Plumbing checks to make on your next home


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When you move into a new home, teething troubles are almost inevitable – and if you’re faced with a leak, the last thing you want is to be hunting for the stop tap in the dark. We are working with WaterSafe to bring you this free checklist to help iron out any plumbing issues. WaterSafe is supported by all the UK water companies and the drinking water regulators to help keep tap water fresh and healthy and protect consumers from unqualified trades.

Find your internal stop tap - where your water supply comes into your home – so you can turn off the water in an emergency if you need to.

Visit our YouTube channel to watch our short film.

Make sure everyone in the home knows where the stop tap is, too.

Find more free plumbing advice for home-movers at or find out more about looking after water in your home in this helpful leaflet.


Check the loft to ensure there is a lid on the cold-water tank to prevent contamination from dust, vermin and birds. If there isn’t one, you need to get one fitted and the tank may need cleaning out or even replacing. Your cold water tank should also be insulated to make sure it doesn’t get too hot or too cold.

Look out for leaky taps, toilets and radiators – tell-tale signs are low water pressure, rust and water stains on the floors or carpets, or mould on ceilings and walls.


Find out if your home has any lead water pipes – these are shiny when scratched with a screwdriver. Always wash your hands thoroughly after doing the 'scratch test'. Lead can be harmful so it’s a good idea to get these replaced. If in doubt, ask a WaterSafe-approved plumber or your local water company for advice. You can also ask your water company to test the lead levels for you, as they may be low.

Check if you have a water meter, as you’ll be billed for the amount of water you use if you do. This can usually be found in the ground outside the front of your home, or inside near the stop tap.


For tips on saving water and reducing your bill, visit the Waterwise website.


Before cold weather sets in, check all pipes indoors and any bare pipes outdoors are lagged and protected, and insulate your hot water tank, if you have one.

DO fit an approved double check valve to hosepipes to prevent any water, or contaminants from the garden, ponds or paddling pools, flowing back into your mains drinking water supply.

Check to see if you have a rainwater harvesting system. If you do it is important to make sure this is not directly connected to your water supply.


If you need a plumber, check the WaterSafe website and type in your postcode to find the nearest approved plumber who has been trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings which supply drinking water. Find out if they have warranties and if their work is insured.


Be aware that for some types of plumbing work in your new home, you may need to get the permission of your water company before proceeding. This is to ensure any work meets the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws, in place to keep drinking water supplies safe. A WaterSafe approved plumber will have the expertise to advise you on this.

Check the boiler’s service history – it should be serviced annually, so get this booked with a Gas Safe-registered engineer if it is not up to date. By law anyone who works on gas appliances must be on the Gas Safe Register, and many WaterSafe-approved plumbers are too - you can find an engineer at

Once you move in, if you are replacing any of your taps, pipes or other plumbing fittings, look for information to see if it meets the water fittings regulations/byelaws. One easy way is to look for the WRAS Approved logo, which shows the product has been tested and meets the appropriate standards.


All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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