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It’s important to fix a leaking tap as the drips can eventually damage the sink or bath.
If a tap is still spluttering or not flowing after you’ve drained and refilled your system this is usually because of trapped air. Attach a garden hosepipe to the kitchen cold tap (or any tap if you have a direct system) and the other end to the affected tap. Turn both taps on and leave for a few minutes. The mains pressure should force the air out of the system but you may have to repeat it a few times
Grease build-up and food particles can cause water to drain slowly from your sink or not at all. If it isn’t draining at all, there’s a complete blockage so follow these steps:
Avoid over-tightening so it’s not difficult to unscrew in the future and you don’t damage the seal. If nothing is blocking the waste trap, the blockage may be further along the waste pipe, so use a drain probe to clear the blockage
You need to find the internal stop valve (also known as the stop tap or stopcock). This controls all water flow into your home and is usually found under the kitchen sink. It can also be in a utility cupboard, the garage or under the stairs.
As they’re not used very much, they can seize up which could cause problems in an emergency. Turning the valve clockwise will close it, stopping the water flow. Turning it back will restart the flow. Always turn it slowly and avoid over-tightening it.
It’s often located near the boundary of your property under a small CD-sized cover. If you have a water meter, it’s often in the same place. Not all properties have their own stop valve and older homes and flats often have communal ones.
The external stop tap belongs to your local water supplier and you may need permission to operate it, even in an emergency. Not all water suppliers will give permission to use the external stop tap and if you operate it and cause damage, you may be liable for repairs.
Look out for gaps, mould and degradation on bath and shower seals. Leaks not spotted in these areas can cause significant damage that can affect other rooms (and lead to a large plumbing bill). Replace sealant every three years (or earlier if you spot any concerns) to avoid these issues.
A higher than expected water bill may suggest a leak. Check for leaks by doing the following:
Act quickly! Turn off the electricity at the main power switch and the water supply at the main stop valve. Put containers down to catch the water if possible, then either call a plumber or fix the problem yourself if you feel completely confident in doing so.
Turn off the electricity at the main power switch and the water supply at the main stop valve immediately. Put containers down to catch the water and turn on all the taps, then flush the toilets to drain the pipes and cold water cistern. Now investigate the problem and decide if you need to call a plumber or whether you can fix the issue yourself.