01 Nov

Spooky Plumbing Leak Facts – Stop the Phantom flush!

Toilet Cutaway


Running toilets, sometimes referred to as a toilet with a  “phantom flush”, are often simple to repair. As shown above, there is a flapper that sits on the flush valve. This flapper, when activated or flushed, allows the water in the tank to displace the water in the bowl, thus “flushing the toilet”.   

Eventually these flappers will wear out, become warped, etc., causing water to leak in to the bowl. Once the water level gets down to a certain level, the fill valve does what it’s supposed to do – refill the tank. The sound of a running toilet, or refilling the tank, is what is sometimes referred to a a phantom flush.   

If the flapper is the culprit, you can remove it and take it to your local plumbing supply house where they can sell you a new one. There are other situations that can cause a toilet to run, but by far this is the most common one.

Water leaks can cost you untold dollars. Consider the following information from the Environmental Protection Agency…

The Facts on Leaks:

  • The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
  • Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking shower heads. All are easily correctable.
  • Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on their water bills. 
  • Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and shower heads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don’t require a major investment.
  • Most common leaks can be eliminated after retrofitting a household with new WaterSense labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances.



  • If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty toilet flapper. Over time, this inexpensive rubber part decays, or minerals build up on it. It’s usually best to replace the whole rubber flapper-a relatively easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that pays for itself in no time.
  • If you do need to replace the entire toilet, look for a WaterSense labeled model. If the average family replaces its older, inefficient toilets with new WaterSense labeled ones, it could save 13,000 gallons per year. Retrofitting the house could save the family nearly $2,400 in water and wastewater bills over the lifetime of the toilets.


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Casey's Plumbing Vector