We often underestimate the value of water. During cold weather it is often the most inappropriate time for problems with pipework, taps and appliances. Many properties have either damaged/defective stopcocks or the access to stop supply is obscured by debris in outside meter stopcocks or even fitted kitchen cupboards or heavy furniture for interior stopcocks.
The picture below shows an exterior stopcock cover. This cover top may be set at surface level so only the access cover is visible. The position of the stopcock may not be too obvious. Look at the front or back of your property for a metal or plastic cover about 6″ [150mm] square. You may have a shared supply with a neighbour or a row of properties, depending on the main supply pipework arrangements. It’s always good to check with neighbours, before you stop the supply. It will not be obvious you have a shared supply, until someone complains, after you’ve cut their water off!
- Outside Stopcock cover
You may have a modern water meter. If you see a round plastic cover looking like the one below
Water Meter Boundary Box
You will only see the circular plastic cover at surface level of the road or pavement.
You must take care to protect your working area, avoiding hazards to other road users and pedestrians.
The inside of the meter box or cover box may be full of water or other debris. Have plenty of rags and a large sponge handy to clear out the box, so you can see what you are doing.
The picture below shows what you may see once you’ve opened the cover.
Water Meter view from above.
Water Meter view from above
Access may be difficult so investing in a stopcock key may well save time and make access much easier.
There are two types of domestic stopcock keys, as shown below.
Stopcock Key [short]
Stopcock Key [long]
The stopcock may be of either plastic MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] or brass construction. The pictures below show the most common types.
MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] Stopcock
It is always good idea to check your water stopcock in good weather, to avoid problems with operation in times of bad weather. If you have problems with the functioning of your water supply stopcock, contact the Company who you pay your water bill to.
This link shows a map of Water Company areas http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/find-water-company
This link gives contact details for UK Water Companies http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/list-of-companies
The Water Company will arrange a visit to rectify or replace your stopcock. During bad weather the maintenance staff are very busy attending to faults and failures. A domestic Customer may have to wait up to a week for someone from the Water Company to attend.
Don’t wait until an emergency to find out your water stopcock doesn’t work.
Please contact SEEN@gmx.co.uk or telephone 07901380746 if you need any help or want to discuss issues raised in this post.
Regular maintenance and inspection is not too expensive, and may well save much more if you have problems in times of bad weather.
Water is a valuable resource that must be saved at every opportunity.
Help to save water by undertaking regular maintenance of your supply equipment.