Check your stop tap as clocks spring forward

As the clocks spring forward on Easter Sunday to mark the beginning of British Summer Time, WaterSafe, the UK register of approved plumbers, advises households to check their stop tap when they change their clocks.

The internal stop tap is the first line of defence against plumbing emergencies.

By turning off the mains water supply, households can help prevent property damage and costly repairs if a pipe leaks or bursts.

However, a survey of 2,000 homeowners revealed 42 per cent of UK residents don’t know how to find and use their stop tap.

Stop taps, also known as stop cocks or stop valves, can often be found under the kitchen sink, or in downstairs bathrooms, kitchen cupboards, garages, cellars, and under the stairs.

WaterSafe advises people to make sure they can operate their property’s stop tap every six months by gently turning it off and back on again. 

Julie Spinks, Director of WaterSafe, explains:

“Testing your stop tap is something we should all do regularly, around every six months.  It’s easy to forget when you last did it, so the clocks changing can serve as a handy reminder.

“We’re urging households to check their stop taps on Easter Sunday when many of us will be changing clocks around our home and to test them again when we turn the clocks back an hour in the autumn.

“Doing this regularly will provide reassurance that you could turn your water supply off in an emergency.”

Lever-type valves (below) should be left fully open, while screw-down stop taps (above) should be turned back half a turn after fully opening, to prevent seizing.

If the stop tap is difficult to turn or doesn’t move at all, contact a WaterSafe-approved plumber for advice.

There are almost 8,000 WaterSafe-approved plumbers and other drinking water contractors listed in our online directory.

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