What is Ghost Flushing and What Can You Do About It?

If you are hearing your toilet flushing every few minutes or hours, but you’re nowhere near the bathroom and no one else is home, you could be witnessing something known as ghost flushing. It’s not as super natural as it sounds, but it can indicate a slow leak in the toilet bowl or tank.

This leak drops the water level below a certain point, which then causes the float to signal refilling of the tank. This results in that flushing sound. You don’t need to call Ghost Busters, but you do need to call a plumber in Austin TX.

Internal Leaks

If you don’t spot water pooling on the floor, you have an internal leak. Your rubber flapper could be to blame and may need replacing.


To find out, try a simple food dye test. Add a few drops of food dye into the tank and let it sit for a half hour. If you see that same color in the toilet bowl water, the flapper is the culprit.

If you see damage or debris on the flapper, you can try cleaning it off as well as the flush valve to see if that does the trick. You can also check that the chain to the flapper has been adjusted properly so the flapper fits tightly over the drain opening.

If none of those things work, you will have to have the flapper replaced.

Check the Refill Tube

If you see that the refill tube has been inserted too far inside the overflow pipe, pull it out and re-attach it to the outside overflow pipe. This will prevent the tube from getting into the overflow pipe and may halt the internal leak.


If these things don’t work, the flush valve will have to be replaced.

External Leaks

If you see water pooling around your toilet, you have an external leak.


First, mop up the water and dry off the toilet so you can better look for the leak’s source. It could be originating from under the toilet or even around the base. If it’s not coming from under the toilet, it could be coming from a:

  • Loose supply tube
  • Cracked tank
  • Defective shutoff valve
  • Sweaty bowl

Make sure the bolts securing your toilet to the floor are tightened. If that doesn’t fix things, you’ll have to replace the wax gasket. If the leak is coming from under the tank, you may have to replace the tank-to-bowl sponge gasket.

It’s always best to call an Austin plumber skilled in toilet repair to inspect and troubleshoot the ghost flushing issue and provide a solution. Ghost flushing isn’t just an annoyance for you as a homeowner – it also increases your water bill too.

Contact L&P Plumbing

If you’re experiencing ghost flushing and can’t pinpoint the cause, just call us. We would be happy to schedule a convenient appointment for you.