My internal water shut off for the house has stopped working. So I'm using the one just outside my house on the street to cut water to my house.

Thing is that one is faulty too, it doesn't fully stop the water to my house.

  1. Am I allowed to use the external water board tap?

  2. If I tell them it needs replacing, they'll know I've been using it, so could they assume I've damaged it, or replace it with a locked cover?

  • 2
    If the external cut-off valve doesn't work your utility should fix it at no cost to you, I had mine stop working and Thames Water fixed it that same day. There's no reason you can't use
    – GdD
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 11:59
  • That said, it shouldn't be a regular thing. Get the water company to fix the street valve then shut that off and repair/replace your main inside valve. If there's a leak at 3am, it's bad enough to have to find the main inside valve, you don't want to also have to find your coat & shoes and the kerb key and run outside to shut it off at the main.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 19, 2021 at 12:01

1 Answer 1


I think it should be fine to use the one outside to shut off your water. It is recommended to use the inside stop valve but if that is broken or if the leak is in the section of pipe between the outside valve and the inside one you can use the outside valve. Also check that your outside valve isn't shared with a neighbour which is sometimes the case.

At least in my area the water company provides instructions on how to use the outside stop valve, see https://www.thameswater.co.uk/help/emergencies/how-to-turn-your-water-on-and-off/how-to-find-and-use-your-outside-stop-valve .

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