External Stop tap, Plumber not able to turn off external stop tap and Yorkshire Water won't help

14 Nov 2023
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United Kingdom
Hi, I hope you can help.
We have a dripping kitchen tap and called our plumber to fix it. He tried to turn off the water using the internal stop tap but it was not turning off the flow.
He went to the external stop tap located outside of the the property with the meter in the pavement and was unable to turn the water flow off there either.
He advised us to call Yorkshire Water (YW) to sort the external stop tap. I contacted YW who said since May this year, although they accept responsibilty for the external stop tap, they no longer repair external stop taps unless there is serious flooding or a heath risk. They advised us to contact a firm called CET who will freeze the internal pipe to allow us to change the internal stop tap. This will cost £279.
Our plumber ( on a yearly maintenance contract ) is reluctant to do this himself if the external stop tap cannot be turned off. He says freezing doesn't always work and we could left with a lot of water in the kitchen. We feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. My questions are:
Are our plumbers concerns valid?
Would a local plumber who would undertake to freeze the pipe charge as much as £279 if we needed to employ someone else or do we need to bite the bullet and go with CET? I cant believe a dripping tap has become so complicated to fix ! All suggestions gratefully received
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One of these and a new lever valve:

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A good chunk of our work is in Yorkshire Water area.
What you describe is correct re stop taps.
Zero consultation with trade we went from give them a call and regularly get stop taps repaired/cleared same day to current policy.
No huge hassle for us we have both electric and co2 freezing kit.
Just for reference most hire firms have electric freezing kit probably better option than gas if your a diyer.
Cost normally around £40 a day
Thanks Exedon, not proposing to do it ourselves. Just surprised our contracted firm ( we pay a monthly fee for boiler and plumbing cover) have been reluctant to use a freezer kit and told us it is risky.
So that's £230 + vat.
Attend, bring along freezing kit, supply and fit a new valve, take on the responsibility of freezing and working on an open water main.
I don't think that's too bad.
Thank you Rogue Trader, I am not disputing the price if we need to pay but in the past the water company would normally sort the external tap. Our home care package which we have been with for many years will usually fix things internally and we usually pay them for parts ( this hasn't happened very often) . So I suppose I am surprised that they are reluctant to actually use a freezer kit and are telling us that it is risky. I think that has panicked us a little bit and I suppose I feel we are paying twice if we have to go with another company
I'd probably make a complaint to ofwat about yw refusal to repair what's in the street as it is there responsibility.

Id imagine your contract plumber will do the job with a freeze kit if you push it but will want you to sign a waiver accepting liability if it doesn't work out, I'd guess cet will want the same waiver too.
1. Use an electric freezer. If you can, use two freeze heads at least 12 inches apart.
2. Let the freezer run until it says -30 on the heads or display. And there is frosting on the pipe half an inch or more either side of the freeze head(s)
3. Turn on the kitchen cold tap. If no water comes out (after the run off from higher pipework) the freeze is good.
4. Provided there is no power failure, you are good for as long as it takes.
5. If there is a power failure, you are good for about 15 minutes. Plenty of time to cap it or put on an isolation valve.
6. Have a decent isolation valve ready to go on. Full bore lever operated one.
7. Don't put the freeze head too near where you are going to cut the pipe, or if you have to, get rid of any residual water between the cut and the head. Otherwise that water will freeze and make it difficult to get a fitting on.
When the plumber tried to turn off the internal stopcock, was there a lot of water passing through or just a trickle?

I am not a plumber but a few years ago I fitted a new bathroom for a mate. His stopcock wouldn't completely close and we couldn't find the external/street stopcock.

I ended up opening all of the mains fed taps to reduce the pressure, cut the pipe I needed to and quickly put a lever value on the pipe.

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