Turning off main water outside house

11 Jan 2009
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United Kingdom

Need to turn off to do some repair work on stopcock in house. Photos show current status of inspection
chamber in pavement. I genuinely can’t see a valve to turn, even if I had the long key. Is it down there somewhere?

Many thanks
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Not sure I can see a foam cover down there. Seems so far away you need a telescope to see anything.
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Just ring your water co. and plead ignorance - other than knowing it's their tap down there ;) P.S Longshanks but short arms ?

Will have a go with hose and old soup ladle tomorrow.

I think you should save up and buy a torch.

mud and grit may have buried the tap handle.

A wet and dry vac will suck it out if you can poke at it to loosen it. Or a long kitchen spoon. A ladle may be to big to work with. I clean mine out every couple of years. Once you have exposed the valve and cleaned out the hole, one of these will turn it. It will fit two sizes of "T" handle, and two sizes of square shaft. I think in domestic properties, the "T" handle is more common. I think mine is made by Rothenburg.

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I am lucky enough to have a big one as well, which needs a bigger key.

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All my pits used to be full of mud and grit, but I cleaned them out with a garden trowel. I probably have more room than you. The time to clean them is before you need to shut them off fast in an emergency.
I'm all for DIY but there comes a point where it starts to get a bit silly. Hire a decent local plumber to isolate the stoptap in the street and replace your internal stoptap.

Sorry, it appears this thread has split into two - above advice is for the OP. For the other poster, assuming your existing internal stoptap is in good condition I fail to see what "emergency" you could have between your tap and the one in the street other than a puddle in your garden till a plumber or the waterboard (if there's a problem with the street tap) isolate the supply and repair the leak.

Further update on this. I know I’ve only gone down 600mm, but just sand and soil so far. I appreciate stopcock can be anywhere between 750mm and 1350mm down, but can someone give me the likely depth of mine based on photos provided. Estate is Wimpey, built 1981.

Aside from needing long key, I’m not sure how much earth I’ll be able to remove? (Used measuring bowl strapped to thin dustpan brush) Do the water companies just leave sand, and plonk key straight through, knowing exactly where key is?? Also, is it usually in middle or on side of hole etc?

Many thanks for helping me out.
Up in Scotland the valve could be anywhere centre of the hole or against the edge also not necessarily pointing straight up could be at an angle
consider the wet-and-dry vac option. It might save you a lot of time.

A cheap one will do because if it goes wrong on this job, you can take it back.

This one
is cheap and has an automatic power socket that is very useful in the workshop with circular saws and other dusty tools.

I wouldn't use a domestic vac. They aren't as powerful and it may be damaged.

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