Phantom Flush while Water Pressure Tank Filling

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Calhoontuna

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We have two toilets in the house that are phantom flushing. One more than the other.

I was having trouble figuring out why the toilets were doing this. I had started out focusing on main offender on the first floor, and ran through all of typical fixes you see on the web.

One thing I notice is that not always but very frequently the phantom flush of either toilet occurs when our well pump is filling our WellxTroll pressure tank. The tank is set at 30/50psi.

This was leading me to wonder if the phantom flushing wasn't related to the toilets themselves but had something to do with the entire system.

When you get phantom flushing while the water pressure tank in the basement is filling is that indicative of anything?
 

Breplum

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Please describe what exactly is happening at the WCs.
phantom flush typically refers to a toilet tank refilling when the water escapes when idle, either from flapper leak or tank to bowl seepage.
A closed ballcock mechanism rarely can allow water in, nor out if properly set up with refill tube above the overflow tube.
 

Reach4

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I am suspecting that the symptom you are describing is the fill valve turning on to allow more water, and you hear that. I am assuming that there is not a flush that would remove solids. For troubleshooting, close the stop valve at the wall. See if the water level falls without you flushing.

Typically that falling would be fixed with a new flapper, but there are other possibilities.
 

WorthFlorida

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Do check the tank pressure is at 30/50. When a flush occurs the pressure could be dropping so fast below 30 PSi that the pump turns on. The flush issue is another problem and you're hearing the result of low water pressure after a flush of any kind. A pressure tank with a bad bladder leaking will cause the pump to cycle on after a small amount of water use.

There are many videos on line how the correct way to test and setup a pressure tank.
 

Calhoontuna

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Thanks guys.

After your responses, I wonder if it is a case of me misdiagnosing the fill valve turning on as a ghost flush. I will monitor the water level in the tanks closely to verify water is indeed not leaking out of the tank.

What had gotten me started on this was what that it seemed like our well pump was running frequently for the last couple years...though not being a plumber it's hard for me to judge what's frequent and what's not. I couldn't get any numbers off the water tank but from pictures online it looks to be 32 gal. Like I had mentioned it's set at 30-50 and I went through the procedure for setting the pressure in the tank and the cut-in and cut-out values several times and it's works perfectly so far as I can tell. No sudden drops in pressure. Throughout the year I've monitored the pressure guage throughout the day to see if we were loosing pressure or water when the water wasn't used, and there were times when I have seen this was the indeed the case. HOWEVER, it's never been consistent. I'd check it again the next cycle and it'd rock solid, and it's much more solid than not.

I would say that one toilet flush and a half would take the needle from 50 to 30 and trigger the pump. By that I mean if I flushed the toilet and then ran the sink water a little bit that would be enough to run out a full tank.
 

Reach4

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Well pump running more frequently is often the pressure tank is degrading somehow.

With the water pressure zero, that tank should be empty of water. The tank will be light. Knocking on the tank, even fairly low, should have a hollow sound. Also, check the air precharge pressure. The appropriate number will depend on factors including whether the pump is a submersible pump or a jet pump. For a submersible pump, 2 psi under cut-in (28 for you) is most common. For a jet pump, it might be 25. It won't be 20 or less.

There are other possibilities for more frequent pump running.

Now with your experiment, note that a 32 gallon pressure tank should hold about 8 gallons of water.
 

Calhoontuna

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Well pump running more frequently is often the pressure tank is degrading somehow.

With the water pressure zero, that tank should be empty of water. The tank will be light. Knocking on the tank, even fairly low, should have a hollow sound. Also, check the air precharge pressure. The appropriate number will depend on factors including whether the pump is a submersible pump or a jet pump. For a submersible pump, 2 psi under cut-in (28 for you) is most common. For a jet pump, it might be 25. It won't be 20 or less.

There are other possibilities for more frequent pump running.

Now with your experiment, note that a 32 gallon pressure tank should hold about 8 gallons of water.
 

Calhoontuna

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I had done that. Emptied the tank. Hallow. Can move it around and knock on it and verify that it is empty. I set the pressure in the tank to 28 and then set the cut in and out pressures to 30 and 50 respectively. Watched the guage while running the water and it works like a charm, triggering at 30 and the pressure increasing until cutting out at 50.
 

Reach4

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Good. A failing pressure tank is worse than a toilet flush valve problem. You should get about 8 gallons from cut-off to cut-on.

Now turn off the water at the wall to the problem toilet, and observe the water level in the tank, at least overnight. Drops 1/2 inch? Drops to where the flapper meets the flush valve seat? Drops lower than that?
 

Calhoontuna

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Good. A failing pressure tank is worse than a toilet flush valve problem. You should get about 8 gallons from cut-off to cut-on.

Now turn off the water at the wall to the problem toilet, and observe the water level in the tank, at least overnight. Drops 1/2 inch? Drops to where the flapper meets the flush valve seat? Drops lower than that?
Sounds good. I will try this tonight and see what happens.
 

Calhoontuna

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Sounds good. I will try this tonight and see what happens.
Hm. Looks like the water level in the tank dropped one inch overnight.

The night before the tank emptied out complete, but that was related to the flush level not letting the cannister flush valve to seal fully. We have one of those cannister valves, verse the flapper style, and it doesn't use a chain but rather the lever fits into a slot in the cannister valve. When you tighten the lever (so that it doesn't flop around) there's enough friction that it doesn't allow the valve to close all the way. Like I say, after messing around with it some I was able to reduce the water loss to one inch. Is that normal, or shouldn't you be loosing a drop?
 

Reach4

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Not normal. Canisters have a replaceable seal. If you name the toilet, somebody might have some more info.
 

Calhoontuna

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Turned out it was the seal. The replacement seal felt like it fit properly...but when I picked another one I found out that it was ever so slightly too large. This fixed the issue.
 
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