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No Water In House: What You Should Do

Although it’s not common that you’ll find yourself with no water in the house, you never know what’s round the corner these days. We’ve prepared a simple guide to help you out if you’re experiencing low water pressure, or simply no water supply at all!


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If you have no water in your house or your water pressure is low, before taking action you should test if the issue affects all of your taps. If when you test the taps some allow water to flow, but others do not, or the problem seems to be isolated to a single area, then the problem lies with your home's plumbing system rather than your water supplier.

No Hot Water But Have Cold Water

If you have no hot water but have cold water in your house then you may need to take a look at your boiler. The primary things you are looking for here are:

  1. Is your boiler turned on? If not, turn it on according to the brand-specific instructions.
  2. How is the pressure? The pressure bar should be on the number one, or in the green section. If it is higher, you may need to relieve pressure to make your water pressure low again, following the manual's guidance.
  3. Is the pilot light one? If not, you may need to reignite this. This is simple to do, but take care to use your supplier’s boiler guide carefully to avoid errors.

If you still have no hot water but have cold water, then you need to contact a gas safe engineer, as the low water pressure seems to be related to your boiler rather than supply.

Step 1: Checking The Stop Tap

water meter

This is one of the first steps you should take if you have no water in your house. Your stop tap (also known as a water valve or stopcock) is a small tap attached to your water supply pipe.

How Do I Find The Stop Tap?

The stop tap will usually be located at the earliest point that water enters the property, such as beneath the kitchen sink, in a utility cupboard, in the garage, or in the garden. If your property has a water meter, the stop tap will likely be close to this.

In some cases, a property can have several stop taps which can be used to isolate individual rooms and ensure that they have no water flow in your house - a handy function if an area of the house is having work done.

Blocks of flats also have a master stop tap that is usually located in a central utility or meters room. Individual flats then have their own stop taps to control their flow without turning off the water for the entire building.

I've Found The Stop Tap. What Now?

Your water stop tap is very simple to use. Turning it clockwise until it no longer moves will ensure no water flows into your home. Turning it anti-clockwise will allow it to flow again.

If your water has stopped flowing or you are experiencing low water pressure, your stop tap may not be fully open. Check to see if your stop tap allows you to turn it any further anti-clockwise, but avoid forcing it if it will not move, as this could cause damage to the tap or water pipes.

What About A Surestop?

Sometimes, instead of having a stop tap, there may be a device attached to your water pipe such as a Surestop. A Surestop essentially fills the same role but with the aim of making the process more accessible.

For example, instead of there being a turnable tap, a button may be used instead, and the control can be placed in a more convenient location rather than in an awkward position such as under a sink. These are more common in places such as nursing homes.

Worried about how much you're paying for your water? Sometimes we notice something odd on our bills when it's a little higher than it ought to be. This could be due to a problem with a slow leak or something else that is causing your water usage to be higher than it should be. Check out our guide on water rates to see how you should be billed fairly.

Step 2: Check For Frozen Pipes

slow tap

Weather and temperature can also be potential factors in having no water in your house or low pressure. If it is very cold, ice can form in your water pipes and cause a blockage, particularly if they are external or in a garage.

Have A Look At The Pipes

If you suspect this could be a cause of your low pressure or no water in your house, you should take a look at your water pipes. You may need to remove protective wrapping or lagging surrounding the pipe to be able to clearly see them.

If you have external pipes that don’t have any form of protective cladding, purchasing some can help in preventing pipes freezing over in the future. If an ice blockage has formed, the piping around this area will look frosty.

Melt The Ice In The Pipes

If there is ice trapped in the pipe, then firstly you need to turn off your water stop tap to make sure no water is flowing. Once this is done, you should apply hot damp towels or a hot water bottle to the frozen area of piping.

Once the towels or hot water bottle have cooled, repeat the process again to further melt the ice. After this, you should turn on your stop tap. You should now have flowing water. If the situation has not changed, you can retry the process.

Caution! It is important to note that boiling water should not be applied directly to the frozen water pipes, as this could cause distortion or damage to the pipes. If the problem persists, you should contact a qualified plumber.

Step 3: Ask The Neighbours

phone

One way to discern if the problem relates to your home's plumbing, or if it is a supply issue affecting the area is to check with your neighbour

If your neighbour is experiencing a similar problem, then this implies that there may be a supply outage for the area. If they do not have the same issue, then this suggests that the problem is likely localized within the borders of your property.

Some properties or blocks of flats can have a communal stop tap or shared water pipes. In which case your neighbour or property manager may have turned their tap off to complete some form of work or repair, which would also inadvertently result in having no water in your house.

Is There A Problem In Your Area?

Suppliers will sometimes cease the water flow to an area if they are undertaking mandatory repairs or system upgrades. Where possible, they will endeavour to inform those who they believe will be affected in advance by letter.

If you believe you may be experiencing a supply outage, you can check your provider’s website. Most water suppliers have a section on their website called “In Your Area” or “Active incidents”, which will detail any ongoing repairs or known faults, and give an estimated time of repair.

