[Fixed] Stopcock Turned Off But Water Still Running


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Water tap issues are a frequent occurrence in households, ranging from inconsistent water supply to leakage to water-pressure problems. Today, we will be addressing the stopcock problem, which results in an inability to stop the flow of water.

Have you ever encountered the frustration of turning off the stopcock, but the water continues to flow? This can be a challenging situation for people who lack plumbing knowledge. However, it never hurts to educate yourself on the issue at hand. Basic plumbing knowledge can go a long way in preventing further damage and saving you time and money.

In this guide, I will delve into the topic of the stopcock problem. We will explore the underlying reasons for this issue and provide you with steps on how to resolve it. But before we jump into solutions, let’s learn what stopcock is and how it works. 


How Does Stopcock Work?

A stopcock is a valve that manages the flow of water in a plumbing system. It can typically be found in basements, crawl spaces, or utility rooms and serves to shut off the water supply to the entire house. Additionally, stopcocks can also be located both within the house and outside, such as in gardens or on the street, and are usually covered by a drain lid.

The stopcock is typically controlled manually using a lever or handle and is an important part of the plumbing system of any household. The ones located within the house resemble regular taps, connecting two pipes, and can be operated manually. Meanwhile, the exterior stopcocks require specialized tools and expertise to handle. If the stopcock is turned off, but the water is still running, it can be a sign of a more serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately.


Stopcock Is Turned Off, But Water Is Still Running

Let’s get back to the problem that we are addressing today – the stopcock failing to do its job. The stopcock is an important component that regulates the water supply in a specific area of the house, a room, or the entire building. There are only two reasons why the stopcock might not be functioning properly, and we will examine those reasons.

1. The Stopcock Is Not Turned Off

One possible reason could be that the valve is not thoroughly closed. Double-check that you are turning the correct valve, and try tightening it with a bit more force to confirm this. It’s also essential to find the correct valve if you are trying to control the supply to a certain part of the house or of the entire house. 

2. Malfunctioning Stopcock

A misfiring valve could also be the reason why the water keeps running even after the stopcock has been turned off. There can be several factors behind it, such as corrosion, wear and tear, or debris blocking the movement of the valve. A professional plumber must repair or replace the valve if it cannot completely shut off the water supply.


Replace A Flawed Stopcock: Step-by-step Guide

Before addressing the issue with the stopcock valve; it’s important to note that external stopcocks located under the drain lids or in public areas should not be touched by individuals. These are the government’s responsibility, and any issues should be reported promptly to the relevant authorities.

This guide is for fixing valves located within your home or garden. If you have the necessary tools, it’s a relatively simple process that can be done without the need for professional plumbing assistance.

To fix a faulty stopcock, you will need a few tools and materials:

  • Firstly, you need a new brass stopcock valve. Ensure you get the exact replacement with the same measurements as the old one.
  • You also need a stopcock valve tool, which may vary in type depending on the specific issue.
  • You will require a bucket, towel, or rag to catch any water that may spill during the process.
  • Lastly, you need two adjustable spanners to tighten the connections and ensure everything is securely in place. 


1. Turn off the Main Water Supply – The first step is to completely cut down the water supply to your house. For that, you need to locate the main water supply stopcock, which is usually located next to the road under a drain cover labeled as W or Water. Turn this off to shut down the water supply to your house.  

Note: Typically, a single stopcock regulates the water supply to several houses or floors of a building. Before turning off the main stopcock, it is necessary to get approval from the building management or local authority and inform your neighbors about the operation.


2. Undo the Nuts and Replace the Stopcock – Before you begin working on it, it’s a good idea to have a bucket and towels on hand to catch any water that may escape. Opening all the taps in your house to empty the pipes is also recommended, making your job easier when you start removing the nuts.

Locating the nuts that hold the stopcock in place is simple. However, loosening these nuts can be difficult, requiring a good amount of strength and proper use of tools to avoid damaging either the nuts or the tools. 

Locate the arrow on the side of your stopcock valve. It’s extremely important to align this arrow with the direction of the water flow. Once you have the new stopcock in place, wrap some PTFE tape around the threads of the new stopcock for a tighter fit. It will stop any possible leakage, hence preventing the stopcock from corrosion. 

Check the old nuts and gaskets properly before you screw them back. If they are not usable, cut away the gasket and use the new ones included with the new stopcock. Ensure that the nuts connecting the valve are tightened securely. 

3. Turn the Water Supply On – Once the new stopcock is installed, gradually turn the water supply back on. Start by opening the new stopcock and a few taps, then gradually turn on the rest of the taps to check for any leaks from the newly installed stopcock.

For better understanding, refer to this video guide:


Make Your Stopcock Last Long: The Conclusion

Inactivity for long periods can cause stopcocks to seize, especially in areas with hard water, leading to scale buildup. To avoid this, it’s recommended to regularly turn the stopcock off and on at least once a month. This simple action helps maintain the moving parts free from obstructions and keeps the stopcock functioning smoothly.

This guide is intended to help you resolve issues with a faulty stopcock. Fortunately, replacing stopcocks is a relatively straightforward task that can be accomplished with minimal skill or experience, making it a DIY project.


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