Outside Stop Tap Problems & Procedures
Here is plenty of useful information about the outside stop tap valve problems and procedures, what to do when requiring an emergency plumber. Like so many times before, you have water pouring from a pipe, unable to turn the water off at the internal mains water stopcock and the external mains water stop tap.
In the picture above we have an example of an outside stop tap valve and what could happen in the worse scenario. Just below are some questions that come up every day by occupant from the real world, but also answered further down the article.
16 Questions about the outside stop tap
- Outside Stop tap Leaking, who fault is this?
- What’s the difference between an outside stop tap and a stopcock?
- Can’t turn my internal stop tap off, what should I do?
- Can’t turn either internal and external stop tap off?
- Cant find outside stop tap, should I call the water board?
- Outside stop tap full of soil, is the plumber allowed to take the soil out or is it the job for the water board?
- What can I expect in the outside stop tap access point?
- Cant turn the outside stop tap off as it seems to be jammed?
- How deep is the external stop tap?
- What does the external stop tap look like and where should i find it?
- Is there an alternative way of getting the water off if I can’t turn the outside stop tap off?
- My stop tap is shared, am I allowed to turn it off?
- Customer has not paid the bill, am I allowed to turn the stop tap off in the road?
- Who’s responsible for the outside stop tap. Customer or water board?
- How long does it take for the water board to come out to repair my stop tap outside?
- Will I get charged for the water board coming out to turn my stop tap off?
Outside Stop tap Leaking, who fault is this
If you have turned your stop tap valve off and it has started leaking, then this is not your fault unless there is proof of malicious damage. The best thing to do is to contact the water board who will come out and fix the stop valve or maybe even replace it.
What’s the difference between an outside stop tap valve and a stopcock
The only difference between the stopcock and the stop tap is the name. The old name for a stop tap was known as the stopcock, but as many years went by, the name stopcock was regarded as rude or sexist, so they changed the name to stop tap, even though some still use the name water mains stopcock.
Can’t turn my internal stop tap off, what should I do
If your unable to turn the mains water stop tap valve off internally, then the only alternative is to, either call an emergency plumber or to turn the mains water stop tap off from the outside.
Can’t turn either internal and external stop tap off
If your unable to turn the outside stop tap valve off from the outside, you will either have to call the water board to come out or call an emergency plumber to find an alternative way.
Cant find outside stop tap, should I call the water board
If you can’t find the outside stop valve, there is a possibility that it may be covered by soil, garden, concrete or something else. It may also be located in an unusual place such as, the alleyway at the back or on the share incoming stop tap located at the end of the row. In most cases, the stop tap is located on the pavement in line to the stop tap entering the house. First thing to do before calling out an emergency plumber or the water board is to ask a neighbour to ask if they know of any location the outside stop tap valve may be.
Outside stop tap full of soil, is the plumber allowed to take the soil out or is it the job for the water board
If the occupant has either a common water leak or water pouring through the ceiling and the outside stop tap access point is full of soil, it is not the job of an emergency plumber to take the soil out and the water board will need to be called out as an emergency.
What can I expect in the outside stop tap access point
In the past and most likely the future, broken glass bottles, needles and wallets, have been found down stop tap valve access points, as known to the hooligans as being a great place to hide stuff. Martin Smith an experience emergency plumber was working with other fellow emergency plumbers at the time of an emergency many year ago and managed to find a few needle down the access point of a stop tap. For this reason, due to insurance reasons, the emergency plumber is not allowed to take out the soil and is left to those with the professional tools such as the water board to take out the soil. But at the same time, there is no reason to prosecute an emergency plumber if, he/she decide to take the soil out of there own accord.
Cant turn the outside stop tap off, as it seems to be jammed
If your unable to turn the outside stop tap valve off due to the stop tap being jammed, then one of the options is to call the water board to come out.
How deep is the external stop tap
The minimum depth of the MDPE should be 750mm and the maximum should be 1350mm unless in a duct or some kind of protection. So keeping this in mind, as in most cases, the depth being 750mm, your most likely going to find the stop tap between 750mm to 900mm. However in some areas, the stop tap can be found at about 200mm to 750mm but must have special circumstances and protection, but this is rare.
What does the external stop tap look like and where should i find it
As shown in the picture to the right, This is what one of a few outside stop tap covers looks like, they are square, however outside newer properties, they are most likely going to be round. To open these you will need a lifting tool and sometimes regard as a flat head screwdriver, chisel or anything else you can get your hands on. What you must not do is to use a hammer to loosen the lid, just incase you brake it, as then you are responsible for breaking property that doesn’t belong to you.
Is there an alternative way of getting the water off if I can’t turn the outside stop tap off
If the water board is delayed and your in urgent need of getting the water off, then the only other way of getting the water off is by clamping the water by using a pipe squeezing tool, before the stop valve or digging the outside to gain access to the mains water supply and then clamping. To clamp the pipe, it will either have to be black or blue MDPE, however, if you find lead pipe, this may be able to be clamped, however, you will need to also make further repairs to the outside lead pipe, as to cutting a minimum of 1-meters worth.
My stop tap is shared, am I allowed to turn it off
Your allowed to turn the water off, as long as the next door neighbour is happy with this, however, this must be temporary and if the next door wants the water back on, then the water must go back on, even if there is hundreds of pounds of damage being causes. For a flat that is causing damage, then this may be different, if the neighbour is causing water damage to the flat below, then the next door neighbours mains water supply, must be turned off.
Customer has not paid the bill, am I allowed to turn the stop tap off in the road
If you turn the outside stop tap valve off in the road, then all the police may do is to warn you to stay away. If your then caught, turning the water off after the warning, then you will get done for disturbing the peace and maybe more.
Who’s responsible for the outside stop tap. Customer or Water board
The responsibly of the outside tap is the water board, however, the water can be accessed by the emergency plumber to turn the water on and off.
How long does it take for the water board to come out to repair my stop tap outside
Martin Smith an emergency plumber estimates on a serious emergency, the water board normally get out to you within 4-hours. In other cases it can take up to a few days.
Will I get charged for the water board coming out to turn my stop tap off
The only reason you may get charged for calling out the water board is, because the stop tap is easy enough for the emergency plumber to turn off, but you have used the water board to do this instead of a plumber.
If your a customer and would like an emergency plumber to call but unable to find one, then please give us a call on the above number and we will get straight over to you, even if you live in London or up in Scotland, we are a national bases company with over 350 registered engineers UK wide. If your a plumber and would like to register, then please visit the plumbing register.