If you do not see a reported incident, you can usually let your supplier know by either submitting an incident report form, reaching out to them on social media or by giving them a call.

If you are uncertain of who your water provider is, then you can find out by selecting your region and city or town in our water directory.

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Step 4: Check The Cold Water Cistern

Some properties store water in a cistern, which regulates the flow of water to the boiler. On rare occasions, the ball valve within the cistern can get stuck, which would cause the tank to empty, resulting in having no water flow to your taps.

This is an easy fix; just pull the float arm until it’s free, clean it, and then replace it. This should cause the tank to start refilling and allow water to reach your taps again, fixing your water supply problem.

No Water In House Caused By Leaks

leaking water

Having water leaks could cause low water pressure or having no water in your house, along with potentially causing damage to your property. Here is what you should do if you suspect you may have a leak:

  1. Check your pipes and taps. If you find a pipe that seems wet or is visibly dripping, then this should be replaced as soon as possible. It may have eroded, encountered a blockage, or a washer could have degraded.
  2. Search for telltale signs if the water leak is not obvious (such as a dripping pipe that can be easily replaced). Some telltale signs can include a dripping sound (particularly when using water appliances), a damp smell, if the walls feel damp to touch, or warped doorways and floors.
  3. Turn off the stop tap if you think you have found a water leak, to prevent further water damage.
  4. Turn off your heating system if you believe the water leak may be coming from there. Simply turn the shut-off valve of the boiler to the off position, run your hot water taps to drain the system, and turn off the boiler at the mains.
  5. Turn off your power at the mains. If the leak appears to be near electrical outlets or appliances, you need to remove the risk of electrocution or damaging of appliances. Water and electricity do not mix.
  6. Call a professional plumber. A plumber will be able to locate the water leak, advise on how it can be repaired, and assist you in this process.

If you feel that a water leak may have damaged any electrical outlets you should additionally contact an electrician, or if it has affected your energy meters you should contact your energy provider.

Home Insurance It may also be a good idea to contact your home insurer or look into getting home insurance in the future to ensure that you have any assistance that you may need to help get your home back on track, and your water flowing as it should.

Corroded Water Pipe or Tap?

house

Due to the materials used in the water network and minerals such as calcium or magnesium present within your water. Over time your pipes can experience corrosion or the build-up of sediments. Eventually, this can culminate in low water pressure or even having no water in your house.

When this happens there are two primary courses of action:

  1. If you are able, the relevant pipe or tap can be disassembled (after turning off the water stop tap) and cleaned with a brush to dislodge any sediment.
  2. In the case that the tap or pipe has eroded beyond reasonable repair, then it may be time to replace that element. Most hardware stores stock these standard parts and can provide advice on how to carry out this replacement.

If you don’t feel comfortable carrying this out yourself, you should contact a qualified plumber to check that this is the cause of the issue and to complete the repair itself.

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Water Pipe Repairs: Who Is Responsible?

water meters inside house

The short answer is that it depends on where the fault is. As a rule, anything in the street is the responsibility of the water provider, and anything that happens within your property or its land is either your responsibility or that of your landlord or letting agency. If you are a renter, then it is worth checking your tenancy contract to double-check who exactly is responsible for the repair.

If you have no water or a pressure issue caused by a pipe in the street, for example, if the water pipes are irregularly sized which in turn means that your properties water lacks sufficient or variable pressure, then this would be the responsibility of the local water networks provider.

For problems that occur within your property boundaries, you would usually have to contact a plumber to handle the repairs, whereas if the problem originates in the street, this would be the responsibility of your water supplier to repair.

Here’s a table showing the different water related problems that can occur and who is responsible:

Location Authority Responsible
Highways County Council Highway Department
Groundwater Local council or Landowner
Rivers and watercourses Environmental agency or Landowner
Coastal and Tidal Environmental agency
Public Sewers Your Water Company
Private Sewers Homeowner

If you're worried about how much you're paying for your water, you should do your reseach so you know you're paying the right amount. Check out our guide on the average UK water bill to make sure you're not overspending on water.

No Water In House Complaints

bill for water repairs

If you need to make a complaint about how your water company has handled your no water in house situation, you should definitely confirm if they are the ones responsible for dealing with the issue. Once you have confirmed that, you should contact your water company’s complaints department.

Each water company has its own complaints procedure, however if you are unhappy with the way they have handled your case or they haven’t responded within 8 weeks, you should take the complaint up with the Consumer Council for Water (CCW).

For longer term complaints, the Water Redress Scheme (WATRS) is available for dealing with ongoing disputes. Do not be tempted to contact the water regulator Ofwat about your complaint since they will be unable to help. Check out our guide on Ofwat and its role in the UK’s water sector.

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Who supplies my water? Call Selectra — Find Out and Sort Home Bills.

Talk to the Selectra team to find out who and sort out other home bill queries while you're at it.

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