Ghost Flushing | What it is and How to Prevent Ghost Flushing

Everyone has a toilet in the house, an essential element of every bathroom, but at the same time, not everyone is familiar with how a toilet works. This guide aims to allow the reader to understand how a toilet works and to know What Ghost Flushing is and how to prevent it.

Section after section, this guide will try to solve all the doubts you may have regarding the toilet, ghost flushing and also offer interesting insights. Come along!

What is Ghost Flushing?

After learned extensively about the toilet, it’s time to be intimated more about Ghost Flushing’s major toilet problem.

Suppose your toilet’s water fill valve suddenly opens after a period of inactivity. In that case, it can give the spooky impression of seeing a ghost flush in the toilet, especially when it happens late at night. This phenomenon is usually referred to as Ghost Flushing.

What is Ghost Flushing

How does a Toilet Work? 

The first thing to consider is how a toilet works. Understanding the toilet’s functioning is important because it allows you to know when there is something that interferes with its regular operation, such as Ghost Flushing. 

The toilet is usually composed of a collection vessel, placed side by side with what you can describe as a chair. The toilet’s purpose is to allow you to convey your excretions cleanly and hygienically, without the emanation of foul odors.

For the latter purpose, the toilet is equipped with a siphon with water inside. This system prevents terrible smells from spreading or at least reduces the air’s spread. 

When using the toilet, it needs to accumulate inside it and must be removed. To understand how a toilet works, you must also understand how the toilet flushes because this is what comes into action to allow the toilet to be cleaned. 

The flush consists of a water tank of variable dimensions, whose purpose is to collect the right amount of water from rinsing the cup after using it. Thanks to the flush, it is possible to avoid running water, again in terms of comfort and water saving.

Most modern toilet flushes have two buttons, which allow you to use different amounts of water. You must use the two buttons alternately, according to the type of need that has been collected inside the toilet. 

There are different types of toilets, one of which is the chemical toilet. This type of toilet is known above all because you can use it while traveling. Many wonder how to flush a toilet in the camper precisely because you can use the camper’s chemical toilet. 


Let’s start by saying that there are two chemical toilet components: the chair and the box to collect the material. The toilet’s critical difference with a drain pump is that the material is not conveyed directly to the sewer but accumulates inside the special box. The box for collecting the material is usually placed in position under the chair. This litter bin can be easily removed from the outside of the camper to be emptied and cleaned. 

To explain how to rinse a camper toilet, remember that there are unique places for emptying the chemical toilet cistern: you can only drain the material inside at the appropriate sites for respect for the environment and others. 

After emptying the box, clean it with running water. However, it is advisable to periodically carry out a more thorough cleaning, using products specifically designed to clean chemical toilets.

Read More: How Do You Remove Black Spots In Toilet Bowl

Sometimes, we hear about the toilet without sewage discharge. The expression black water is used to indicate water with a high bacterial load, which discharges from the toilet. 

We can then speak of greywater to indicate the water that drains from the other kitchen fixtures and the bathroom sink, which has an intermediate bacterial load. Finally, we can talk about white water, which comes out from a descending column and does not have a high bacterial load (the water used for showering, so to speak).

The toilet without black water discharge can create problems because the water that flows from it is not managed as black water but is introduced with greywater.

Some Disadvantages;

According to some, this would be a significant disadvantage of this type of toilet. An increasingly common type of toilet is the electric toilet with the shredder. It is a toilet flanked by a shredder whose purpose is precisely to shred and reduce the size of what is put in the bathroom.

Thanks to the macerator’s presence, the toilet can also be placed in areas of the house not equipped with large drain pipes, allowing you to move the toilet more easily from one room to another during renovations. 

One of the merits of this type of toilet is the advantage of avoiding unclogging the toilet. Simultaneously, there are also demerits, such as the use of electricity, noise during shredding, and the risk of a malfunction if the room is excessively heated.

