Everybody’s experienced it, the dreaded roar of a toilet flush echoing through a house or office. Going to the bathroom is something most people like to keep private, but it’s hard to do that when a thunderous toilet announces your every coming and going, or even worse, wakes up the whole house from a dead sleep.
But what exactly makes a toilet flush so loudly? And is there anything you can do about it? In this article we’ve broken down the factors that lead to a noisy flush, what you can do to make a loud flush quieter, and what toilet models have the quietest flushes on the market.
- What Makes a Toilet Flush So Loud?
- Hand Picked Comparisons
- Favorite Quiet Flush Toilets
- Making a Loud Toilet Quieter
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Verdict
What Makes a Toilet Flush So Loud?
The sound of water hitting pipes or porcelain creates amplified echoes that can account for loud flushing noises.
Large Cisterns – One source of these noises can be water filling up a large cistern; as the water fills the formerly empty space, it loudly gurgles, and the remaining air in the cistern amplifies the sound.
Restricted or Closed Valves – Water may also make noise when it is forced to trickle into the cistern too slowly because of a restricted or closed water supply valve.
- Obstructions – Obstructions are another large cause of echoes- if a pipe or valve is restricted by a clog or obstruction, the water then manages to get through slowly trickles and gurgles into empty space, rather than smoothly flowing in.
Sharp Angles – As well, if refill pipes are placed at sharp angles, water may hit the pipe corner at high speed when it rushes in to refill the cistern, causing a banging noise.
You may be wondering why your toilet is making gurgling sounds.
The other cause of noise, water pressure, is almost always caused by an obstruction or restricted, tight, or stiff valves.
Obstructions in the trap way, refill pipes, or refill valve cause water pressure to build, resulting in water spraying out from behind the obstruction rather than flowing.
The actual increased water pressure causes louder noise- imagine when placing your thumb partially over the opening of a garden hose- not only is the spray pressurized because of the obstruction, but the sound of the water spraying out of the hose becomes louder, and changes pitch.
The same thing happens in your toilets, except instead of the water spraying into empty space, it’s hitting metal or porcelain, which also creates the echoing sounds we discussed above.
Restricted, Right, or Stiff Valves
Restricted, tight, or stiff valves cause this same phenomenon. A tight or stiff refill, water supply, or shut-off valve not only causes percussive echoes, but it also pressurizes water the same way obstructions do, resulting in a loud flush or refill.
Hand Picked Comparisons
Favorite Quiet Flush Toilets
Of course, the easiest way to avoid a noisy toilet is to buy a quiet one right from the start! Despite being old-school, a single gravity flush toilet is the go-to for a noiseless bathroom. Here’s a few of our favorites, plus links to full reviews.
1. WoodBridge T-0001
|Item weight||119 pounds|
The T-0001 model is an extremely quiet and powerful toilet. This Woodbridge model has a luxurious, sleek and modern looking design. It will easily blend in any type of bathroom decor and is very simple to maintain. Furthermore, the Woodbridge T-0001 features a comfort height design, which is ideal for the elderly or people with movement disabilities.
The trap way is skirted and fully glazed, allowing waste to go down completely in one flush. When it comes to maintenance, it is enough to just wipe the toilet with a wet cloth. Plus, the installation is straightforward as it has a classic 12-inch rough-in. The full flush of the T-0001 consumes 1.6 GPF and the partial flush consumes only 1 GPF. This way, the WoodBridge T-0001 saves water and meets the EPA WaterSense criteria. Furthermore, this toilet comes with a soft-closing high-end seat.
Take a peak at the full Woodbridge T0001 toilet review.
2. TOTO UltraMax II
|Item weight||99 pounds|
The TOTO UltraMax II offers a lot of useful features as well as great efficiency and performance. Its one-piece construction allows you to clean and maintain the bowl with ease. Furthermore, it features the CEFIONTECT glaze, making the bowl lubricious enough that particles won’t get attached to the bowl and develop bacteria. The TOTO UltraMax II is highly efficient, consuming only 1.28 GPF. This system is a bit lighter and the previous and weighs only 99 pounds.
Another cool thing about the UltraMax II is that it comes with a soft-close seat. The UltraMax II is made out of extremely durable and long-lasting china. The elongated shape as well as the universal height offer a great comfort. Plus, the UltraMax II is EPA WaterSense certified, ADA-compliant, CEC and CALGreen compliant.
Read our full review of the TOTO UltraMax II here.
3. Niagara 77001WHC01 Stealth
|Item weight||102.8 pounds|
Do you need an extremely long-lasting, yet efficient low-flow toilet? The Niagara 77001WHC01 Stealth may be the perfect choice for you. With water consumption of only 0.8 GPF, it is the most efficient toilet in its class. Toilets like this one can last up to 30 years because of the way they operate. The Niagara Stealth is also well-known for being quiet, which is not something we wouldn’t expect from a gravity flush toilet.
One downside to the Niagara Stealth is maintenance. Since it’s a two-piece construction it might be more difficult to clean between the pieces. On the other hand, the seat height of this toilet is about 18 inches, ideal for people with disabilities and the elderly. Although it seems impossible for a toilet with such low consumption to clean the bowl entirely, the gravity-assisted technology ensures all the waste is gone after a single flush.
4. Kohler Santa Rosa
|Item weight||109 pounds|
|Color||White, almond, black, dune, biscuit, ice grey|
The Santa Rosa toilet is one of Kohler’s most comfortable toilets. The oblong shape and the right height 17-inch seat play an essential role in comfort. Sitting on a standard height toilet can often feel uncomfortable. People that are more than six feet tall are definitely going to like the right height seat. The construction of the Santa Rosa is long-lasting and durable. This toilet consumes 1.6 GPF, making it EPA WaterSense certified.
