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Ghost Flush: How to Stop Toilet From Flushing by Itself

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright, listening in in Nebraska on KFOR is Marilyn who’s got a ghost flushing the toilet. When do you hear it? How often?

    MARILYN: Well, it is really a kind of – it just does it every now and then. We’ll be sitting in the dining room maybe eating dinner, and all of a sudden I’ll look at my husband and he looks at me and we’re – flushing. It’s in – we can hear it (chuckling) flushing. And no one is there.

    LESLIE: (chuckling) So you think.

    MARILYN: And you always have so many wonderful tips and ideas on your program. I love listening to you because you always have the best ideas.

    TOM: Oh, thank you.

    MARILYN: So I thought you could help me.

    TOM: Well, I think we can, Marilyn. This is a very common question. There is not a ghost in your house.

    MARILYN: Oh.

    TOM: It’s not infested with ghosts (chuckling), so nothing to worry about there. What you have is simply a leaking flush valve.

    MARILYN: Oh.

    TOM: And this is the flapper in the bottom of the tank. And what happens is it’s sort of a rubbery material that dries out over time and the seal breaks down. And so a little bit of water leaks out of this flush valve. And as the water leaks out, eventually the toilet fill valve wants to come on and fill it back up. So it sounds like a flush and basically what’s happening is the fill valve is just refilling the toilet tank. So what you need to do is to replace the flush valve. It’s a very easy plumbing project; one that we recommend that you can do yourself. You can go out and buy a replacement fill and flush valve at your local hardware store or home center. It’ll cost you all of about $10 or $15 for the parts and you follow the instructions and it’s real easy to do.

    MARILYN: Well, thank you so very much. I really appreciate it. We’ve got kind of an older house and there’s something going on all the time. (chuckling)

    LESLIE: (overlapping voices) (chuckling) But that’s the charm of it.

    MARILYN: And I thank you so much for taking time to help us out.

    TOM: You’re very welcome.

    MARILYN: And I’m thrilled that we don’t have a ghost (chuckling) because I was getting kind of worried. (chuckling)

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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