What to look for
In many situations an isolating valve will be fitted. This can
be simply adjusted to stop the water getting to the tap or toilet.
You are looking for something like this.
The left hand picture is a close up of what you are looking for.
The screw head in the centre allows water to pass when it is in
line with the pipe. The screw should be quite easy to turn and
if you don't have a screwdriver a small coin will often do the
The centre picture shows a valve in situ. Isolation valves, also
known as service valves, come in a variety of guises. The right
hand picture shows one on the end a flexible tap connector. There
will be one isolation valve per tap/toilet or toilet. Mixer taps
have two valves, one for cold and one for hot.
If there is no isolation valve fitted then you will need to isolate
the water elsewhere. Where exactly depends on the water system
in your house and if it is a hot tap or cold tap/toilet causing
If the problem is a hot tap then call 50plus who will ask you
some questions about your water and heating systems and advise
If it's a cold tap/toilet:
Turn of the main stop cock in the house. If this is not possible
and you are on a water meter turn the water off at the meter outside
the house. If this is also impossible call for help!
If you have a loft tank and your house was not built in the last
20 years or so and the problem is not the kitchen cold tap (in
which case turning off the main stop cock should have stopped
the flow) then there is a strong possibility that the tap or toilet
is fed from a header tank in the loft. In this case to get the
water turned off to the tap or toilet the header tank will need
to be emptied. The actions to take are these:
- Turn off the main stop cock as set out above.
- Turn on other cold taps e.g. in a bath and leave them running.
After about 10 minutes the flow should reduce. Eventually the
tank will empty.
It should now be possible to access the offending tap / toilet
or at least sleep peacefully after having arranged a repair visit.