs, replacements, and more.

Our highly-trained and skilled plumbers provide excellent services at affordable prices. Best of all, our team of friendly and courteous plumbers will go out of their way to ensure that your visit is a pleasant experience. We offer free, in-home consultations. Call Robinson Plumbing now to schedule an appointment.

Some of the areas that we service include Center Valley, Coopersburg, Haddonfield, Zionhill and these zip codes 18034, 18036, 18060, 18981 as well as all surrounding areas in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

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Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or contact us for any questions that you might have!