My toilet making noise when not in use? Here’s What to Do

HTMLFont size

Note: Any/all of the links on this post contains affiliate links. If you buy something using a link on this page as an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases (at no extra cost to you). Learn more

Maybe you're wondering why your toilet keeps on making noise even after flushing and filling up the tank again.

Such situations can be frustrating when you're accommodating guests, or you're trying to sleep in the next room.

There are several reasons why your toilet keeps making noise even when not in use. The three most common are faulty fill valves, leaky toilet valves, and calcium deposits in the pipes. If these problems continue, you may end up wasting water and skyrocketing your bills. Usually, replacing a component or cleaning the pipes can help prevent such a dilemma.  

If you hear whistling, wailing, or even banging noises after you've finished using the toilet, there are ways for you to locate the source.

What to do exactly, depends on the source of the malfunction. Keep reading to learn more about the various possible problems that could cause your toilet makes loud noise randomly and what you need to know about fixing them.

Reasons Why A Toilet Makes Noise Even When Not In Use

Before you can cut the noise, you must first identify if you're dealing with the following issues.

1: Calcium Deposits

If you're unsure about calcium deposits, inspect the area outside of the pipes and toilet fittings. You should see white deposits there, as well as inside the components.

Calcium that builds up on the inside can clog the pipes, and subsequently, cause strange sounds.

If you hear whooshing noises when the toilet is filling up, this is usually a sign of calcium buildup.

2: Ghost Flushing

You're lying in bed around midnight, trying to drift off to sleep when you suddenly hear the toilet flushing even when you're the only person in the house.

This is what we commonly know as ghost flushing, which means the toilet is making the flushing cycling every now and then.

It's not that the toilet is actually making the flushing lever work on its own, it's more about the water leaking out of the toilet tank over a certain period.

If the water level is low enough, the float activates the fill valve and the tank refills.

In effect, the toilet produces the sounds of short, mysterious flushing. Whenever you hear this, it may mean that a deteriorated flapper is enabling the water in the tank to leak into the bowl.

3: Leaky Toilet Valve

A leaky toilet valve is another reason why toilets make noise when not in use.

This involves the toilet continuously filling up the tank when it's losing water elsewhere.

Hence, the toilet continues to emit sounds while leaking water.

You can determine this after checking the shut-off valve. Look for any sort of moisture or leaking.

Similarly, inspect if there are signs of corrosion, rust, and calcium deposits.

If you hear constant vibration sounds even when the toilet is not in use, the diaphragm gasket inside the fill valve may be hardening, wearing down and losing elasticity at the same time.

When this happens, the valve lets water leak through, emitting vibrating noises in the process.

4: Faulty Fill Valve

If there are no calcium buildups or leaky valves, it's possible that the fill valve is not working properly.

This means you'll possibly hear hissing sounds because the valve is not adjusted to the appropriate level. Thus, water begins filling into the overflow valve.

5: Water Resonance

There are times when you'll hear a loud banging in the pipes. In other cases, there will be constant thumping when the toilet is flushing, and the flush cycle is running water.

These are all possible due to a worn water hammer or damaged faucet washers.

Additionally, mineral buildup and rust inside the shut-off valves may also be the culprits.

6: Worn or Faulty Flapper

Another reason why toilets make noise when not in use is due to a malfunctioning flapper.

If the flapper is not working, it may cause the toilet to run and waste gallons of water.

What To Do When The Your Toilet Is Making Noise When Not in Use

If you are unable to fix your toilet from making noise? No problem. Don’t panic. We’ve got your back. Here’s what to do.

1: Understand the Parts of the Toilet

Before you unscrew or dismantle anything in the toilet system, you must know the vital components you're dealing with.

Let's begin by familiarizing yourself with the basic internal parts of a toilet, so you'll know which ones you need to work on for repair or cleaning.

  • Flapper: This is linked to the toilet handle. Whenever you flush the toilet, you're lifting the flapper to release the water in the tank.
  • Float: This one responds to the tank's water level. When the tank fills water back, the float lifts high enough to switch off the water coming from the fill valve.
  • Fill Valve: Responsible for letting water into the tank.
  • Lever: The handle you're pushing down to flush the toilet.

2: Assess the Water Flow Pressure

If the pressure is too low or too high, it can make noise in the water flow valve. To assess the water pressure, pull off the refill hose where it links to the fill valve.

The toilet has high water pressure if there is a strong stream of water coming out.

If this is the problem, try turning the water valve at the base of the toilet partly down.

Then, reconnect the hose and flush again. By lowering the pressure, you can cut down the noise.

On the other hand, you need to increase water pressure if it is very low.

3: Remove Calcium Buildup Using Steam or Cleaners

While it's possible that you won't see calcium buildup on the outside, this doesn't mean there isn't any on the inside.

Therefore, you must still check it by turning off the water, unscrewing a part of the pipe, and looking inside.

To remove calcium deposits, there are two options:

  • High-Powered Steam Cleaner: A high-powered steamer helps loosen calcium buildup. Likewise, the steam aids in softening up mineral deposits to enable them to break off faster.  
  • Cleaners: The most common and effective toilet cleaners include glycine, barium nitrite, and phosphoric acid since these chemicals break down calcium deposits. If you want something more natural, you can also use white vinegar, but the process will be slower.

Regardless of whether you'll use chemicals or natural cleaners, make sure to protect yourself from the smell and fume risks.

First of all, ensure that the bathroom is well-ventilated. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves. Also, put on clothes that cover your skin, especially the arms.

Pour five gallons of water in the bowl before adding cleaning chemicals. Use a toilet brush with a long handle to spread the solution around the stain.

