Advice on stopcock replacement & garden tap

13 Jun 2019
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United Kingdom
I was hoping to get some general advice for some work I'm planning to have done. I'd like to have a good plan of what I want before I start getting quotes.

I want to replace the bathroom suite soon. The bathroom is directly above the kitchen and the pipes go from under the kitchen sink and up the wall behind a cabinet. The pipe work going up the wall is old plastic stuff so I might as well get that replaced while we're tearing things up. I'm also planning to get the kitchen redone soon, so if I have to remove that cabinet for now it won't be the end of the world. I hate it anyway.

That leads to two things that have always annoyed me about this house. The main water stopcock is very close to the floor and nearly blocked by the kitchen cabinet - the bottom of the cabinet had to be cut to fit around it. I also find it extremely difficult to turn. There's also no tap outside in the garden. So if I'm spending a lot of money on plumbing and making a big mess I'd like to get a stopcock that's a bit easier to access and turn and install a tap outdoors while I'm at it.

I've searched a bit and came across the Surestop remote tap switch but it doesn't look very reliable. Is there another kind of easier to turn stopcock that I could ask for? Are the lever valves suitable? And is there any reason why it can't be moved to be a bit higher up? I'd like to future proof the house a little bit so that as I get more decrepit I can still turn the water off if needed.

Is it a huge job to install an outdoor tap or is it mostly a matter of drilling a hole through the brick and installing the appropriate bits?

Are these two things likely to add a huge extra cost to getting the plumbing redone?
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No reason the stoptap cannot be moved higher up, problem with stoptaps is, they are not touched until they are needed, by which time they have seized up! Ideally all valves should be exercised regularly to keep them free. Some fit lever valves, I dont see why that shouldn't be an option if you've room.

Outside tap, yes, hole through wall, some form of isolation valve internally and a double check valve either before or in the tap. Pipework needs to be able to be drained for frost precautions. If Plumber is already on site doing the other work, these should be simple jobs to do, and not add too much to the bill.
Cool, thanks. Sounds like it wouldn't be too much extra hassle & cost. I am ok with a lot of DIY stuff but plumbing is not my forté.

The stop tap is undoubtedly siezed up as I avoid turning the water off because it's such a pain! A lever a bit higher up would be much easier to deal with. Presumably an isolation valve inside the house would allow for the garden tap to just be left slightly open in the winter to prevent freezing? But hopefully I'll be hiring a good plumber who knows how to do it properly...
Garden tap, isolate the supply and if it's been installed properly, drain the pipework down. Empty pipes cant freeze.
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Surestop: It's a nice idea but it will restrict the flow. To try to avoid this as a problem we fitted a 22mm unit instead of 15mm. I was disappointed to find the flow at the kitchen tap (first branch off the main) was reduced by about 20% - from 16.8 l/min to 13.2 l/min. The shower was distinctly inferior too. I've relegated the Surestop to just controlling the garden tap from inside.

I'm not sure about this but I think the 22mm Surestop has identical internals to the 15mm unit. In other words it's just the connectors that are different between these units.

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