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Flushing out a noisy problem

By Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton
Peter Hotton has been the handyman expert for the Boston Globe for more than 30 years.

Q. My toilet sometimes sounds as if it is flushing, but isn’t, and makes a real bang when everything seems done. Anything wrong? The plumber couldn’t figure it out.

A. It’s mighty weird that the toilet sounds like it’s flushing but isn’t. But let me guess. A phantom flush occurs when the toilet leaks a little into the bowl, due to the flapper over the outlet being slightly off center, then the full flush occurs, startling the homeowner at night and annoying him in the daytime. Adjusting the flapper can fix that. But not with your toilet, which may hum a bit but not flush. That big bang you heard is the shutting off the flow by the ball cock, which rises as the water rises in the tank and slowly shuts off, even with that real hard bang. I think the toilet needs a new ball cock.

photton@globe.com
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