There’s only one set of sounds a toilet is supposed to make: The familiar rush of water through the bowl when the toilet is flushed and then the subsequent refilling of the tank. But every homeowner knows that occasionally a toilet goes rogue. Understanding the odd sounds it makes will help you identify the problem and settle on a fix.
My Toilet Is Constantly Running
You may hear water running constantly or cycling on and off, but that sibilant or hissing whine is usually a symptom of a failing flapper. The flapper is a plastic disk that covers the drain at the bottom of the toilet tank. When you flush, you’re raising it so that water can rush out of the tank and into the bowl. An imperfect seal means water is slowly draining out, triggering the mechanism for a similarly slow refill.
Try fiddling with the chain length and the float level first, but if that doesn’t fix the problem, consider replacing the flapper.
My Toilet Flushes When No One Is Using It
Known as a “phantom” flush, this generally occurs when the tank flapper is so deteriorated or warped that it allows for a “catastrophic” leak, essentially flushing the toilet. As above, try adjusting the chain and the float valve and eyeball the condition of the flapper. If none of these adjustments fixes the problem, call a plumber to search for leaks elsewhere.
My Toilet Is Gurgling
A toilet that bubbles and gurgles is a toilet announcing a clog in your plumbing system, either in the drain line or vent pipe.
A vent pipe shoots up to the roof. It allows the release of any noxious gases that might accumulate so they don’t form air bubbles that back up into your home and retard water flow. Fixing the problem involves climbing to the roof to remove leaf debris or birds’ nests, so you may want to call a professional.
A clog in your sewer pipe, however, requires immediate attention. You’ll need to clear the sewer lines before the stoppage becomes complete and your toilet turns into a sewage fountain.
My Toilet Makes A Banging Sound After Flushing
Better known as a “water hammer,” the banging sound you hear is a water valve suddenly being closed against a high-pressure rush of water. Though the sound may be alarming, it’s causing no immediate problem. Over time, however, the high-pressure slamming can wear on pipe valves, joints, and fittings.
Consider draining your plumbing system to allow air to refill the air chambers in your water line which serve as cushions for this problem. If this doesn’t stop the banging, call your trusted plumber for a full analysis.