Repair when Not in Use

Solutions for a toilet making refill sounds on its own or ghost flushing

Sometimes you can hear a toilet refilling without being flushed. This sound can happen intermittently and occur every few minutes or every few hours. Such a refill sound is usually alerting you that your toilet is losing water, either internally (if there’s no water on the floor or exterior of toilet) or externally leaking if you see water outside the toilet.

Read below if:

1. Your toilet has internal leaks

2. Your toilet has external leaks

1. Here are some solutions for internal leaks (water draining into bowl):

  1. Check refill tube first: If refill tube is inserted too far into the overflow pipe, pull it out and reattach to outside of overflow pipe. This should keep the tube from entering the overflow pipe and often stop an internal leak from the tank to bowl and prevent “ghost flushing”.
  2. Inspect flapper for visible damage/debris: Wipe flapper and surface area of flush valve clean. Replace flapper if this does not resolve toilet running.
  3. Replace entire flush valve if steps a and b do not resolve issue.

2. Here are some solutions for water visible outside toilet:

Water visible to rear of toilet is most likely coming from the bottom of the fill valve, the water supply line or the seals between the tank and the bowl (in 2 piece toilets).

  1. Water dripping from bottom of the tank: Observe and ensure the fill valve locknut, located under the tank, is tight against the ceramic tank. If necessary, remove fill valve and clean bottom of tank (both inside and outside) ensuring shank washer is placed on the fill valve first before inserting valve through hole in ceramic (it is designed to seal the tank from the inside the tank). Reinstall existing valve or replace with new one. Hand tighten the fill valve lock nut.
  2. Observe water supply line for visible leaks. It is always a good idea to replace the water supply line if it’s older than 5 years.
  3. Leaks coming from under the tank onto the toilet bowl or down back of toilet base usually indicate failed tank to bowl seals, either at the bolts or on the center drain. The tank to bowl gasket and toilet bolts with washers should be replaced.

Here is a short video on how to fix ghost flushing: