Approved Plumber Search

Find a local plumber you can trust using our free online directory search.

WaterSafe approved plumbers are certified by our national accreditation body, with specific training in the UK’s Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws.

Hiring a WaterSafe approved plumber ensures that all plumbing work meets high standards and protects the quality of drinking water in your home and business, in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Emergency Plumber Search

Find a local WaterSafe approved plumber to help with your emergency.

For leaks, burst pipes, or other plumbing emergencies, WaterSafe’s emergency search will give you the contact details of a plumber who can help right away.

If you have no water, very low pressure or concerns about the quality of your water, you should contact your local water company straight away.

Click here for more information about Emergency Plumbers

General Plumbing Advice

Useful information on maintaining good water quality, including how to turn off your water in an emergency and protecting against frozen and burst pipes. Also contains frequently asked questions about sewage misconnections, saving water, and when and how to notify your water supplier of planned plumbing work.

You can also find tips and advice in our short films on  WaterSafe’s YouTube channel.

Water Efficiency

What can I do to reduce water waste?

It’s all too easy to run a kitchen tap while peeling vegetables, or turn on the shower for a few minutes before getting in, and not think about the water we’re wasting.

Around one third of the water each person uses on a daily basis is wasted, so there is huge potential to make savings – on water and in your wallet. Add to that the cost of heating water, which makes up about 25 per cent of the average gas bill, and there are also energy savings to be made too.

We want to support households to reduce their water waste, not restrict their water use.

It’s important to fix faulty plumbing as soon as possible. Thames Water found that on average, fixing a leaking toilet could save 212 litres of water per household per day.

WaterSafe backs the use of plumbing products which use technology to automatically reduce water and energy consumption, often without you even noticing a difference. These include tap and shower aerators, which add air into the water to maintain the flow while using less water.

Along with taps, these products need to be kept clean to support good hygiene. Regularly clean household taps according to the manufacturers’ instructions. After cleaning the tap, run the water for a few moments to remove any disinfectant.

Some water-saving products may be available for free from your local water company. It is worth contacting them to find out what they might be able to provide to make your home or business more water and energy efficient.

Where can I learn more about ways to increase my water efficiency?

WaterSafe is an official partner of a nationwide water-saving campaign with Waterwise – the leading authority on water efficiency. The campaign promotes simple water saving tips for the home, garden, schools, workplace and communities.

The Waterwise Water Saving Week campaign includes five themes, all with daily challenges and water saving tips. You can download the water efficiency campaign packs here:

Water in your school

Water in your workplace

Water in your home

Water in your community

Water in your garden

You can also learn more about how to increase your energy efficiency, including water efficiency, on the Energy Saving Trust website.

How can I identify products to help reduce my water waste?

The Water Label, launched by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, helps plumbers and householders identify water efficient products. It is a simple guide, which works like the energy ratings for appliances, and gives flow rates and volumes of water for taps, showers, baths and toilets. Look out for the Water Label on products or visit the Water Label website.


Winter Advice

How do I protect against frozen pipes?

Cold weather can cause water to freeze. This is a problem because when water freezes in a pipe and turns to ice it expands. As the ice expands, it increases pressure on the pipes and joints, often causing them to split or joints to pull apart.

Check all pipes inside your home and any bare pipes outside your home are lagged and protected before the cold weather comes. Your local plumbing merchants and DIY stores can help you find the right insulation.

WaterSafe plumber Colin Stainer shows you how to quickly and easily insulate pipes in our video.

If you're not confident in doing it yourself, a qualified plumber will be able to help you. Use our postcode search to find a WaterSafe recognised plumber near you.

You can protect your pipes and fittings from freezing by:

  • Insulating all pipes in unheated areas like lofts, roofs, garages and outbuildings.
  • Fitting your water tank with an insulation jacket or alternatively the top and sides of the tank can be wrapped with suitable insulation material.
  • (Don’t place loft insulation under the tank though as this stops heat from the rooms below helping to keep the water in the tank from freezing).
  • Insulate toilet cisterns, water tanks or pipes in exposed places or unheated outbuildings. Better still, if not in use, drain them for the winter.
  • Leaving your heating on a low setting especially if your home is empty for a while.
  • Checking your central heating boiler has been serviced.
  • Finding your stop tap - so you can turn off the water supply quickly if a pipe freezes or bursts. Most are under the kitchen sink, or sometimes in a cupboard, garage or cellar.
  • Turning off your water supply and draining the system if you’re going to be away for a while – a WaterSafe recognised plumber will be able to give you advice.
  • Giving neighbours a key for your home and contact details for someone to help in an emergency if you go away.
  • Repairing leaks at taps or valves as soon as you discover them.

What should I do if a pipe freezes?

If the worst happens and a pipe freezes, then follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off the water supply coming in to your property at the stop tap
  • Open the affected tap to allow the water to escape as it thaws
  • Slowly thaw the pipe with hot water bottles or a hairdryer on a warm setting
  • Never use a naked flame or blowtorch to thaw the pipe.

Call a WaterSafe recognised plumber who is qualified to work with the drinking water in your home if you need help.

What should I do if a pipe bursts?

If a pipe bursts in your home, don’t panic, follow these simple steps:

  • Turn off the water supply coming in to your property at the stop tap and switch off your boiler.
  • Open all your taps to drain the system quickly.
  • Soak up escaping water with towels.
  • Call a WaterSafe recognised plumber who is qualified to work with the drinking water in your home.
  • If water has leaked near your electrics switch them off at the mains.

What else can I do to prepare for winter?

A few extra precautions will help us all keep safe and warm this winter.

Follow these top tips to help beat the winter blues:

  • Keep an eye on family, friends and vulnerable neighbours and offer them advice on insulation in their homes and finding a trusted plumber
  • Keep a bottle of water in stock in case of emergencies
  • If you’re out and about and spot a leaking pipe then please report it to your local water company.

WaterSafe is an official partner of the Government's Get Ready for Winter campaign. For more advice on how to stay healthy, safe on the roads and to sign up for weather alerts this winter visit the Met Office website.

Notification

Do I need to notify my water supplier of planned plumbing work?

Anyone who is planning most types of plumbing work must inform their local water supplier, and gain approval, before they start. The need to notify water suppliers of plumbing work extends to homeowners, landlords, tenants, developers, building managers and plumbers.

Not everyone is aware of the regulations, however, they are in place to ensure the plumbing meets the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws which are designed to keep drinking water supplies safe and healthy.

The regulations apply to many types of domestic and commercial plumbing – from building new houses or extending business premises to everyday work such as installing certain types of bidets or large baths.

Types of plumbing work that must be notified to water suppliers include:

  • Building a house or other property/structure
  • Extending or altering the water system on a non-household building
  • Changing the use of a building or installing water systems, such as rainwater harvesting
  • Installing a swimming pool or pond over 10,000 litres
  • A garden watering system (unless operated by hand)
  • A bath which holds more than 230 litres of water
  • A bidet with an upward spray or flexible hose
  • A pump or booster that delivers more than 12 litres of water per minute
  • A reverse osmosis unit (for cleaning water)
  • A water treatment unit which produces waste water
  • A reduced pressure zone (RPZ) valve assembly or similar
  • Any water system outside a building that is either less than 750mm (0.75 metres) or more than 1350mm (1.35 metres) below ground.

In Northern Ireland and Scotland, notification is also required for:

  • Grey water, recycled water, reclaimed water and rainwater harvesting
  • Water systems for firefighting, including domestic sprinklers
  • A flexible shower hose or other flexible outlet for use with a WC
  • A ‘shower toilet’ or ‘bidet-toilet’ either as part of the WC itself or where as an addition or adaptation of it, a stream of water is provided from below the spillover level of the WC pan for personal cleansing.

In Scotland, there is an additional requirement for notification of any system incorporating a private water supply.

How do I notify my water supplier of planned work?

In many cases, the water supplier will simply need a description, diagram and plan of the work, the contact details of who is authorising it and the plumber’s name and address if an approved plumber is being used. More details can be found on the WRAS website.

If you use a WaterSafe approved plumber, they are able to carry out some types of work without notification. This is because they have specific training in the strict regulations required to install pipes and fittings to supply drinking water.

Getting permission is quick and free, but failure to notify your water supplier could result in extra costs to put poor plumbing right or, worse, contamination of water supplies and a court prosecution.

Download our leaflet about notifying plumbing work.

Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws

What are the Water Fittings Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws?

The Water Fittings Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws are national requirements for the design, installation, operation and maintenance of plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances. Their purpose is to prevent misuse, waste, undue consumption or erroneous measurement of water and, most importantly, to prevent contamination of drinking water. They replaced the former local Water Supply Byelaws, which each water supplier administered for similar purposes for many years and are designed to protect public health and promote the efficient use of water.

What do the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws apply to?

The Water Fittings Regulations and Scottish Water Byelaws apply to all plumbing systems, water fittings and water-using appliances supplied, or to be supplied, from the public water supply. They apply to systems in all types of premises. These regulations apply from the point where water enters the property’s underground pipe. They do not apply to premises without a public water supply connection.