Unfortunately, due to the one-piece design, the toilet is heavy, weighing in at 109 pounds. Still, with the standard 12-inch rough-in, it is pretty easy to install. The Kohler Santa Rosa will easily complement almost any bathroom and comes in four colors: classic white, almond, dune, and black. Since this toilet uses gravity flush technology, it is also pretty quiet.
You may want to read the in-depth review of the Kohler Santa Rosa toilet.
5. American Standard 2887216.020 H2Option
|Item weight||91 pounds|
As the popularity of the dual flush systems grows, this model becomes more and more desirable. The American Standard 2887216.020 H2Option is a highly-efficient toilet, boasting a dual flush system that allows you to choose between a 1.6 GPF and 1 GPF flush. H2Option models, including this one, have a pressurized rim. The PowerWash rim makes sure the bowl stays clean after each flush.
The product weighs a sturdy 91 pounds of vitreous china. Plus, it has the EverClean surface that prevents any bacteria or mold from forming. Plus, this American Standard toilet is EPA WaterSense certified.
6. Kohler K-3987-47 Wellworth
|Item weight||86.3 pounds|
|Color||White, almond, black, biscuit|
The Wellworth K-3987-47 is one of the most popular Kohler’s toilets. It comes with dozens of features as well as great performance and efficiency. Due to its dual flush technology, the flushes of the Wellworth are quite powerful. This system allows you to choose between a 1.6 or 1.1 GPF flush. It features an innovative two-tone flush lever. Plus, the Wellworth has a 54mm glazed trapway and is fairly light, weighing only 86.3 pounds.
Unfortunately, when you buy the Wellworth toilet, you don’t get the seat. It must be purchased separately. The two-piece construction of the Wellworth is quite durable. Furthermore, the round shape makes this toilet ideal for smaller bathrooms. Finally, the Wellworth is very stylish and comes in four colors: white, almond, black, and biscuit.
Take a look at the ultimate Kohler Wellworth toilet review.
7. TOTO CST454CUFG#01 Drake II
|Item weight||94 pounds|
|Color||Sedona beige, cotton white, bone, colonial white|
The TOTO Drake II is just about one of the most stylish TOTO toilets from this series. Although this toilet is known for being very quiet, it manages to provide powerful flushes. The Drake II uses gravity flush technology and consumes only 1.28 GPF. The TOTO Drake II is also ADA-compliant, and the elongated shape of the toilet makes it very comfortable. The trapway is wide, fully glazed and computer designed.
This toilet has a 12-inch rough-in, making it easy to set up and install. Plus, it weighs only 94 pounds. The design of the Drake II is modern, minimalistic, and stylish. Just like the previous model, the Drake II is also available in four colors. Cotton white is the most popular option among the buyers. However, it is also available in sedona beige, colonial white, and bone. As this toilet is made out of vitreous china, it is very durable and long-lasting.
Read our in-depth review of TOTO Drake toilets.
Making a Loud Toilet Quieter
The best way to fix a loud flush is to locate and remedy the toilet elements that are causing echoes or pressure.
Use Large Cisterns
If you have a large cistern, consider placing a brick inside of it to displace some of the volume, therefore lowing echo capacity.
Quiet Fill Valves
You can also install a quiet-fill flush valve, if your toilet doesn’t already have one. These flush valves fill the cistern below the water line, to create less gurgling.
This video shows how simple and easy it can be to replace a fill valve. All you have to do is turn off the water supply, flush your toilet to empty the cistern, and then pull out the old valve. Then, take the new one and situate it at the proper height for your cistern, lock it in place, and hook it up to the flush valve. As you can see in the video, this dramatically improves the noise level of the flush.
You may be interested in our full review of toilet fill valves.
Reduce Angles in Pipes
Sharp angles in pipes can be fixed by swapping out angled pipes for rounded corners or adjusting angle adapters.
These can and should be eliminated by plunging the toilet or snaking the trap way and cleaning or replacing valves.
This can be eliminated by clearing obstructions, as we just mentioned, and by lowering the water supply partially. Be aware that if you do this, the cistern will fill slower, which may cause gurgles.
This video examines three of the things we have mentioned so far, and shows exactly how to fix them. The plumber replaces a fill valve, dislodges debris and obstructions from the water supply piping, and replaces a faulty shut-off valve.
Fixing Other Problems
You can also eliminate any flushing vibrations by examining and tightening all bolts on the unit. Don’t forget to check the screws holding your seat and lid in place too!
If none of these methods achieve the noise-lowering results you were hoping for, you can also soundproof your cistern. This can be achieved by taking off the tank lid, placing adhesive foam tape around the edges of the tank, where the lid sits, and then replacing the lid and firmly pressing it into place. This should create a tight, soundproof seal between the lid and tank, that will keep noise from escaping.
You can also soundproof any exposed pipes by wrapping them in acoustic-absorbing foam.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although it may seem like tankless toilets are less noisy, it still depends on many other factors, like the pressure and the amount of water a toilet needs. If a toilet needs a lot of pressure to provide a powerful flush, it is more likely to be loud. The same goes for the amount of water.
The frequency of toilet cleaning sessions can depend on many different factors. Not cleaning the toilet for a long period of time can cause bacteria growth. Aside from the bad odor it causes, it could damage your health. If your toilet has a one-piece construction it will be much simpler to keep clean. Plus, if a toilet has some sort of glaze or coating it is less likely for bacteria to develop. Regardless, cleaning a toilet at least once a month is highly recommended.
Don’t let a noisy toilet disrupt your sleep, threaten your privacy, or wake up your baby again! Noisy toilets are caused by common, fixable issues that you can easily identify and remedy. And if you don’t deal with the hassle, or just want to start out with a low-noise toilet, there are plenty on the marketplace to choose from. Happy flushing!