This episode is about the mysterious phenomenon known as phantom flushing. Phantom Flushing is when water from the tank (the top, box-shaped part) leaks into the toilet bowl, eventually causing the toilet to flush. This sometimes makes people think that the toilet has flushed itself, which can seem strange to those who do not know about phantom flushing. It is important to know about phantom flushing because fresh water is a precious limited resource and it is crucial that water is not wasted. When a toilet flushes without someone using it, a whole toilet bowl of water goes down the drain!
At the start of the episode, the couple wakes up to a noise, it is the sound of a phantom flush. It seems spooky to the couple because they have never heard of phantom flushing and they are worried about who might be in their house using the toilet. When they go to investigate, the man notices that nobody is in the bathroom, the toilet seems to have flushed itself! When he opens the lid he discovers that a “phantom flush creature” has invaded their toilet!
Phantom flushes are not as easy to spot in real life because they do not pop out of the bowl. It is good to keep an ear out for toilets “running” for long periods without use or for toilets flushing themselves, because those are the symptoms of a phantom flush. If you find a toilet that will sometimes flush without anyone using it, that is the time to call a plumber!
Plumbers can test if a toilet leaks by using dye tablets to color the water in the tank of the toilet. If there is a leak, the water in the toilet bowl will become colorful too. Leaks like this can often be caused by an old or faulty flapper valve which regulates how much water leaves the tank. The plumber in this episode knows that replacing a leaky flapper valve will stop the toilet from flushing itself and save gallons of water that would have been wasted by phantom flushing. This is why he is able to use a brand new flapper valve to banish the phantom flush monster from the toilet and save the day!
You can check your flapper valve for leaks and damage by dropping a dye tablet in your toilet’s tank or by consulting with a plumber. Dye tablets can usually be purchased at home improvement and repair stores or are given out for free by some water providers, like the San Jose Water Company. Contact your local water company to see if they offer any free services that can help you use less water in your home. San Jose Water Company also has a webpage guide that explains some of their favorite ways to save water at home. Read through their suggestions and think about ways you can improve your home to make it more water-efficient.
The Green Ninja Show
Director: Dave Chai
Producer: Maaike Scherff
Editor: Keith Silva
Green Ninja intro created by: Mark Wanninger & Michael Salmassian
Story by: Emily Little
Director: Emily Chen
Producer: SJSU’s Animation/Illustration Program
Voice Talent: David Chai, Grace Chen, & Ryan Eways