Where can I get a copy of the regulations and further advice?

Copies of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and their Schedules and Statutory Instruments (1999 No.1148 and No.1506) are available from HMSO and on the links below. These apply in England and Wales.

Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 (England and Wales)

Copies of the Byelaws 2014 (Scotland) are available on the link below:

Water Supply (Water Fittings) (Scotland) Byelaws 2014

Copies of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 are available on the link below:

Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

The Government has also published a Guidance Document relating to the Schedules, which is relevant to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is available on the link below:

Guidance document

WRAS publishes the “Water Regulations Guide”, which includes the text of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and Scottish Byelaws, with details water industry guidance and interpretations. WRAS also provides other publications, which are free. For further information visit WRAS.

Water suppliers do not provide a design service for installations, but they will try to answer individual queries from customers, designers, builders and installers about the interpretation of the regulations.

Turning Off Your Water

How do I turn the water off to carry out work in my property?

It's important you check your internal and external stop taps before you start any work on your property.

Your internal stop tap (also known as stop valve or stop cock) is the point where you can shut off the water supply to your home or business.

Make sure you are aware of the location of your internal stop tap, you may need it in an emergency.

WaterSafe plumber Colin Stainer shows you how to find and turn off your stop tap in our short video.

In a home the inside stop tap is usually located under the kitchen sink, but can also be in an airing cupboard or under the floorboards near the front door.

You should be able to operate the valve yourself. Turning the valve clockwise will close it, reducing the amount of water passing through. It may take a few minutes for the water to stop altogether. To turn your water back on, simply turn the valve anti-clockwise.Turn it on and off slowly, never force it. If you over tighten or use excessive force you may damage the stop tap.

If your internal stop tap is not turning or shutting off, you'll need to contact a plumber to help to fix this. To find a plumber near you, use our WaterSafe search.

External stop taps (also known as stop valves or stop cocks) are used to isolate the water supply to your home or business. Ideally it should only be used by a qualified plumber or by the water supplier.

Please note that the external stop tap belongs to your local water supplier and you may need to seek permission to operate the external stop tap even in an emergency. If you do turn off the external stop tap in an emergency you may need to seek permission from your water supplier to turn it back on. Not all water suppliers will give permission to use the external stop tap and if you do operate it and cause damage then you may be liable for repairs.

The external stop tap, is often located near the boundary of a premises under a small cover, about the size of a CD case. If you have a water meter, it will generally be located in the same pit or chamber as the meter. If it appears to be made of a plastic type material it may only require a quarter of a turn to turn off the water. When the lever is in line with the pipe it is on and when across the pipe it is off.

Some properties share a water supply pipe and external stop tap. If you're on a shared supply, remember that turning off the external stop tap will shut off the water supply to all the properties on the same supply. You'll need to let your neighbours know before you shut off their supply so that you can complete your work.

Many external stop taps are in the highway, so you may need to be aware of road traffic and ensure that you do not create a hazard. For example by leaving a stop tap cover open where it may trip up a pedestrian or damage a car.

To shut off the water supply, turn the valve clockwise to close. To turn the water back on, simply turn the valve anti-clockwise. Turn it on and off slowly, never force it. if you over tighten or use excessive force to operate the stop tap you may damage it.

If you're having trouble using the stop tap, it could be that a key is needed to operate it. A universal stop tap key should work for most situations (some water meter housings need a specialist key and you will need to contact your water suppliers if it is not in the meter box), they can be purchased at plumbing merchants. A qualified plumber should also have the tools to operate your external stop tap. To find a plumber near you, use our WaterSafe approved plumbing business search.

Still having problems?

If your plumber can't operate the external stop tap, or you cannot locate it you should contact your  local water supplier.

What should I do if I can't turn off my water supply?

If you're having problems finding or turning off your internal stop tap a plumber can help. Use our postcode search to find a WaterSafe recognised plumber near you.

External stop taps (also known as stop valve or stop cock) can be used to isolate the water supply to your home or business. Ideally it should only be used by a qualified plumber or by the water supplier.

Please note that the external stop tap belongs to your local water supplier and you may need to seek permission to operate the external stop tap even in an emergency. If you turn off the external stop tap in an emergency you may need to seek permission from your water supplier to turn the supply back on. Not all water suppliers will give permission to use the external stop tap and if you operate the external stop tap and damage the stop tap, you may be liable for repairs.

If your plumber has tried all options and you need emergency assistance, you should contact your local water supplier.

