For us common folk, home plumbing can be as complicated as rocket science to our eyes! And why wouldn’t it be? You don’t know where those valves and pipes lead to most of the time, and the closest experience you may have had at being a Plumber in London was when you’re guiding Mario to save Princess Peach through a sewer shortcut on Mushroom Kingdom! But we digress.
Your home should be treated like you do your body. In other words, it’s advisable to have your, say, Boiler breakdown in Ealing “checked up” with a professional Plumber from Ealing, but there’s nothing wrong with treating the problem yourself when your house is simply affected with a “common cold”.
Now, if a thermometer helps you determine whether your body suffers from fever or not, then the same also holds true for locating your house’s valves and stopcocks. Oftentimes, knowing which one to locate is enough to solve the problem by itself! And if you still haven’t dared it yet, then now’s the chance to do so with this handy-dandy Plumbing 101 for beginners! Get ready for your Kitchen Fitting in Ealing after this!
A general rule of plumber’s thumb is that the stopcock should be inspected first when you’ve got a leak somewhere in your house. However, it can be tricky knowing where to find them, since these valves can just be about everywhere!
So, here’s the trick behind it: if a stopcock is located inside the house, then it may be the one controlling the water flow in, say, the sink. On the flipside, a stopcock may also be located outside the house usually in the form of a miniature “manhole”, with the name of the water company engraved on top of it.
Sure, you may not know where the ends of the stopcock leads, but at least you know where they are. Knowing which of those stopcocks you should close, on the other hand, is on the next item. Scroll down!
You know where your stopcocks are. Problem is, you still have no idea which one’s which! Well, if there’s anything we learned from Aristotle (not that you should pay attention now to your Classics at this point in time), it’s that every problem can be solved through logical deduction.
In this case, if you’re not sure which stopcock is affected, then all you have to do is to turn off one, and conversely turning on the other one, as well (by doing so clockwise and counterclockwise, respectively). Another way is by turning on your tap on full-blast and finding out which water meter fluctuates the most.
However, if you find it hard to turn on any of your stopcocks, then spray it with a cheap lubricant like a WD-40 solution. That should take care of that little bugger!
This, like all other things, should not be that hard to determine! Mainly, there are two water sources for every household nowadays: one is being fed from the mains (direct system), whilst the other one is by way of an external water tank (indirect system).
Now, if you’ve determined that you’re using a mains system, then the valve which you should be looking to turn off is the isolation valve, which you can usually find under sinks, taps, dishwashers, or anything using copious quantities of water. By doing so, you ensure that you’renot completely depriving yourself of all water usage, since you are only blocking the valve which has the leak in it!
On the other hand, if what you have is an indirect water system, then what you should be looking out for is the gate valve, which should contains one storage vessel for hot water and cold water each. Whilst you may have turned off the mains, you may still get leaks coming in from the source. In that virtue, you should also turn off the gate valve that should ideally be located under the valve.
Now that you know where all valves and stopcocks are placed, you can now call yourself as a “junior” Plumber from Harrow. Okay, maybe not. But at least that’s a start, right?