Toilet sounds like it's flushing by itself

How to Prevent Ghost Flushing

The cause of phantom hot flashes is easy to understand, and prevention is a simple maintenance issue.

Water slowly drains from the tank, usually through a deteriorating valve, and lowers the float. Once the float gets to its maximum height, it opens the water. To avoid this, it would help if you considered the following:

Toilet randomly flushes

Food dye method

Before calling a cheap plumber, try this method. Perform an integrity check on the toilet flapper by putting some food coloring in the tank and avoiding flushing the toilet for about 30 minutes. Once the bowl’s water turns the same color as the dye, then the valve is leaking.


The primary possible cause of a ghost flush problem is your toilet flapper, a round rubber at the bottom of the tank that serves as a cover for the drain hole of the flush valve. When flushing the toilet, this component usually opens; after the toilet tank is filled with water, this component closes. However, the toilet flapper can only be used for about five years. A flapper that warps or deteriorates over time will not close properly, resulting in a weird sound of the toilet flushing itself.

Fortunately, there is a solution: remove the old flapper and install the new one. To do this:

  • Turn off the water supply and keep pressing the flush handle to empty the water tank.
  • Loosen the flapper plate from the chain connected to the flushing handle, and then unhook its two ears from the overflow pipe to remove the flapper plate.
  • Please take it to the hardware store so you can find a substitute for the same.

There are many types of flappers, and not everyone is suitable for your toilet.

Next, hook the new flapper’s ears to the overflow tube and connect the chain to the flush handle. Make sure you leave a good amount of slack for the flapper to sit correctly. Switch on the water, fill up the tank and flush a few times. When you are sure the valve is functioning correctly, repeat the dye test.

When the chain holding the flapper in place is too long, another problem related to the flapper occurs. With this, the flapper may be wrongly placed on the top of the drain pipe. When this happens, it can extend the chain that holds the flapper to the flush handle by a few more links. If the chain is short, it prevents the check valve from sitting in the siphon hole and can cause a slow leak that produces a ghost flush. Repeat the dye test after extending the chain. If the water tank becomes discolored again, replace the valve.

Flush valve gasket

Next on the toilet troubleshooting list is the flush valve gasket. This is a simple round piece used as a mechanical seal for the flush valve. When the gasket stops working correctly, it will cause water to leak out of the drain. Once again, you will face ghost flushing. Sometimes, both flush valve gaskets and tank to bowl gaskets will fail, causing water to leak from the tank to the floor. Water that appears in the toilet’s rear is also most likely from the bottom of the fill valve, the seals between the tank and the bowl (in 2-piece toilets), or the water supply line.

Read More: How To Tap Into Main Water Line


The float has the vital function of controlling the toilet water level. If the water supply is too small, you will not get enough flushing power. But if the level is too high-guess what? Your toilet will maintain the irritating flushing effect on its own. In this case, adjusting the floating-point is the key to successful fixing.

The filling pipe

Another part of the toilet you may need to pay attention to about ghost flushing is filling the pipe. This narrow hose (usually white or black) is located on the top of the toilet tank and connects to the inlet valve. The filling pipe may separate, or it may extend too deep into the overflow pipe. Either situation may cause your toilet to flush on its own until you put the filling tube in the proper position.

Ghost Flushing: FAQs

How do you stop ghost flushing?

You can stop ghost Flushing by correcting problems associated with the following toilet components:

  • Flapper
  • Flush valve gasket
  • Float
  • Filling pipe

What is a phantom flush?

A phantom flush, also known as a ghost flush, is a situation in which the toilet tends to flush itself, especially at night.

What does ghost flushing sound like?

Ghost flushing usually sounds like a proper flush


In conclusion, the toilet is an essential component of every home. The American Water Works Association has established that toilets make up nearly 30% of all water usage within the home. If yours has problems such as a ghost flush, the troubleshooting guide above would be indispensable.

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