Getting the chance to go on any holiday is an exciting time for anyone. Whether it is going for a short break to Europe or going to the warm tropical island get away.
We always ensure that we have all our holiday essentials covered:
– Suntan lotion
– Travel insurance
– Lock up the house properly
In all this excitement, we sometimes overlook the simplest things such as ensuring the taps are switched off properly. On your return from holiday looking well tanned and relaxed, you enter your home only to find that your floor is completely drenched in water and the first human instinct is to panic.
After the plumber has left and you have paid him with your last pound from your bank account because you are so skint coming back from holiday (which we are get), you are left with the daunting question to yourself, “why didn’t I think to double check the taps?”
Here are some of my tips to ensure that your holiday remains memorable for the right reasons.
Please read advisory note before following the procedures for turning off your mains water supply.
– Isolate mains water feed to property. In order to do this, you need to know where your mains water supply stopcock is (if in doubt contact a plumber or neighbour). They are usually located under the kitchen sink but for older properties such as in London, they are commonly found under the staircase on the ground floor.
– Once you have located the mains water stopcock to property, you need to turn it off which often is easier said than done. These stopcocks are normally of a brass construction and tend to seize very easily.
– You will need to first spray the stopcock with WD 40 or some other type of lubricant. If you don’t have WD 40 or a similar lubricant (which is preferred) you can use ordinary cooking oil (that’s it, ordinary cooking oil but be careful otherwise you could make a mess by using this option).
– Once you have sprayed/lubricated the stopcock, it will be easier for you to turn it off.
– You need to turn it off in a clockwise direction (DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN).
– If the stopcock is stiff to turn off, you will need to be VERY CAREFUL as mentioned above, these stopcocks are often made of brass or other similar soft metals and YOU DO NOT want it to snap.
– As you turn slightly clockwise, it often becomes very stiff to turn by hand, STOP turning clockwise and turn the tap anti-clockwise to loosen it, re-spray/lubricate again and repeat previous action. Each time the action is repeated, you should be able to turn the stopcock more and more
– Turn on the kitchen tap (cold water only) and after a few seconds the water should stop. THAT’S IT!
If in any doubt, contact a qualified plumber. Do not as mentioned above, over-tighten the stopcock otherwise this could snap in the shut position leaving your property permanently without water. You should not have to use any tools other than your hands and some lubricant as mentioned above. If you cannot turn the mains water supply off by hand, contact a qualified plumber.
If all the above are done, then you should not have any surprises when you get home.
James Watts is an expert in finding a decent plumbing company especially if it is in an Emergency.