Plumber Patrick McLoughlin is in great demand when severe weather strikes. However many of the household emergencies he sees can be avoided if homeowners are aware of their stop-cock.

‘Paddy the Plumber’ pays a visit to journalist Nell McCafferty who is not afraid to admit

I don’t know what a stop-cock looks like, I don’t know where it is, and if I did know, I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Paddy quickly locates Nell’s stop-cock under her kitchen sink and shuts off her water supply. If Nell plans to be away for the weekend and thinks there is a chance of snow, Paddy advises her to switch off her water supply, thereby preventing her pipes leaking or bursting.

Not so fortunate is broadcaster Aingeal Ní Chonchubhair who experienced a leak in her attic which escalated and damaged one of her bedrooms. She acknowledges that had she had turned off her stop-cock she could have prevented the problem.

According to Paddy the stop-cock

Is not a cure all, but it’s an actual great help, at least people can shut off the water, and there’s no water going into their attic.

To avoid rogue plumbers, Paddy advises people contact the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors Ireland to ensure they find a registered plumber capable of fixing issues correctly.

An 'Evening Extra' report by Shay Healy broadcast on 16 January 1987.