Getting started

We promised you that we would provide some hints and tips on plumbing. So here is the first in our series of articles on this topic.

Your plumbing system is like most other technical systems though – before you start ‘fixing’ it, you need to know a little about how it works and understand some of the technical terms and jargon. Even if you decide not to do DIY plumbing, knowing some of these things will help you to deal with a professional plumber.

So, let’s start with how the water gets into your house in the first place.

If you are on the UK mainland your home probably has a mains water supply provided by one of the regional water companies. Water travels from the mains pipe via a communication pipe to the water company’s stopcock and water meter (if fitted) on the boundary of your property. The stopcock is usually housed in a ceramic guard pipe under a small metal cover and can be reached using a long turnkey.

Your water service pipe begins here, carrying water into your home. It often enters the home under the kitchen sink. From here it is called the rising main.

Water in the rising main is let into the home (or not) by another ‘stopcock’ – a valve that turns the supply on or off.

It is important that you make sure you know where the stopcock is in your house because if you have a leak in your water system, or you need to do some work on the system, you will need to turn the water off at the stopcock. It is a good idea to take time to find it now if you don’t know where it is – it is much easier to do this now, when you are not in any hurry, than in the middle of the night sometime when there is water pouring through the ceiling from a burst pipe!

Once you have found the stopcock, ensure that it works properly by ‘exercising’  it fully (ie, turning it all the way off and then all the way on) a couple of times a year. Don’t leave it fully on when you have finished exercising – close it by half a turn or so.

If the stopcock won’t turn, or if it leaks, you will need to get it replaced. That is not something you can easily do for yourself. Call Drain Doctor and we will come and do this for you.


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