Posted 14th Dec 2021 (Posted 3 h, 5 m ago)
At the weekend, became aware there was an issue with the internal stopcock in the kitchen whereupon it was very slightly dripping - upon examination, the stopcock was leaking from the top thread/joint and, ideally, needed replacing as it was also very stiff.

Plumber came out late last night as the slight drip had increased significantly.

We tried to find our external stop tap on the path outside the house but couldn't - we found the external stop taps for our neighbours on one side but couldn't find ours or our neighbours on the other side.

Luckily, with a bit of effort, the plumber was able to shut off the internal stopcock and replace the leaking parts and so far, so good.

The plumber mentioned that if you call the water company, they should be able to consult plans/maps for your property and advise you where your external stop tap is located. Is this true? Checking my water company's website makes no mention of this.

Also, from Googling, I've read that some older properties may not have external stop taps - this would be strange as the properties in our row do appear to have been built at the same time and, as mentioned, some do have stop taps which however, from the covers, appear to be new.

As such, is the water company obliged, if requested, to install a new/replacement external stop tap?

Trying to figure out my options now if worse case, the internal stopcock fails again.
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11 Comments
  1. Avatar
    Your best bet is to simply ask your supplier. We had a similar problem at our old house where there was a leak within the property before the internal stop tap, and we had no idea where the outdoor one may be. We called our supplier (Northumbrian Water), and they sent out a guy with a gadget (essentially a big metal detector) who traced the pipe leaving the house out to the property boundary, where he suggested a probable location of the stop tap, all free. I later found out that in the past, someone had concreted over the driveway and buried the outdoor stop tap under an inch of concrete, so I had to dig it out.
    Edited by: "wibbleboy" 2 h, 46 m ago
  2. Avatar
    Very recently I had cause to have our water supply disconnected, and as part of that work was the water company knowing where the tap was. Fortunately I knew exactly where it was, because their maps showed it several metres away from it's actual position!!

    However, while searching for my stop tap I made sure I could see our neighbours stop taps (I didn't want a neighbour disconnected by accident) and by the looks of it our neighbour to the left has no visible stop tap. The rest of the street have visible covers that run in an almost straight line so it's clear to see where the water main runs. Their tap is not in line with it.

    wibbleboy14/12/2021 08:45

    I later found out that in the past, someone had concreted over the …I later found out that in the past, someone had concreted over the driveway and buried the outdoor stop tap under an inch of concrete, so I had to dig it out.


    Interesting, I do suspect this may have happened to my neighbour then. They have a tarmac driveway that was done a few years back, I'd hope that people don't just concrete over the taps but sounds like it's quite possible.
    Edited by: "slimy31" 2 h, 45 m ago
  3. Avatar
    Author
    So, just got off the phone to my local water company and it went in the direction I expected until I refused to be fobbed off.

    First challenge, was finding an appropriate number to call and navigating the automated menu for 4 minutes.

    Once I got through and explained the situation was told that they do not have any maps for external stop taps for any properties in their area and that my only solution would be for my plumber to 'freeze' my supply pipe. Only if this isn't possible would they send someone out to locate the external stop tap. Advised her my plumber has tried everything and advised the only way to turn off the water is via the external stop tap.

    Again, she tried to fob me off and, after several minutes of back and forth where she was fastidiously sticking to her script which was clearly designed not to help customers, she agreed to arrange an appointment for someone to come around later in the week.

    Let's see what happens.
  4. Avatar
    Maybe you share a stop tap..? In our street of semi-detached, the driveway of the left hand house of each pair has the shared stop tap for the attached house on the right and the drain cover which is shared with the house on the left.
  5. Avatar
    Do you have a water meter op?
  6. Avatar
    My stop tap just outside had been leaking from around the tap handle.
    I stressed out no end at it was 2 ft under a concreted yard with the only access through a small pipe so I had thought I would need to dig the yard up to replace.

    Looked up a YouTube video and found a video showing this was not a big job and a 5 minute fix which required the tap gland to be 'repacked' with a little bit of teflon tape (which can be done in situ with the water still connected).

    Was an easy fix barring having to bend a spanner to fit down the hole (but this won't be a requirement for most).
  7. Avatar
    HappyShopper14/12/2021 09:20

    Nope.


    Ok so its unlikely the stop tap is in the road/pavement then. Have you got a patio that someone could have laid a slab over the relevant area maybe?
    Edited by: "ArcadeAssassin" 1 h, 56 m ago
  8. Avatar
    ArcadeAssassin14/12/2021 09:40

    Ok so its unlikely the stop tap is in the road/pavement then. Have you got …Ok so its unlikely the stop tap is in the road/pavement then. Have you got a patio that someone could have laid a slab over the relevant area maybe?


    Apologies, I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion? I also don't have a water meter but our stop tap is on the public pavement outside the house. My brother in law does have a water meter and his is also on the public pavement. I don't believe the two are related.
  9. Avatar
    slimy3114/12/2021 09:48

    Apologies, I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion? I also don't have …Apologies, I'm not sure how you come to that conclusion? I also don't have a water meter but our stop tap is on the public pavement outside the house. My brother in law does have a water meter and his is also on the public pavement. I don't believe the two are related.


    Water companies installing meters prefer to do it outside the property, hence most stop taps are outside the property.
  10. Avatar
    i had a problem with a house in london. i got dynorod round to fix a leaking pipe in the bathroom and they said that they would need to replace it but that the water needs to be shut off and that there were no internal or external stopcock that they could see. they advised me to call thames water to install the stopcock as it was their responsibility to do so.

    thames water sent an engineer round to identify where the stopcock was outside the property, which turned out to be one for the whole street! they said it was my responsibility to install the internal stopcock and not theirs. they advised that i write to all the neighbours in the street to tell them that the water will be switched off temporarily when the plumber comes round to fit the internal stopcock.

    i wasn't going to do this as i don't know the neighbours and turning off the water supply for the whole street would bring out a lot of angry people! i could just see all the confrontation that i would get when they receive the notification. thames water said they couldn't turn the water off for me, and that i would have to do it myself.

    so your external stopcock could be shared as this is not uncommon. the engineer will be able to tell you when he comes.

    you can freeze the pipes and work on the internal stopcock without turning the water off. it costs more as the plumber needs to buy the freezing kit and it will take longer for the work.
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