Gut Rumbles

June 02, 2006

the incredible, screaming toilet

I can't figure out what's going on here.

I was in Willingway Hospital for 38 days, and when I got back home, I needed to drain the old lizard, so I went to the "master bathroom," my own special sanctuary attached the the Master Bedroom, and I took a leak. Then, I flushed the commode.

HOLY BEJUS!!! The pipes inside the wall voiced this horrible, moaning sound that made me think of a she-elephant giving birth to a 500-pound baby elephant with full-grown tusks. "WHOA-OA-OA-OOOOO...BUMBUMBUM...SQUEEEECHSQUEECH!!! BUMBUMHEEEEE...THUMPATHUMPA!!!"

Damn! I thought the wall was about to explode. Once the noise simmered down, I flushed the commode again, and it did the SAME THING! "WHOA-OA-OA-OOOOH...BUMBUMBUM... SQUEECHSQUEECH...BUM! BUM! THUMPTHUMP...HISSSSSSS!!!"

When that problem first started, my daughter called me one night, and just for the hell of it, I said, "Hey, Sam. Listen to THIS and tell me what it is." I took the phone in the bathroom, I flushed the commode and I held the phone up while all the elephant-noises came bellowing from the wall.

When I put the phone back to my ear, I heard Sam laughing. "Daddy... what kind of animal are you KILLING in your house?" When I told her that I wasn't killing anything--- that my got-dam commode was making that noise, she said, "Daddy... did you ever think about moving out of there?"

I figured at first that I just had a bunch of air trapped in my pipes from lack of use and I would get rid of the problem if I just flushed the commode a few times... say maybe about 100 times, back-to-back, just as fast as the tank filled back up after each flush. I tried that and sure enough, the noise stopped.

But it didn't go away. Now, it's intermittent. Sometimes, the toilet flushes just the way it should, with no weird sound-effects afterward. But other times, it not only sounds like a she-elephant giving birth, but it's got a bull elephant in there screwing her, too.

WTF causes THAT???

I'll tell you one thing. When you wake up in the middle of the night needing to urinate and you've forgotten all about the horny elephants in your commode, you get a mighty rude awakening when you stumble to the bathroom, take a leak, flush and try to stumble back to bed only to hear that gawd-awful noise coming after you. At night. In the dark. When you're ALONE!!!

Just dayum! I'm surprised that one of my neighbors hasn't called the cops to report some kind of satanic ritual involving the sacrifice of live animals in my house. At night. In the dark. When I'm alone...

The commode works fine, and it doesn't make that screaming noise all the time with every flush. That's what lulls me into forgetting about it, so that it's always a hair-raising, surprise experience when it DOES happen anymore. The damn thing did it again just a few minutes ago. I almost jumped right out of my skin.

Do I have any plumbers who read me? Can YOU tell me how to fix that problem? It's not exactly life-threatening, but it surely is spooky.

And if I ever walk into that bathroom and discover a baby elephant on the floor, I don't know WHAT I'm gonna do. At night. In the dark. All by myself...


Ya got me on that one....although we have a well (and our water tank makes all kinds of noises when it regenerates) However, when all else fails, I blame it on the "old Indian burial ground" excuse.....

We have more weird shit go on around here, and OLD, PISSED OFF INDIANS is about all I could think of as to a reason why things go awry....

Posted by: Ruth on June 2, 2006 01:28 PM

I happen to have myself a plumber. I will ask him about screaming elephant noises.

Posted by: firefly on June 2, 2006 01:33 PM

And there you have it, a faulty BALL COCK! (might have known!)

Posted by: Ruth on June 2, 2006 01:50 PM

Heres's a link with an explanation.

Posted by: jessho on June 2, 2006 01:55 PM

"And if I ever walk into that bathroom and discover a baby elephant on the floor, I don't know WHAT I'm gonna do. "

At least if it were a pink elephant you'd know what the cause was. :-)

Posted by: Vulgorilla on June 2, 2006 02:58 PM

A lot of that sounds like water hammer and surge.

There is a device you can have soldered into the supply line near the toilet that cushions some of the BUMBUMBUM and THUMPTHUMP stuff.

Something else to check though, do you have municipal water? Have they recently bumped up the pressure significantly? (Or if you have a well, has someone turned up the pressure settings?) If so, a pressure regulator on the line running from your meter to the house can help. Plus it can save you a bigger plumbing bill later if high water pressure is the issue.

