If you’ve ever turned on a tap at home, only to find there’s no running water – you’ll know how worrying, not to mention inconvenient, it can be. But remember, there are a few reasons why there might be no water in your house or apartment. Thankfully, it’s rarely ever anything serious. But here we’re going to look at what you can do if you find your home is suddenly without cold or hot water.

What to do if you have no cold water

It’s easy to forget the privilege of having running water at our disposal – until we no longer have it. But in 21st century homes, running water is essential. Before you go looking for a plumber, though, try these simple checks. You might find it’s something you can fix yourself.

Check with neighbours

If your search for any planned water maintenance in the area has drawn a blank, then pop round and ask the neighbours. They could be having the same problems with their water. If they are, this’ll help pinpoint whether the problem lies within your property’s plumbing or whether it’s a wider issue in the area. Your neighbours might know some more information too. If their water is running fine though, it’s a good excuse to stay for a cuppa and a biscuit.

Check for planned works

Sometimes interruptions to water supply can be down to things like ongoing maintenance or services in your area. So it's always best to check with your local water provider for any scheduled (or unscheduled) disruption.

Start by checking your water supplier's official website for announcements of any planned works. If you don’t know who provides your water, you can find your water supplier here. The website provides real-time updates on planned maintenance or issues that could affect your water supply.

Check for frozen pipes

When the temperature drops below freezing, there’s a greater chance of getting frozen pipes. So if you find there’s no water running from your taps during freezing weather, it could mean there’s a blockage somewhere. Check your pipes, where possible, for cold spots – especially the pipes on exterior walls. If you think you’ve found a frozen pipe, don’t worry, we’ve got everything you need to know about how to fix frozen water pipes.

Run all your taps to check the water flow

If you do have some running water, but it’s barely a trickle – try running all the taps and fixtures in your home at the same time. This will help you work out if the problem’s happening throughout your home or if it’s specific to one particular room. If every tap has a low water flow, it could point to a problem with your plumbing. But if the issue is only happening in one particular room or to one fixture, like the shower for instance, – there could be a leak or blockage in the plumbing of that area.

What to do if you need to turn your water off

Use your internal stop tap

If you’ve got a burst pipe and there’s water leaking everywhere, or if you’ve got any sort of water leak, you should turn the supply off as soon as you can. To do this, you’ll need to find your internal stop tap (also known as a stopcock or stop valve). It looks a bit like a tap handle but without the spout and you’ll usually find it somewhere close to where the water supply enters your home. Have a look for it in utility areas, the basement or under your kitchen sink. Once you’ve found it, you should see that it’s fully open, to allow an unrestricted flow of water into your home. To close it, turn it clockwise until it doesn’t turn anymore. Just remember to open it by turning it back anti-clockwise when you need water again.

What to do if you have no hot water

Finding out that you don’t have any hot water can be almost as annoying as having no water at all. But these suggestions might help show if it’s something you can quickly fix yourself:

  • Check your water heater is on and set to the right temperature
  • Look for any leaks around your heater
  • If you have a gas boiler, check the pilot light is still lit
  • If you have an electric boiler, check the circuit breaker for a blown fuse
  • Make sure that your thermostat settings are all ok

If these checks don't fix the problem, you could have a faulty boiler on your hands. In which case, it’s time to book an expert engineer.

About the author

Dan Flanagan

Dan joined Domestic & General as a Digital Copywriter in 2022. He’s already helped to write and shape copy for our customers and our business audience alike. His background lies mainly in PR and Comms, writing press releases and advertising. Dan lives in Brixton, South London equidistant between the gym and the pub, fighting an eternal battle of wills.

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