The first port of call when you have a plumbing or heating emergency, your stopcock is the gateway to your water supply.
If you discover a leak from your stopcock you should contact your local plumbing engineer or, if you’re familiar with DIY plumbing, attempt to fix it yourself, following the steps below.
Tighten the compression nuts
Once you’ve located the stopcock, usually to be found under the kitchen sink, check to see where the water is leaking. If water appears to be dripping from the compression nuts, try tightening the nut on the body of the stopcock, using an adjustable wrench.
Be careful not to over-tighten the stopcock in case this restricts its ability to open and close.
Replace the gland packing
If tightening the compression nuts fails to stop the leak, you’ll need to inspect and replace the gland packing.
Before you start it’s worth buying some gland packing from your local DIY store. To begin, turn off the water supply and locate and unscrew the gland nut. Once this is done, you can remove the old packing with a sharp object such as a penknife.
Insert the new packing, and grease the twine with petroleum jelly before winding clockwise around the spindle. Pack it down tightly and then return the gland nut to its original position.
Once you’re confident the gland nut is on tight, turn your water supply back on by opening the stopcock.