DIY plumbing: What you should know

It has become more and more important to know the ins and outs of your home’s plumbing, in order to avoid costly call-out charges for plumbers. In fact, it’s frequently noted that homeowners pay for a plumber to do a simple job they could tackle themselves.

Of course, on some occasions the task will be too much for those with a basic plumbing knowledge and the expertise of a professional plumber is very much required. But what’s important is to avoid calling out a plumber for little reason.

Also, to save even more money, ensure to compare a number of quotes for any work you want completed, unless it’s an emergency such as burst pipes. The chances are, by speaking with up to four professionals, you’ll be able save quite a bit. Also choose a plumber registered with the Institute of Plumbing or Association of Plumbers and Heating Contractors.

So with all that out the way, let’s run through the basics of turning your water supply off in an emergency.

Locate the stopcock

If you didn’t know, water can actually be turned on and off from your home. This is by use of the stopcock, which can be found on the inside or outside of your property. Make sure you find this, because in the event of an emergency you’ll want to shut off the water supply.

The stopcock is commonly located under the kitchen sink, but don’t assume this and nothing’s ever certain. You may even need to remove a kickboard to find it. There could even be two stopcocks but one won’t work (it’ll simply have been left behind by a plumber).

Once located, test it. Turn it clockwise to shut off the water supply and then try the taps. Just remember to turn it back afterwards.

Stopcocks can stiffen over the years without use, so keep good care of yours. WD40 is an ideal lubricant to ensure it doesn’t stiffen up, so spray on a little and turn the stopcock back and forth.

If your stopcock is outside, then again it’s just a case of locating it. The chances are it could be concealed under a manhole, so remove the cover and notice a dial encased in polystyrene. There could be more than one if you live in flats, so don’t fiddle around until you know which is which. Try turning on your taps fully and then go back to see which dial is moving.

Tom Crosswell

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