Toilet Making Noise When Not in Use

Sometimes homeowners notice their toilet making a weird whooshing or whistling sound after flushing. Other times, it may keep running despite the tank being full or generate “phantom flushes” in the middle of the night. These situations are both frustrating and can be costly on the water bill.

Toilet Making Noise When Not in Use

Noisy toilets occur for the following reasons: calcium deposits building up in the pipes, leaky toilet valves, or fill valves not functioning properly. Cleaning the pipes or replacing a part is usually the solution to a noisy toilet. However, there are other reasons as to why the toilet may be making strange noises.

Vibrating Toilet

If the toilet vibrates against the wall when flushed, the issue may be stemming from the fill valve. The diaphragm gasket found in the fill valve wears down over time, loses its elasticity, and hardens.

Whistling Sound

A slowly leaking valve usually causes whistling sounds. By adjusting the fill valve until whistling stops may solve the issue. However, if the whistling continues, it may need to be replaced or fixed.

To Check the Fill Valve

Here are the steps to take to see if the issue is a problem with the fill valve.

  • Lift the toilet tank lid
  • Raise the float arm
  • If the sound ceases, the float is attached to the fill arm
  • Should the float be malfunctioning or not attached, there will still be noise.
  • The fill valve can be adjusted until the noise ceases. However, if it doesn’t, replace it.

Toilet Always Running!

Toilets that continually run may indicate a problem with the fill valve not turning off. To fix this, adjust the float arm to a lower water fill level. Remove the tank lid and find the float. There are two types of floats: a cylinder float attached to a fill valve body and a floating ball attached to the base.

  • Fixing it If the Float is Cylinder

  • Remove the toilet lid and find the float ball
  • Examine the attachment located at the base of the rod
  • Find the adjustable clip on the side.
  • Squeeze the clip to lower the float, and the water should cease running
  • Flush the toilet and if it still makes sounds, replace the fill valve

Fixing a Float Ball

  • Turn the screw counterclockwise on the top of the fill valve
  • Keep turning until the water ceases running.
  • Once you’ve adjusted the float, flush the toilet once more
  • Should the fill valve be damaged or broken, the adjustment won’t work. Then, you will need to replace the part.

Whooshing Toilet

If the toilet makes a whooshing sound while filling up yet ceases when the tank is full, there is a calcium buildup in existence. You may need to clean the pipes using a calcium and mineral deposit cleaner.

Water Hammer

Also called water knock, water hammer is a common issue and can happen in other plumbing areas as well. The noise is described as a water hammer because water does not compress. When the water flow inside a pipe suddenly stops after running rapidly, the momentum causes a slamming forward motion. It then bangs against the sides of the pipe and/or inside the fittings, causing the hammer sound to occur. The pipes may also vibrate and chatter.

If this occurs, try to reduce the flow to the toilet by adjusting the shut-off valve. If the problem isn’t fixed, install a regulated fill valve. It will reduce the pressure of the water filling up in the tank.

Phantom Flushing

Toilets tend to phantom flush in the middle of the night, waking homeowners up from a deep sleep. The toilet appears to flush with no one present.

The cause of this is the toilet tank water is gradually seeping out, usually due to a faulty flapper. If the float is below an established level, the water comes on, and the toilet flushes unassisted.

To see if the flapper is the cause, place food dye in the toilet tank. Wait 30 minutes, then see if any of the food coloring has gone into the bowl. If so, you may need to replace the toilet flapper.

Hissing Toilet

This issue is the result of an old flapper that has deteriorated. Water going into the overflow tube can also cause it. When the toilet fills, the toilet ballcock/fill valve prevents it from running. If they are not at the proper level, the water fills into the overflow valve.

Make sure the toilet ballcock/fill valve is below the overflow valve to rectify the problem. You may have to adjust it.

Fixing the Flapper

Toilet flapper adjustment

Fixing the flapper is an easy solution and can be done by yourself.

  • Turn off the water using the shut-off valve.
  • Drain the tank by flushing the toilet.
  • Remove the damaged flapper by disconnecting it from the flapper chain and the flush handle lever.
  • Get the new flapper ready by removing the ring on the backside of the new flapper (if there are side pegs). If there aren’t side pegs, use the provided ring to slide the new flapper in place over the overflow tube.
  • Place the flapper into the correct position and hook both ears on the pigs located on the side of the flush valve.
  • Connect the flapper chain to the handle lever.
  • Adjust the length of the chain if necessary.
  • Ensure the chain has a bit of slack.
  • Turn the water on.
  • Test the flapper by flushing a few times and watch it go up and down.

Gurgling Toilet

The cause of gurgling noises isn’t always easy to determine. It may happen due to a blocked sewer drain, blocked toilet, or blocked vent stack. If this happens, don’t use the toilet, and call a plumber.

In most cases, noisy toilets happen from everyday wear and tear of the parts located within the toilet. You can fix most issues by adjusting them. If the adjustments don’t work, then the entire piece may need to be replaced.

Fixing them isn’t complicated but requires a bit of time and potentially money.

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