Repeat this for at least 30 minutes until you remove the residue. Before you leave the bathroom, close the lid, and let the cleaning solution soak the bowl.

4: Assess the Water Flow Pressure

If the pressure is too low or too high, it can make noise in the water flow valve. To assess the water pressure, pull off the refill hose where it links to the fill valve. 

The toilet has high water pressure if there is a strong stream of water coming out. If this is the problem, try turning the water valve at the base of the toilet partly down.

Then, reconnect the hose and flush again. By lowering the pressure, you can cut down the noise.

On the other hand, you need to increase water pressure if it is very low.

5: Check Refill Tubes to Stop Ghost Flushing

After learning that ghost flushing may mean that the toilet is wasting water, you need to determine whether you need an internal or external fix.

Internal Water Loss

  1. Check the refill tube. Remove the refill tube if it is inserted or shoved into the overflow pipe. Then, reattach the tube by clipping it to the overflow pipe. In this way, you can prevent the tube from entering the overflow pipe and stopping the leaking.
  2. Clean the tank's bottom and flapper area before replacing the flapper.
  3. If the second step isn't working, replace the flush valve drain.

External Water Loss

  1. Remove leaks coming from the fill valve's bottom, as well as the supply line, by replacing the components.
  2. Remove the fill valve and clean the bottom of the tank both inside and outside.
  3. Make sure to place the shank washer on the fill valve and install the valve.
  4. Hand tighten the fill valve lock nut. Replace the water supply line if the line is older than five years. 
  5. If the leaks are coming from under the tank onto the toilet bowl, this means you need to replace the failed bolt seals.

6: Replace the Fill Valve

First, you need to remove the toilet tank lid. Next, lift the floating arm. If the noise stops, then it's safe to replace the fill valve.

To do this, use a standard pair of pliers to tighten up the packing nut on the shut-off valve.

Then, turn the packing nut clockwise yet slowly to avoid damaging the water lines.

7: Fix Faulty Fill Valve

Fix Faulty Fill Valve

To stop your toilet from making noise when not in use, ensure that the valve isn't preventing the tank from filling up all the way.

First, remove the lid of the tank and turn off the shutoff valve by twisting the valve clockwise.

Afterward, drain as much water out of the tank as possible. You can do this by simply flushing the toilet. Hold the handle a little longer than usual.

The next step is to find the water supply tube and use a pair of pliers to detach it from the fill valve.

After the disconnection process, locate the lock nut on the underside of the toilet, which holds the fill valve in place.

After unscrewing the nut, pull the old fill valve out and put a new one.

Screw the nut back in and reconnect the water supply tube before turning the water back on.

8: Use a Regulated Valve

Water resonance implies that there's an obstruction in the water flow. If there's a problem with the shut-off valve at the wall, use a regulated fill valve to slow down the incoming water.

Reduce the speed by the incoming water to stop the resonance noise from happening.

If this doesn't work, it's advisable to replace the shut-off valve at the wall.

9: Install a New Flapper

If the toilet has a malfunctioning flapper, take the toilet lid off, find the flush handle, and detach the flapper from the system by pulling its ears off the flush valve tube's knobs.

Most rubber flappers slip off while the plastic ones snap off. To connect a new flapper, configure the ears to the most appropriate position for the toilet's design, then attach it to the flush valve. 

After this, install a new chain to the flush handle. This means you need to size up the chain to make sure it's the right length for it to function correctly.

Put the lid back on the toilet and reconnect the water. When the tank fills back up, test it out to see if the toilet still makes noise when not in use. If the sounds persist, do the next thing…

10: Repair the Toilet's Handle

Repair The Toilet's Handle

If the toilet continues to make noise after replacing the flapper, it's possible that the toilet handle is broken or stuck, causing the toilet to run water continually.

In this case, you need to repair the handle. To do this, follow these simple steps:

  • Shut the water off and remove the toilet lid.
  • Drain the water in the tank.
  • Spray or apply lubricant to stuck handles.
  • If the handle is broken, locate the nut inside the tank that holds the handle firmly in place.
  • Use pliers to unscrew the handle.
  • Unclip the broken handle from the flapper and pull it outward.
  • Put the lid back on, turn the water on, and check for sounds.

11: Adjust the Float's Position

Open the tank and lift the float arm. If the toilet stops running after you lift the float, this means that you must readjust the float's position.

The process varies from toilet to toilet. In general, there should be an adjustment screw you can use on the top of the fill valve.

Meanwhile, there are cases wherein you must readjust the pole where the float is attached.

When Is Professional Help Necessary?

Sometimes it may feel too risky to try tinkering on the flushing system on your own, especially if you know that your handiness skills are a bit low. Hence, it's reasonable to call a plumber for help.

However, it's important to understand the situation first; that's why we've rounded up all the possible causes of the noise.

Then, you must know the various ways to solve the problem, so that you avoid paying too much for unnecessary work.

Although, by all means, plumbers have years of experience with noisy toilets, which means they can locate the source of the problem and act on it swiftly.

Clean and Maintain the Toilet To prevent The issue 

The easiest way to prevent noise problems is by regularly cleaning and maintaining a toilet.

Ensure that you clean the fitting and the surrounding pipes at least once a week.

In this way, you can check for fault or leaky valves, as well as prevent mineral deposits from clogging.


Toilets shouldn't be making noises once you're done using them. Although there are times when some components face wear and tear, causing the whole toilet system to make noise.

Remember that the first thing you should do is understand the issue with the toilet before you can perform the appropriate solution.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.