Need to turn your main water supply off in an emergency?
Everyone should know where their internal stop tap is situated, and it is also a good idea to test it at least once or twice a year - you don't want to discover that it's
seized solid when you need it!
Your internal stop tap will usually be found where the pipe from the external supply enters your property. This is usually in a kitchen or utility area, or possibly in a
ground floor cloakroom. Sometimes, owners mistakenly box-in or conceal this tap, but it is vital it is accessible at all times!
Once you have tracked down your stop tap, try turning the supply off, which requires you to turn the tap clockwise
(left to right) - if the tap hasn't been used for a while it may be stiff, or even may not move at all! If this is the case,
don't force it. A little oil or WD40 on the tap shaft might help, but if it still won't move get your plumber to take a
If you are able to turn the tap off, test this has worked by running your kitchen cold tap for a short time. The flow
should stop pretty quickly and you should get nothing more from the tap. This confirms that your main water supply
is now turned off. If the flow slows but doesn't stop, you may not have turned the stop tap far enough or it may be
worn and need replacing.
To restore the supply, firstly turn the kitchen tap off. Then open the stop tap by turning anti-clockwise (right to left). You can
then open your kitchen tap to check that the main supply is back on.
We recommend that you carry out this simple test at least annually, to ensure your stop tap is fully accessible and functioning.
If you don't know where your internal stop tap is situated, you need to find your external stop tap - this will be outside your
property boundary, usually on the pavement or near the edge of your roadway. The stop tap will be under a steel flap, either
180mm/6 inches square or a round plate 180mm/6 inches diameter, and will usually be where your water meter is located. If you
are unable to find your internal stop tap, this is the only place you will be able to turn off the main water supply in an emergency.