How to find and use your inside stop valve
Your inside stop valve, also known as stopcock or stop tap, is the easiest way to turn your water on and off. As it’s in your home, it’s your responsibility to install, maintain, fix and replace.
The diagram below shows the typical pipework for most homes and who is responsible for maintaining it.
How to find your inside stop valve
Your inside stop valve is inside your house and is normally located just after the water pipe enters the house. This is often under the kitchen sink, but can also be:
- In an airing cupboard
- Under the stairs
- Under the floorboards
- Near the front door
- In the garage, utility room, bathroom or cellar
For flats, you may have a communal inside stop valve if your water supply is shared with your neighbours. This is normally located where your water supply enters the building. Sometimes an additional inside stop valve can be found where the water supply enters your flat. If you can't find your inside stop valve or it's broken, there are other ways to turn your water off. You can find these at the bottom of this page.
How to use your inside stop valve
Using your inside stop valve should be easy and you should be able to operate the valve yourself.
How to turn your water off using the inside stop valve
Turn the valve clockwise.
It may take a few turns to stop the water. You'll usually get to a point where you can’t turn it anymore. You shouldn’t need to use excessive force to turn it further.
It may also take a few minutes for the water to stop running from your taps, as there will be some water left in the pipes from before you turned the water off.
Important: Pop a monthly reminder in your calendar to check your inside stop valve is working correctly. This way you’ll be confident you can turn off your water in an emergency.
How to turn your water on using the inside stop valve
Turn the valve anti-clockwise.
It may take a few turns to turn the water on. It may also take a few minutes for the water to start running from your taps, as it will need to run through the pipes again.
Watch the video to find out more.
Other ways to turn off your water
You have several options if you cannot find your inside stop valve or if it's faulty and needs to be repaired.
- Your property will likely have several stop valves inside your home. You will likely be able to turn off your water for the room or area of your property where you have a leak, or you’re doing some plumbing. This means you can continue to use your water in the remaining rooms of your property.
- Install a permanent isolation valve called an Aladdin valve. This can be installed on hot water or cold water pipes in around 5 minutes and can be done without turning off your water.
- An accredited plumber can install SureStop, a device that allows you to turn your water off at the flick of a switch. This is helpful if your stop valve is in a hard to reach area. This must be installed in conjunction with an operating inside stop valve.
- An accredited plumber can use freezing and clamping as a short-term solution. This process creates an ice plug that lasts for around 30 minutes, allowing you to extend or repair pipework without draining the whole system.
If you're having problems finding or using your inside stop valve, please contact a plumber.