Common causes of a noisy toilet

Date published: 7th October 2013

If your toilet is making some dubious noises you’ll be wondering what on earth is wrong with it. Identifying the problem is the first step to regaining peace and tranquillity in your bathroom. You may need a plumber but it may be something you can fix yourself. So what’s causing the noise? Before you call your plumber, read up on common things that can go wrong.

A dirty valve (also known as a ballcock)

Probably the most common cause of a noisy toilet is the valve being dirty. You’ll know if this is your problem as the toilet will be making a loud foghorn-type noise. But don’t worry, this is relatively easy to fix. After turning your water supply off, locate the valve and carefully remove any dirt and debris. Switch the water back on (checking for any leaks) and the noise should be gone. If this doesn’t work then fitting a new ballcock and fill valve might help.

Bad vibrations

If the foghorn noise isn’t fixed by cleaning out the valve then it could possibly be a loose connection somewhere in the cistern.  To check, firstly turn the water off and unscrew the assembly of all the parts including the valve. Take the washer out and put it back in the other way round. Screw everything back together tightly and replace it in the cistern. Turn the water back on and give it a test flush to see if that has fixed the problem.

The water hammer

If (and please pardon the expression!) your toilet is humming, then it may be as easy as replacing a washer. If you split the ball valve in two you’ll see a washer there. If it’s looking like it has seen better days simply replace it (making sure the water supply is turned off first) and replace the ball valve. That should sort the problem.

The float switch

If you are getting water overflowing from the cistern then your float switch may need some attention. It could just be a case of unscrewing and reassembling the float in order to regulate it, or you may need to put a new one in. Either way this is easily fixed without calling a plumber in.

Gurgling drains

If you can still hear gurgling long after flushing the toilet then it might be a problem with the vent. By unclogging it you will stop pressure building up in the system.

Trusty plumber

If you’ve tried all of the above (or don’t have time to do so) with no joy, it’s probably time to get on the phone to your local plumber. They can usually sort the problem quickly and effectively: years of experience with noisy toilets mean they’ll be able to find the problem pretty swiftly.


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