How to find your stopcock

Why you need to know where it is…

While a stopcock should rarely need to be used, it is vital to know where it is located for an emergency, as shutting off the water supply could save thousands of pounds and prevent the destruction of treasured possessions if a pipe was to burst. During freezing weather spells, as many as 3,500 claims have been recorded in a single day from burst-pipe damage, costing the average household £7,000.

Check it works

Worryingly, one in ten (9 per cent) of those that know where their stopcock is, have never tried to turn it. Homeowners and renters should remember that a stopcock can seize up over time so set a regular reminder, every six months, to check it is working and can be turned off in an emergency. It could be the difference between a minor leak or serious flood damage.

Know where your stopcock is…

• Look under the sink in your kitchen, possibly behind a panel where the pipes come into your sink.
• In a larder unit in your kitchen
• Next to your boiler…
• Look in all of your porch’s or halls(front and back), find where the water pipe comes into the property. This may be under a lose floorboard, in a little cupboard or a bit of boxing in.

• If you have a garage that is attached to your house it may be in there.
If it is none of these places look in the pavement outside if your property….
Finding your outside stop tap.

If you cannot turn your water off at the inside stop tap and need to use the outside stop tap, the video can help but here are the main points.
• Before you turn off your external stop tap, check that you’re not on a shared supply, so one stop tap serving more than one property. If you live in a flat, check with your landlord or your management company before you turn the water off.
• You’ll need a flat headed screwdriver and a torch. You might also need a stop tap key which you can get from your local DIY store.
• Go to the boundary of your property. You are looking for an 8 inch/20cm iron or plastic cover. It should be marked with a W or WM or the word WATER.
• Use the screwdriver or stop tap key to lift the cover. Lift out the frost pad.
• You may see your water meter with the stop tap beside it or just the stop tap.
• Turn the stop tap CLOCKWISE or to the right to turn the water OFF and ANTI-CLOCKWISE or to the left to turn it ON. Go carefully because some of our stop taps only require a quarter of a turn, so don’t over-tighten them.

1. What does a stopcock look like? A stopcock looks like a tap but without an outlet spout. It will be situated between two lengths of pipe, acting as a connector. This allows the stopcock to impede the flow of water when it is closed off.
2. Turn it regularly When turning stopcocks back on it is a good idea not to turn them on fully to prevent them from getting stuck in the future. When turning on, turn the valve anti-clockwise as far as it will go and then give them a 1/8th of a turn clockwise.
3. How to turn it off In case of water escape, locate your stopcock and simply turn the valve clockwise to turn off the water supply. Turn on the taps in the sinks and bathrooms to remove any water remaining in the household system.
4. If you’re going on holiday either turn the stopcock off to prevent disasters or if a neighbour is looking after your house, show them where the stopcock is.