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What do I do if I have no water?

There’s nothing worse than going to turn on the shower or fill the kettle only to discover… there’s no running water! Here, we’ll answer the question 'what do I do if I have no water?' and walk you through how to fix some common problems that might be causing it.

I have no water in my house

Discovered you have no water in your house? There are two things you’ll want to do first:

  1. Check all of your taps
  2. Ask your neighbours if their supply is down too

If there’s no water coming from any of your taps and your neighbours also have no water, the chances are the issue is related to your water provider – for instance, there could be a burst water main.

You can get in touch with your water provider to report any issues or to check for an update on what’s happening. They should be able to let you know how long it will take to fix the issue, and they’ll do their best to get your water back as soon as possible.

However, if you’re the only one in your neighbourhood affected, the lack of water is probably down to a plumbing issue. We’ll talk you through some of the potential causes here, and look at how you might be able to fix them.

What causes no water in a house?

There are lots of issues that could be causing you to have no water in your house. These include:

  • Stopcock closed
  • External stop valve closed
  • External stop valve leaking
  • Frozen pipes
  • Clogged pipes
  • Stuck ball valve in your cold water cistern
  • A major leak somewhere in the home

There are some steps you can take to try and fix some of these common issues. However, contacting a plumber is often the fastest and most reliable way of fixing the problem. After all, they’re trained professionals who know what they’re looking for!

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How to turn water back on

How to turn your water back on will depend on the reason your water stopped. Here are some troubleshooting tips and solutions for some common scenarios.

Stopcock closed

Your stopcock, or inside stop valve, is the indoor tap that controls the mains water coming into your home. It’ll often be under your kitchen sink. If your stopcock is closed, or not fully open, it will be stopping the flow of water from entering your home in the first place.

To check it, turn your mains tap (normally the cold tap in your kitchen) on low. Make sure the stopcock valve is turned all the way anti-clockwise. If the issue was with your stopcock, you should see water starting to run.

Outside stop valve closed

Your outside stop valve will look a bit like a small drain, and will often have a ‘W’ or ‘water’ written on the top. It’s normally located near the boundary of your property (in fact, you’ve probably seen it when you’ve been mowing the lawn) – although some houses share their water supply with neighbouring homes.

To make sure the valve is fully on, you can open up the cover and turn the valve all the way anti-clockwise. If this was the issue, your mains tap should now start running!

Frozen pipes

If the weather’s been particularly cold lately, it’s possible that your lack of water could be due to frozen pipes. A frozen blockage can cause a whole host of troubles besides just stopping your supply of water, so you’ll want to deal with this quickly.

If you’ve got a modern condensing boiler, it’s likely that your condensate pipe is the one that’s frozen. This is the plastic pipe that you can see coming from your boiler. Find it outside your property and pour hot water over it to melt the ice inside.

Fingers crossed, this should cause your water to start running again as normal! Read our guide on how to prevent frozen pipes to prevent it from happening again.

What causes no water in house

The ball valve in your cold water cistern is stuck

Another potential cause of your lack of water could be in your cold water cistern. If the ball valve in it gets stuck, the tank will empty. And that means no flow of water to your taps!

To dislodge the ball valve, carefully pull the float arm until it’s free. Then, clean it up. The tank should then start to refill.

No cold water in the house but do have hot water

If you’re only getting hot water from your taps but no cold water, the most common reason is due to plumbing that runs through an uninsulated space – like an attic.

Basically, before you turn on your taps, your cold water sits in pipes waiting. If those pipes run through your attic, they can get very hot during the summer months, so the water that runs from your taps will be hot too.

The easiest thing to do is to simply open your tap and let it run until the water cools. However, in the long term, it’s a good idea to find a way to lower the temperature of your attic and to insulate the plumbing running through it too. In this way, you’ll be able to keep your water cool during hotter months.

Common boiler problems

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you’re getting no hot water from your tap but you are getting cold water, you’ll need to troubleshoot some common boiler faults.

It might sound obvious, but one of the most common problems when it comes to lack of water heating is to do with the power or gas supply to your boiler. First, check that your boiler is actually switched on, and make sure that the timer and your thermostat aren’t just set to the wrong settings. Next, check your fuse box to make sure the issue isn’t simply a tripped fuse.

If these checks don’t resolve the issue, it’s best to call in a Gas Safe engineer to help you out.

Fix low water pressure in the house

Sometimes, no water can be caused by low water pressure. Some modern heating appliances and showers won’t work below certain pressure levels, and elsewhere low water pressure can reduce water flow to a trickle.

To fix low water pressure, you’ll need to work out what’s causing the issue in the first place. It might be that your water valves aren’t fully open, so check these as outlined above and turn them all the way anti-clockwise. It may also be that your pipes are leaking, blocked or corroded, so it could be time to replace them with the help of a plumber. Which brings us onto…

When to call a plumber

If you’ve followed our troubleshooting tips above and you still have no water, it’s definitely time to get a plumber on board. They’ll be able to quickly and easily find the cause of your lack of water, and deal with it so that you can get on with your life again!

In fact, we’d recommend getting a plumber onboard sooner rather than later. This will prevent any underlying issues from getting worse in the meantime. In particular, if there’s a leak somewhere in the home that you’re unaware of, you’ll want to get it fixed as quickly as possible to limit the damage it causes.

To get started, just request a quote and we’ll send the details of your job to some of the best plumbers in your area. Or, type in your postcode to browse plumbers near you.

FAQs

My water is off what do I do?

The first thing to check is whether your neighbours are also facing the same problem. If they are, the issue is likely due to your water provider and they’ll be working to fix it as quickly as possible. However, if you’re the only one without water in your neighbourhood, it’s likely a plumbing issue. You can do some digging yourself or just contact a plumber to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.

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