When water is flooding from a broken tap, burst pipe or another plumbing disaster, you need to quickly turn off the water supply to limit the damage to your property. Don't wait until you are in this situation to learn how to locate and use your home's stop tap, which controls the water supply to your property. Use this information to familiarise yourself with your home's water supply today.
How to Find Your Stop Tap
The location of your stop tap depends on the type of property you live in. Houses usually have their stop taps located outside, close to the boundary of the land that belongs to your home. If you know where your water meter is, try searching nearby for a small tap that lies close to the ground.
If you live in an apartment, there is likely to be a stop tap close to your home's main entrance that controls the water supply. Look inside cupboards and behind access panels to locate the main stop tap.
As well as the main stop tap, some homes have additional taps that can cut off the supply to particular parts of the home. These are usually located beneath the bathroom and kitchen sinks.
How to Use a Stop Tap
Using a stop tap is easy. Simply turn the tap clockwise to shut off the water supply and turn it anticlockwise to allow the water to flow again. In each case, you should turn the tap as far as you can without applying excessive force.
Stop taps can become stiff if they are not used for a long time. When you find your stop tap, try turning it clockwise to shut off the water. If the tap won't turn, apply a small amount of lubricant, such as bike oil, to the base of the handle and gently move the handle back and forth to encourage it to move. It's a good idea to test your stop tap occasionally to ensure it hasn't seized up, as you never know when you will need to use it.
What to Do If Your Stop Tap Doesn't Work
If you are experiencing a leak and can't turn off the water supply, call an emergency plumber right away. Towels and buckets can only contain a leak in the short term, so you need to get repairs done as quickly as possible to prevent water damage to your home.