Chicago plumbers explain ghost flush

Chicago plumbers explain ghost flush

My toilets occasionally sound like they're flushing on their own. Is this an indication of a problem? - Marilyn Banks

Greg Hannah, owner of highly rated Greg Hannah's Plumbing in Berwyn, Ill., says it's a sign of a leaking tank, usually through a deteriorating flapper or a refill tube located too far down in the tank. "The tank is constantly trying to refill itself, which is why you hear the sound," he says. "You can waste an enormous amount of water that way, increasing your water bill by one-third."

Fortunately it's not a complicated fix. It only requires repairing the flapper or adjusting the refill tube. Hannah says the cost of this repair is likely to run between $65 and $150, although it can be more if you have an exotic or older toilet that requires the plumber to make a special trip for parts.

Mark Sperry, service manager with highly rated plumbers Fettes, Love & Sieben Inc. in Chicago, says you can test the problem by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the coloring leaks into the bowl, it's probably the flapper; if not, it's probably the refill tube. "You want there to be a little bit of an air gap between the tank fill level and the end of the hose," he says. "Whichever one it is, you'll want a licensed professional to fix it. You can get into a lot of trouble if you don't know what you're doing."

He agrees the fix isn't likely to take much time. "Nine times out of 10, we'll have the part for your toilet on the truck when we get there," he says.

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Sylvan Tieger

Subject: toilet flushing

The Fluidmaster 200A and 400A are designed to signal when the tank is losing water such as a defective flapper, tank bulb or disc depending on the type of Douglas valve that is installed in the tank

To tell if your losing water rather then use a dye it is much easier to either look down the over flow tube and look for trickling water Or close the water supply to the tank and check the tank a few hours later and see if the water level dropped

If you hired a plumber ask to see the master plumbers license from the person actually doing the repairs.
A decent master will explain why the 200A should be replaced with a 400A or any type of fill cvalve that has a vacuum breaker to protect the potable water supply

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