Everyone knows the feeling of finally getting to sleep, then someone in the house gets up to use the toilet and it makes a sound like there’s a war in the pipes. Or maybe you’re the person who needs to use the bathroom during the night but is scared of waking up the whole house.
Why do toilet manufacturers make machines that have to announce to the whole house that you need to pee?
There are a few reasons why your toilet is so loud.
Usually, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong with your water flow, water hammer, or pipes. A few quick fixes can make the toilet flush quieter. However, your toilet will always make some noise because it needs to use force to whisk away waste.
You don’t have to live with a noisy toilet forever.
Here are some tips to help you diagnose the problem and learn how to quiet down a toilet.
Why Do Toilets Make Noise?
Some noise is normal when you flush a toilet.
Most residential home plumbing systems use a gravity flush toilet system, which uses the force of gravity to expel waste from the toilet bowl.
When you press the flushing lever, a chain in the tank lifts the flapper valve to force large amounts of water from the tank into the bowl, rinsing away the waste. The rising water creates a suction-like effect that uses pressure to evacuate the bowl. When that much water goes through a concentrated area, such as a pipe, some noise is normal. Your toilet will never be completely silent.
However, if you notice that your toilet is making strange noises, such as whistling, banging, or thumping (Link) even after you’re done using it, that’s a sign that something is wrong with your plumbing.
Here are some common noises that toilets make and the problems that they indicate.
- Vibration or groaning: a problem with the fill valve.
- Knocking: problems with the water hammer.
- Rushing Water: problems filling the tank.
- Gurgling: problems with the vibration system.
You can fix most plumbing problems that cause excessive noise at home. However, if you’re not experienced with minor repairs or the noise persists, call a professional plumber.
You don’t want to accidentally break your whole toilet system because you tried some DIY repairs!
How To Repair A Noisy Toilet
Sometimes, a noisy toilet isn’t just an annoyance that keeps everybody up at night. It could be a sign that there is something wrong with your plumbing system.
Fixing the issue will not only help everyone sleep at night, but it will also prevent lasting damage to your toilet.
Here is how to quiet down a toilet by diagnosing the problem and following a few simple DIY tricks:
Fixing The Tank
If you hear a humming, vibrating, or trickling noise, the culprit is probably your tank.
Toilet tanks are some of the most complicated parts of the toilet, which means that there are many moving parts that could stop working properly and cause noise.
The first step is to clean your tank, particularly if you have hard water. (Link)
Calcium build-up or rust blocks pipes and constricts the flow of water, leading to more noise. Buying Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover and pouring it into your tank once a month (more often if you have hard water) will clear out the buildup and hopefully lead to a quieter toilet.
Another common culprit of noise in the toilet tank is your fill valve, the little diaphragm that cuts off water supply once your tank is full.
These parts get stiff over time, causing a groaning or vibrating noise when the water rushes past it. Replacing the fill valve is an easy enough job that you can do at home. (Link)
If you hear rushing water even after flushing, that means that the tank is filling continuously. There are a few problems with the tank that could lead to this situation. You could have a leak, a tight chain, or a too-high float.
Check your tank for any leaks, untangle or adjust the chain, and lower the float if necessary. These simple fixes should stop water from rushing into your tank at all hours.
Fixing Water Hammer
Another common problem leading to noisy toilets is water hammer. (Link)
Water hammer happens when a liquid going through a system of pipes at high pressure (such as a plumbing system) is forced to abruptly stop or change direction. This causes a loud knocking noise.
Usually, water hammer means that there is a problem with a valve somewhere in your water system. You shouldn’t go looking for the culprit yourself but call in a professional plumber.
You can minimize the noise from water hammer on your own by securing the water pipe to the framing with tube strapping, which prevents the pipe from rattling around and making noise.
Fixing The Pipes
If you hear lots of noise in your pipes when you flush, tightening everything will reduce the noise.
Use a screwdriver to tighten any clamps and valves you can access to prevent the pipes from rattling around and making noise.
If you hear loud gurgling noises when you flush, that’s a sign that something’s blocking the vibration system or pipes. A quick plunge, even if the toilet is still flushing normally, can help reduce noise and clear out any blockages.
How Do You Make A Toilet Quieter?
Sometimes, a noisy toilet is not a sign that something is wrong with your plumbing system—it’s just noisy.
There are a few ways that you can still quiet it down.
Replacing a few parts can make the overall toilet quieter. For example, you can get a special quiet fill valve, which sits below the water level, so you don’t hear the tank as it refills. This is a great solution if you have problems with trickling noises as the tank fills up.
Another solution is to adjust the water flow. Tweak the inlet valve so that the flow of water to the tank slows down, stopping the loud rushing noises that echo long after you flush.
You can also reduce the water level in your tank by putting a brick in the cistern. A lower water level means that there will be less water rushing into the tank when you flush.
You can try soundproofing your toilet and tank to prevent noise from echoing through the house. Putting adhesive foam tape on the edge of the tank lid reduces the noise by a lot. Most tank lids don’t fit properly, leading to noise escaping.
Surprisingly, the toilet seat covers beloved by grandmothers everywhere actually go a long way toward soundproofing a toilet.
Buying A Quieter Toilet
If all else fails and nothing you do is helping minimize the noise in your bathroom, buy a quieter toilet.
Most newer toilets are much quieter and more efficient in their water usage, so you will save the environment and your sanity just by investing in a new bathroom fixture that isn’t that expensive.
Most newer toilets are automatically quieter, but if you really want a silent bathroom experience, there are a few features to look out for.
Make sure that the toilet uses a gravity or dual-flush system instead of a pressure flush system, which is louder. Dual-flush and high-efficiency toilets that use less water are also quieter because there is less rushing as the tank refills.
Some manufacturers make quiet flush systems. However, double-check reviews before paying extra for toilets that claim to be silent because not all of these systems work as promised. The one we recommend is the Swiss Madison St Tropez (Affiliate Link)
Here are some extra information if you were wondering about the noise behind toilet use.
Why Are Toilets So Loud at Night?
It seems as if toilets are particularly loud at night when you really want to stay quiet to avoid waking up everyone in the house.
Most of it is just in the effect: the rest of the house is quieter at night, so you are more likely to hear toilet noise, including the way that the porcelain bowl amplifies the rush of water.
Your toilet is not out to get you by being loud specifically at night.
What Is Ghost Flushing?
One phenomenon that contributes to noisy toilets is ghost flushing.
Ghost flushing is when a toilet flushes by itself, even when nobody is using it. The explanation isn’t paranormal, but mechanical.
If you have a leak in your tank, eventually the water level in the bowl will rise high enough to trigger a flush. To stop this problem, check your tank for any leaks.
Some noise is inevitable when you use the toilet because any amount of water going through the pipes at high speed will make a sound.
However, if your toilet is excessively loud or making strange noises such as whistling, knocking, or vibrating, it could be a sign that something is wrong with your plumbing.
DIY repairs, soundproofing your toilet tank, and even replacing your toilet for a newer, quieter model can help you sleep better at night.