Outside tap can't access stopcock

3 Feb 2014
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United Kingdom
Has anybody ever fitted a tap WITHOUT turning off the main supply first? I know this seems stupid, but bear with me. We've got an outside tap which is leaking badly and needs replacing. But the stopcock to it is hidden behind the built in units of the back kitchen. Stupid, but nothing surprises me about the people who fitted our kitchen. To get at it I would need to remove an awful lot of fitting.

So.....I can't turn the water off except by using the stopcock out in the street, which I would rather avoid as my central heating system has had airlocks and they prove a pain to get rid of.

I stress I would never dream of changing an indoor tap without turning off the water! But I thought that outside, if the pressure isn't too great and I don't mind getting soaked then it might be a goer.

Any thoughts?
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Done it and got the wet T shirt to prove it!

If you feel lucky, turn on every other mains tap that will reduce the pressure at the outside one, remember to open the new tap before attempting to screw it on.

Have the new tap wrapped with PTFE before starting. Oh and get someone to film it for You've Been Framed might get you 25 quid!
Get a multi tool and cut out the rear of the kitchen unit to access the stopcock, a diyer will not be able to 'snatch' an external tap.

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That's a bit biased and totally wrong!

Of course a DIYr can do this - we are not made of anything different to tradesmen you know.
You also need to get your central heating looked at if turning the outside stop tap off causes airlocks in it ;)
Turning off the main stop cock in the street should not affect your central heating.
Oh, my bottle's gone. I'm going to turn off the water from outside. I've spent the last hour clearing away leaves, mud etc from around the cover, but since it's getting dark I'm putting off the operation till tomorrow. I'm a bit worried knowing my luck that the stop-cock is seized, or I twist it and the head flies off, flooding the street and ruining my weekend!

Born pessimist. Anybody got any dos or don'ts to pass on?
Before starting,

1 Fill the kettle most important!

2 Let everyone have a wee and let the cistern fill again.

3 put loads of PTFE on you may need several goes to get it tighting in the right place, Locktite 55 has more body for these jobs if you can lay your hands on some but PTFE will do.

4 Hold against yourself when removing and fitting to avoid damage to pipework.

5 Don't let anyone draw hot water if you have a tank in the loft the ballvalve will open and the pipe full of water will drain back on you!

6 Stand back and admire, Oh and let us know how you got on. :D
Turn it off in the street 'If there are any issues then the water company can sort it out because thats their stopcock

This is alot better idea then flooding your House :D :D
This is easy, try changing a stopcock live in someones recently renovated kitchen, with a 5 bar main, fingers crossed your freeze gear will hold long enough.

You should isolate the water anyway, put a iso valve in, so you can turn it off in the winter.
Well, I'm amazed to say it went without a hitch, even down to the home-made stopcock key as recommended by an earlier poster. Had to get rid of accumulated silt, stones etc in the shaft, and thought the water would never turn off, but I was being ultra-cautious when turning the stopcock, probably about a quarter turn a time. In the end I reckoned it had done nearly two complete revolutions before the flow ceased. I was on my own, so no assistant to shout from inside as to how the flow was going !

Thanks a lot to all you guys. Really helpful advice.

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