Your toilet may be leaking 200 gallons every day, Pippin Brothers, Lawton, OK
February 21, 2013

Have you ever thought you heard your toilet flush on its own? Did you ignore it, thinking you were imagining things or that it wasn't important?

Well, a "phantom flush" is a common toilet problem and it could be wasting up to 200 gallons of water per day!

So we're going to show you what a phantom flush is, how to tell if your toilet is leaking and what causes this wasteful toilet problem.

What is a phantom toilet flush?

Don't worry, no real phantoms are involved.

A phantom flush is a fancy phrase for a leaking toilet tank. It occurs when water leaks out of the tank of your toilet (the back part), causing it to automatically refill with water.

This is where you hear the familiar sound of your toilet "flushing." Since no one initiated the flush by using the toilet, plumbers have taken to calling it a "phantom flush."

The simple, "is my toilet leaking?" test

Perhaps you've read this far and thought, "I've never heard my toilet flush on its own, I must be okay."

If only that were true.

Your flapper could need replacing and your toilet could be leaking hundreds of gallons without you even knowing it.

Luckily, there is a simple test:

  1. Place a couple of drops of food coloring in the tank of your toilet (again, the top part, not the bowl.)
  2. Leave toilet alone for awhile (15 minutes should do it.)
  3. Check the toilet bowl. If there is food coloring in your toilet bowl, you have a leak!

What causes this toilet leakage and water wastage?

The leaking in your toilet tank is most often caused by an old, worn toilet flapper.

No, not that kind of flapper.

The flapper in your toilet is a rubber part toward the top of your toilet tank. When you push the lever to flush your toilet, the flapper is moved to allow water to flow from your tank to the toilet bowl.

Over time, this rubber piece deteriorates and allows water to flow from the tank to the bowl even when no one has flushed.

If this is the cause of your phantom toilet flush, replacing the inexpensive flapper will do the trick.

What if that doesn't solve the problem?
Of course, there could also be other problems causing your toilet leak, but the flapper is the best place to start.

If you need further help with your toilet leak (or any other plumbing problem), give Pippin Brothers a call.

Pippin Brothers is the Lawton area's best plumbing company. This blog is developed to help you with your home plumbing, heating and cooling. If you have a question we haven't yet answered, you can ask our expert.