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.
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:
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.
Using your inside stop valve should be easy and you should be able to operate the valve yourself.
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.
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.
You have several options if you cannot find your inside stop valve or if it's faulty and needs to be repaired.
If you're having problems finding or using your inside stop valve, please contact a plumber.