How much to turn a stopcock?

13 Feb 2010
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United Kingdom
Hi there,
I have a leaking cold tap in my downstairs bathroom. It drips from a nut just under where the pipe is joined to the tap on the underside of the sink (approximately 6-7 litres / day).

It looks crummy and old so I'm reluctant to take a spanner to it in case it snaps. Instead I am waiting for a plumber, the earliest one available is in 5 days. Now, I want to go away for a couple of days so thought I would turn the internal stopcock which is situated right below the bathroom sink.

This worked well when the kitchen tap broke in November. This morning I am only able to turn it a quarter of a turn but it seems to have no effect on the water supply to my bathroom at all -sink, bath or toilet cistern, all flowing with gay abandon when open. Following the pipes from the stopcock, the bathroom is definately 'before' the kitchen so I can't see why the water still flows in the bathroom. All our water is downstairs, and there is only one point of entry for water into the house.

Actually, I've just been to try turning the stopcock again and it won't turn in any direction now... Hmmm. Any ideas or suggestions? Is the stopcock seized up, could there be another tap to turn (none visible)? What should I do next? Thanks.
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Sounds like it's gone for a burton. Try a bit of WD40 -may help.

Failing that, you may be able to turn the supply off from the street (assuming it's a house you live in), which will be necessary anyway if the stopcock needs replacing or maintenance.
Loosening the packing gland under the stopcock handle a bit may free it off so you can close it, but you may get weeping from the gland unless you nip up the nut again afterwards.

The gland can often be re-packed with a piece of PTFE tape rolled into a string, and wound round the valve shaft underneath the gland nut.
Where are you in Bristol? If you're having problems, I am free Monday morning.

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Maybe water is coming from loft header tank? Just a thought - ignore if not the case.
The "jumper" in a stop cock can be pinned or loose, depending on age. It's quite common that they come out of the part which moves up and down, and jam. Turn off in the road and replace :(

(The jumper is drawing-pin shaped with the washer on the flat bit)

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