Make sure your plumber stays at your property to carry out the internal repairs that may be needed.

What should I do if my internal stop tap is leaking or broken?

Your internal top tap (also known as stop valve or stop cock) is the point where you can shut off the water supply to your home or business. It's important that you check to make sure the tap is working properly every so often, so that in an emergency you can stop the water supply. If it's leaking or broken you'll need to contact a plumber to fix it for you. To find a plumber near you, use our WaterSafe approved plumbing business search.

What should I do if my external stop tap is not working?

External stop taps (also known as stop valve or stop cock) are used to isolate the water supply to your home or business. Ideally it should only be used by a qualified plumber or by the water supplier.

Please note that the external stop tap belongs to your local water supplier and you may need to seek permission to operate the external stop tap even in an emergency. If you turn off the external stop tap in an emergency you may need to seek permission from your water supplier to turn the supply back on. Not all water suppliers will give permission to use the external stop tap and if you operate the external stop tap and damage the stop tap, you may be liable for repairs.

The external stop tap, is often located near the boundary of a premises under a small cover, about the size of a CD case. If you have a water meter, it will generally be located in the same pit or chamber as the meter. If it appears to be made of a plastic type material it may only require a quarter of a turn to turn off the water. When the lever is in line with the pipe it is on and when across the pipe off.

Some properties share a water supply pipe and external stop tap. If you're on a shared supply, remember that turning off the external stop tap will shut off the water supply to all the properties on the same supply. You'll need to let your neighbours know before you shut off their supply so that you can complete your work.

Many external stop taps are in the highway, so you may need to be aware of road traffic and ensure that you do not create a hazard. For example by leaving a stop tap cover open where it may trip up a pedestrian or damage a car.

To shut off the water supply, turn the valve clockwise to close. To turn the water back on, simply turn the valve anti-clockwise. Turn it on and off slowly, never force it. if you over tighten or use excessive force to operate the stop tap you may damage it.

If you're having trouble using the stop tap, it could be that a key is needed to operate it. A universal stop tap key should work for most situations (some water meter housings need a specialist key and you will need to contact your water suppliers if it is not in the meter box), they can be purchased at plumbing merchants. A qualified plumber should also have the tools to operate your external stop tap. To find a plumber near you, use our WaterSafe approved plumbing business search.

Still having problems?

If your plumber can't operate the external stop tap, or you cannot locate it you should contact your  local water supplier.

What should I do if my external stop tap is broken/full of debris?

If you're unable to work your external stop tap you should contact your l ocal water supplier.

Be very careful if clearing out debris as there may be concealed sharp objects.

Misconnections

I have been told that part of the property's drainage is connected to the wrong sewer. What does this mean?

Many houses have two separate sewers:

  • The foul sewer takes waste water from toilets, bathrooms and kitchens to the sewage works for treatment
  • The surface water sewer takes rainwater from the roof and conveys it to a local watercourse (eg river or stream).

If you find that your property has wastewater pipes discharging to a sewer intended for rainwater only, it will cause pollution. This is known as a misconnection and you will need to undertake remedial work to put it right.

The  ConnectRight website provides guidance on what to do to find any misconnections and how to put them right - just use the "check your existing connections" guide.

Who is responsible for correcting a misconnection?

You, as the owner of the property, are responsible for corrective work. If you rent the property then you should contact the landlord who may be the local council, housing association or a private landlord.

Please also advise  your water and sewerage company to stop any further letters being sent to you.

If you own your property, you will be responsible, even if the misconnection was made by a previous owner. You could try to contact the previous owner to see if they would be willing to accept responsibility.

The survey undertaken at the time of your purchase would not have identified this problem unless you specifically asked for a full drainage survey.

What do I need to do to correct the drainage?

This depends on the fault that has been identified by your water company's survey contractor who should have given you advice on the day of their visit.

If you have received a letter from your water company you can contact them using the telephone number provided.

The property survey sketch enclosed with the letter will give you an indication of what is required.

The  ConnectRight website also provides guidance on what to do to check for and put right any misconnections - just use the "check your existing connections" guide.

I have been told that the sewer pipe may be cracked below ground. What should I do?

You should contact your property insurers or drainage insurance company if you have a policy.

The sewer may require a CCTV inspection to confirm the fault. The costs should be shared between the owners of all properties that are connected to the sewer.

Will my water and sewerage company do the work and allow me to pay by my water bill?

It is unlikely your water company will undertake work on private drainage.

The  ConnectRight website provides guidance on how to check your connections and how to correct them - just use the "check your existing connections" guide.

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