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Urgent - leaking stopcock and damp wall

(36 Posts)
stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:15:52

Hi MNs, do I need to get a plumber out to fix this asap?

I have a leak and a nasty damp wall in my airing cupboard, which I've only just noticed - don't know how long it's been there but I only moved in 6 months ago (mortgaged flat) and haven't noticed it before.

My stopcock is leaking at the tap point itself. I've turned it slightly to the right a few turns and the leak seems to have slowed down but I am fearful of doing much else in case I cock up the water supply - I am totally clueless about this!

Please look at these pics and advise - many thanks!

Also, how much does anyone think it will cost me to correct the damp problem on the wall? Thanks!

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:22:04

Sorry, on the stopcock pic, the water is dripping out at the bottom of some kind of nut at the end of the tap shaft, where you can see that kind of greeny triangle shape. Apologies for complete lack of knowledge as to the correct technical terms!

HeyMacWey Mon 08-Dec-14 14:22:13

Short term - get some of this stuff to stop the drip. And a bowl.

www.maplin.co.uk/p/self-amalgamating-waterproof-tape-10m-black-kw29g

HeyMacWey Mon 08-Dec-14 14:23:48

Is that an electric cable coming out of the wall on picture 1?

piggychops Mon 08-Dec-14 14:28:25

There should be another stopcock in the garden somewhere or in the pavement - ours is in a flowerbed in the front garden.It needs a special tool to turn it off.

specialsubject Mon 08-Dec-14 14:29:52

yes, you need a plumber. It would also help if you knew where the next 'off' tap (outside meter?) although the plumber will probably have a solution if you don't.

I don't like the look of that electrical cable!

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:30:46

HeyMacWey - Yes I think it is an electric cable. Thanks for the suggestion of the tape. Do B&Q sell this tape or ordinary DIY shops?

piggy - I live in a top floor flat in a large block so wouldn't know where the other stopcock is!

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:33:40

Thanks special. Yeah, the cable looks dodgy. I've no idea what it's for.

Anyone know of the best way to find a reasonably priced plumber in my area?

Quitelikely Mon 08-Dec-14 14:38:33

You need piglet john. He comes on here and knows all about this stuff. Or maybe another mumsnetter has a plumber dh who can help.

Stay away from the cable!

HeyMacWey Mon 08-Dec-14 14:39:48

Yep - screwfix or somewhere like that will sell it.
Do you know any of your neighbours? Perhaps you could ask them for a recommendation? Or ask on mnlocal?

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:40:04

Thanks quitelikely. The water has been dripping on to the cable and I haven't been tempted to dry the cable!

I've wrapped a hand towel round the stop cock leak for now while I go out and try to find this waterproof tape recommended by a PP.

specialsubject Mon 08-Dec-14 14:47:24

I know surveys don't do all electrical checks but wasn't that cable picked up?

contact the block manager/freeholder to find out where the main stopcock is - you ought to know anyway. They may even have a pet plumber that they can recommend.

when you have your new stopcock, open it fully then close it a bit. And move it every six months to prevent it jamming in future.

HeyMacWey Mon 08-Dec-14 14:51:20

The tape is stretchy rather than sticky so when you wrap it round the leak you need to stretch it out as you wrap it round iyswim?

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:55:59

Thanks Special and HeyMacWey.

I will ring the freeholders and ask about recommendations for plumbers.

As for the survey - that's a very sore point. Because I bought a flat that was only 9 years old I was told by a couple of people that a survey was a waster of money, so I just got a valuation. The biggest mistake ever - and no doubt what will turn out to be my most expensive, I expect. Lesson learnt.

B&Q is just up the road from me, as is a plumbing business. I might pop in and show them my pics as they are on my phone.

stargirl04 Mon 08-Dec-14 14:56:34

I meant "waste of money"....

Quitelikely Mon 08-Dec-14 14:57:54

Oh and take your phone with pictures if poss as I'm sure someone in the store might have a technical background.

CheeseBadger Mon 08-Dec-14 15:38:18

I can't see clearly in those pictures, but is the "cable" you're talking about yellow and green? If so, it's the local earth. Nothing to worry about if it gets wet. Well, not in electrickery terms at least...

MinceSpy Mon 08-Dec-14 15:44:44

Thats been leaking for a while. I use checkatrade to find local trades people and have been satisfied. It would also be worth ringing your buildings insurance provider first as this looks like it might be expensive.

piggychops Mon 08-Dec-14 15:59:42

If the flat is under 10 years old would it be covered by a house builders guarantee thing?

roneik Mon 08-Dec-14 17:40:21

The stop cock costs only a few pounds, if you could turn the water off outside it would only take a few minutes to replace. It looks to me like water is coming up the threads of the tap. You could try tightening that base nut. Usually nothing in the way of repair is practical. Old style plumbers uses to wrap hemp round the thread to stop water getting pass. Stop cocks are compression fit , as that one is looking reasonably new you may very well get away without changing the olives (compression rings. )Probably best to get a plumber as if you had to cut the olives off then the descrepency has to be has to be made good. Sometimes you can get away with not changing the olive , but if the tap compression olive varies from the present one you may have to . Usually you can pull a bit of the supply pipe to compensate for cutting the bit of pipe that the olive is compressed to.

roneik Mon 08-Dec-14 17:45:44

If you do tackle the job you will need a stop cock and a mole grip wrench to hold the body of the stop cock , and another spanner to tighten the compression nuts. You may need a hacksaw to cut the plastic pipe . The olives should come with the stop cock. Dont try to replace unless you know you can pull about 2 inches of supply pipe inwards from outside. That is if the olives need replacing.

roneik Mon 08-Dec-14 17:53:43

The reason for the mole grips is that quiet a lot of pondage on the compression nut has to be exerted to compress the olive into the nut to create a water tight seal. Without the moles the stop cock assembly would turn as you tightened the compression nut. This is not a difficult task for a diyr

roneik Mon 08-Dec-14 17:54:10

poundage nm of torque

PigletJohn Mon 08-Dec-14 19:48:45

Looking at your third photo, it would appear that the tap is leaking from the spindle where it passes through the gland. You will observe a small nut, smaller than your finger, round the spindle. This is called the gland. It is slightly tapered where it screws into the tap so it presses more tightly against the spindle.

There is no need to buy a new tap. Sticky tape is no good for this job.

The spindle nut will be about 10mm, and, using a well-fitting spanner, you can tighten it a quarter-turn or so. This is a simple tightening job, just maintenance. You can do it with a tiny wrench about four inches long, just using the strength of your fingers. With so little force you can hold the tap steady with your hand. Jamjar lids need more strength. You will feel it move easily at first, when it feels tight (but as if it would move further) stop. Turn the tap open and closed a couple of times, you will feel it turns a bit more stiffly because the spindle is now gripped more tightly.

The stopcock appears to be quite new. Perhaps it has bedded in a bit. If you were to buy a new one you would probably have to tighten it in a few months.

PigletJohn Mon 08-Dec-14 19:58:06

(If it was very old and worn out, you could add a bit of new packing round the spindle, under the gland, but yours is quite new so I do not believe you need to do that, nor to hook out the old packing)

This is quite a good video, but you only need to do the tightening shown 3:28 to 3:40. The spanner he is using is too big and could apply too much force. I prefer a neater way of using tape than he does.

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