Direct water system components to know in your home

A little planning pays huge dividends in case of a major water leak. Get familiar with the location of the stopcock in an emergency, how you'd access the water tank, and locate the stop valves on the hot and cold water tanks so you could shut them off quickly.

Direct water system components to know in your home

Direct water system: Most homes have direct water systems where all taps and tanks are fed directly from the water main. Common problems, such as dripping taps and overflows, and blocked sinks and toilets that don't flush properly are jobs you can usually tackle yourself.

Taps: Leaking taps are a fact of life but are easily addressed by tightening nuts or replacing worn washers.

Service valve: These small stopcocks are fitted in pipes close to taps, toilet tanks, showers and washing machines. They allow you to turn off the water supply to the fitting without cutting the supply to the whole house.

Rising main: This pipe carries fresh water from the water main to various parts of the house. Branches usually go to the cold tap in the kitchen and the cold water tank in the attic. The rising main can be a site of condensation, leaks or blockages.

External stopcock: Turning this tap isolates your home from the water main. It is typically found near the border of your property with the street, beneath a metal or plastic plate, or adjacent to a water meter.

Hot water heater: This insulated tank is where water is heated and stored. Noisy cylinders can sometimes be cured.

Fill valves: Present in toilet tanks, fill valves allow water to flow in when the tank is emptied and stop the flow when the water reaches a given level. They can be adjusted to stop overflow.

Main stopcock: This tap — usually in the kitchen, cellar or under the stairs — shuts off the water to the house. Keeping the tap in good order lets you stop the flow fast in an emergency.

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