Toilets naturally make a racket when they flush and refill with water, but they should be relatively silent the rest of the time. If your toilet is spouting off even when you’re not actively using it, you probably have a problem on your hands.

At Steve’s Plumbing & Heating, we know plumbing issues are often tough to recognize and even more difficult to diagnose. It’s far easier to write off strange toilet sounds as nothing more than slightly annoying commode quirks. But here’s the problem: If you do your best to ignore those noises, the underlying issue that’s causing them will only get worse.

Below, we’re sharing five weird toilet noises you should never ignore and what they typically mean. If you ever hear any of these sounds, give us a call, and we’ll send a plumber out to take a look.

Phantom Flushing

If your toilet sounds like it’s flushing itself randomly, you could have a few different issues going on. Some of the most common culprits behind phantom flushing are:

●        Tank leaks

●        Improper refill tube positioning

●        Bad flush valve drain

●        Bad flapper

●        Flapper chain that’s too short

If you’re not comfortable diagnosing this issue, have a plumber come out and take a look at your commode. It’s always best to get a professional opinion just to make sure there’s not a serious underlying problem causing the phantom flush.

Constant Running

Your toilet should only run for a short time after you flush it so the tank can refill with water. If you frequently hear your toilet running for several minutes after a flush, that’s a sign you have one of the following three issues going on:

●        The tank valve is allowing water to flow into the bowl.

●        The float in the tank is set too high, which causes water to spill into the overflow tube.

●        The chain attached to the flapper is too short or tight, so it won’t allow the valve to shut completely.

If you’re not keen on working on your toilet, a plumber can diagnose and fix any of these issues in a snap. If you want to try your hand at handling the job yourself, try adjusting the flapper chain to see if that helps. Check the height of the float and adjust it to the same level as the overflow tube. Last but not least, feel around the flapper valve to make sure it has a tight seal. If none of these things work, you probably need new parts. Or a new toilet.

Bubbling or Gurgling

There are several possible culprits behind a bubbling or gurgling toilet, which often makes it difficult to get to the bottom of this particular weird noise.

Drain blockages are probably the most common culprit behind gurgly, bubbly toilets, and those blockages can be located in the toilet drain itself, the vent stack, or the sewer drain. If your toilet isn’t the only drain gurgling in your house, there’s a good chance you have a sewer line blockage on your hands, which is a serious issue.

Since several problems can cause a gurgly toilet, it’s best to have a plumber diagnose this sound. If you indeed have a sewer line blockage, prompt attention is critical to avoid a nasty backup inside your home. 

Banging or Clanking

If you ever hear a clanking or banging noise immediately after your toilet refills, that’s called a water hammer. The sound can occur when one or more of the following plumbing issues are present:

●        There’s air in your pipes

●        Your water pressure is too high

●        Water flowing through the pipes stops suddenly and hits the valve forcefully

You can try to fix the issue by lowering your water pressure using the valve located on your main supply line. If that doesn’t work or you just don’t want to mess with something you’re unfamiliar with, call a plumber. You may need a pressure regulator to prevent the sound from occurring.


Does it sound like there’s a snake living in your toilet? First off, that’s not impossible. There have actually been accounts of people opening their toilet lid to find a snake curled up inside the bowl! Crazy, right? So before you do anything else, open your toilet and make sure there’s not a snake in sight. No snake? Here’s what might be causing that hissing sound:

●        A deteriorated flap valve

●        A maladjusted ball-cock

●        An improperly adjusted fill valve

●        A faulty flush-valve assembly

It’s pretty tough to diagnose the issue if you don’t have background knowledge about the flush valve assembly, so it’s in your best interest to call a plumber for an inspection. Fixing a hissing noise is a quick job for a licensed plumbing professional and addressing the issue promptly is the best way to prevent further deterioration over time.

Need a Plumber in Wisconsin Rapids?

If your toilet is acting up, our team at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating is here to help. We can diagnose plumbing problems in a jiffy and get your commode back up and running properly in no time at all. We offer 24/7 emergency service and serve Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Wausau, Marshfield, and the surrounding areas.

To get started, feel free to give us a call at 715-421-1800 or request an estimate online, and we’ll be in touch!