Maybe there's debris caught in the shut off valve to the tank, or in the tank fill valve itself. That would explain the SQUEECH and the HISSS! (but not the BUMBUMBUM and THUMPTHUMP)

Finally, if you do have your own well, you might want to check to make sure you haven't lost the air cushion on your pressure tank.

Posted by: Desert Cat on June 2, 2006 03:12 PM

I LOVE baby elephants. Did you see that cutie that Kees posted the other day?

If you ever find one, don't shoot it. Save it for me. I got plenty of room in this back yard for it.

Posted by: Libby on June 2, 2006 03:47 PM

Me thinks you might have a ghost giving you mischief! Maybe someone died on the toilet-like Elvis pehaps. That's my most educated guess...........

Posted by: Shit4Brains on June 2, 2006 04:28 PM

It could also be a clogged air vent. One of the pipes that sticks up from your roof is usually it. If a bird has built a nest in there, or perhaps some mud dauber's have been busy doing what they do, they can clog up the airway pretty bad. You don't hear anything from it when using another water fixture (ie: sinks, dish washer, etc.) because they aren't trying to force a gallon of water down the drain "Right Fucking Now!" like a toilet does. Best advice though, call a plumber.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh on June 2, 2006 05:00 PM

It's easy. Your home is built over an ancient Indian burial ground, and....

Posted by: Doc on June 2, 2006 05:05 PM

It could also be the fill valve chattering. Make sure that whatever screwball mechanism is in charge of starting the fill (a floating mellon on the end of a stick, a sliding donut on a tube - whatever...) is free to move and will open the valve entirely.

We had a john that flushed itself... Nope no buried indians here, just an igit plumber.

The outlet valve assembly on this american non-standard toilet is a bit different and must be installed correctly. After swapping in a new one (the old one was clearly leaking) and not fixing the problem, the igit informed that he would have to replace the whole thing. Five minutes after he left I installed it CORRECTLY and it hasn't auto flushed since.

I really have a distaste for folks who artificially try to run up the bill - even though I am renting the joint.

Check for obstructions preventing the full opening of the fill valve. I had a dishwasher that did that. New fill valve and solenoid - no more scream.


Posted by: Rob on June 2, 2006 05:29 PM

Usually it's a $2 type toilet tank innards part that needs replacing - flapper valve leads the list in my own experience. Great time-tested way for plumbers to rip people off. Especially when the noise is generated by running the water in the kitchen sink, bathtub, etc. The horrendous moany screech that results is actually still from the little worn-out rubbery bit in the toilet tank.

Since my own plumbing started doing that again a week or so ago, I'll be seeing my favorite Drummer - Plummer back here soon.

In the meantime, I'm glad that few people are allowed in my house. Explaining the noise as I run the kitchen faucet - *no, no one's being tortured, it's actually the toilet* - might give some neighbors, friends, family some odd ideas about me.

That they'd never have, otherwise.

Posted by: k on June 2, 2006 05:46 PM

Yeah. See jessho's link.

Posted by: k on June 2, 2006 05:49 PM

... I have no idea what could cause such a noise... but it somehow is fitting that a Crapblogger King has a screaming toilet....

Posted by: Eric on June 2, 2006 06:04 PM

Try that shotgun that you don't have on it and if doesn't work maybe a bigger hammer???

Posted by: GUYK on June 2, 2006 07:06 PM

I think that noise is caused by your balls dragging on the floor. They tend to sag after 50. Try throwing them over your shoulder when you walk around with no clothes on.


Posted by: assrot on June 2, 2006 08:35 PM

Guy, you've SEEN one of my "nonexistent" shotguns. I don't intend to shoot my toilet. Not YET, anyway.

That could make a mess a LOT WORSE than the elephant-noises.

Posted by: Acidman on June 2, 2006 09:41 PM

It's the fill valve diaphragm. For $3 and about 5 minutes of your time, you can fix it so it won't do it again for a good long while. Turn off the water feed to the toilet tank. Unsnap the fill valve cover and set aside. Remove the diaphraghm. Take a good sized beer cup (16oz or so) and invert over the fill valve stem, Holding it in place, with your other hand (you might want some help on this Rob, with the bad shoulder) turn the water on and off several times to flush the gravel and gunk out of the valve. Install the new diaphraghm and snap the cover back on. Turn on the water and voila! -- blessed silence.

Posted by: wil on June 5, 2006 04:23 AM

chables & jessho - thanks for having this advice on the internet! i love the internet -- everything at your fingertips about everything nobody knows anything about. we're all quiet again. what a relief -- i thought i was going to have a plummer come out. who knows what this would have cost us. :) a smiles

Posted by: shena on December 25, 2006 06:52 PM
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