Top 5 DIY Plumbing Fixes Every Homeowner Should Know

Replacing the rubber flapper to stop toilet from running.
Replacing the rubber flapper to stop toilet from running.

Plumbing Fix #4: How to Stop a Toilet from Running

Stopping a toilet from running is usually a fairly easy fix, so don’t call your local plumbers before trying to repair it yourself. A running toilet is usually caused by either the water level in the tank being set too high or a worn out rubber flapper between the tank and bowl.

To adjust the water level in the toilet tank:

  1. Remove the lid from the toilet tank.
  2. Turn the adjustment screw or slide the rod to lower the float in the tank.
  3. Flush the toilet, and allow it to refill.
  4. Check tank water level to make sure it’s below the top of the overflow tube.
  5. If the water level is still too high, continue to adjust the float height as needed.

To replace a toilet tank flapper:

  1. Turn off the shutoff valve below the toilet by turning it clockwise.
  2. Flush the toilet to remove the water in the tank.
  3. Remove the rubber flapper at the bottom of the tank.
  4. Remove the flapper chain from the tank handle rod.
  5. Wipe off the rim of the drain at the bottom of the tank.
  6. Install a new rubber flapper.
  7. Attach the new flapper chain to the tank handle rod.
  8. Turn the water to the toilet back on.
  9. Allow the tank to fill up and check to make sure the toilet stops running.
  10. Adjust the flapper valve chain on the handle as needed so the toilet flushes easily.

Watch our video on How to Repair a Toilet to find out more.


  1. please, can you help me to fix my plumbing problem due to when I shut or cut off any of FAUCET at my home I hear some loud noise on or in PIPES.

    • Hi Joe,
      That’s called water hammer, and it’s caused by the sudden change in pressure when you turn off the faucet. It can be prevented by installing a water hammer arrester or water expansion tank in the water line near your hot water heater. Watch our video on How to Prevent Water Hammer in Pipes to find out more.

  2. Dan,

    I’m 86 years old and unable to do most of the jobs at home anymore but I enjoy very much reading your emails. If they apply to our grown children and their families, I send the emails to them or discuss the projects with them. Thanks for the good that you do.


  3. sometimes in winter my bathrooms cold water freeze up and nothing comes out until the weather get a little warmer what is the main cause even my toilets freeze up the kitchen water always works why? thank you

  4. What a good read this was, having been working with some of the best plumbers in La Mesa, CA, I can say with confidence that all of the tips that you gave is what I’m sure any professional plumber would agree. Knowing how to turn off the water heater is very important and giving problems. The best thing would turn it off and have a licensed professional inspect the water heater for any damages or malfunction. Water heater repair is very common in residential plumbing.

    All of the tips were great!

  5. Danny,
    You refer to a hot water heater……. Is it not a cold water heater?
    Or better yet just a water heater!

  6. This is some really good information about plumbing. I liked what you said about when you do have plumbing issues you should turn off your water. That is a good thing for me to know because I am about to purchase my first home.


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