This is arguably the most important piece of equipment in the bathroom - Without the tap there is no control of water flow. Taps and mixers are sometimes given the overall term of 'Brassware'.
Today most taps are supplied in brass or metal alloy with a chrome plated finish. The fashion for gold plate, gold finish, coloured or mixage (gold and chrome mix) finishes is waning.
Modern taps with ceramic disc mixing valves work better with the relatively high water pressures found in modern domestic pressurised plumbing systems. The use of ‘gravity fed’ water systems, which are common in older properties, tend to mean that the flow rate from modern taps can be rather low. The installation of taps to a domestic or commercial water system is governed by the UK Water Regulations 1999 and plumbers should be fully aware of their particular use.
Guarantee – what length of warranty and what conditions does the manufacturers give? This is very important as cheap internet imports look very nice but generally contain little brass with sub-standard internal components, and therefore have a very limited lifetime and are prone to constantly dripping.
Maintenance – are the taps easy to maintain. Will they need a specialist to repair them or can they be repaired by a good DIY enthusiast.
Minimum Water Pressure – what minimum pressure do the taps require to give a good flow rate and will they work with your domestic plumbing system?
Spare parts – what is available and for how long in the life of the product? Branded products generally have manufacturer spares, whereas unbranded will not.
Standards – do the taps conform to British Standards BS1010, BS5412, and BS12540? Do the taps perform as they should with given water pressure and flow rate? Is the chrome surface to standard and how will you know it will not peel off?
Which taps are the most water-efficient?
As a general rule spray mixer taps deliver less water than a conventional pillar tap, so they may be described as more efficient. But the flow of water has to be balanced against the user’s experience. A tap would be useless if it was highly efficient but only gave a dribble. Recent developments in tap and valve technology now mean that they are available with “click stops” which help the users to gauge how much water is being used.
What are the minimum and maximum operating water pressures for taps?
Usually, a minimum of 0.1 bar water pressure is required but some products require as much as 3 bar. Always check compatibility of your chosen taps with your domestic plumbing system before purchase. Ask your supplier or plumber for help or read the brochures carefully. Most taps are designed to withstand water pressures of up to 10 bar maximum.
I don’t understand the word BAR. What does it mean in regard to taps?
Water pressure is measured in three common units: Bar, PSI (pounds per square inch) and Metres Head. So 1 Bar equals 10 Metres Head which equals 14.5 PSI. Bar tends to be the most common unit of measurement.
What is best for cleaning chrome plated taps?
Warm soapy water and a soft cotton cloth is best. Never use abrasive compounds or abrasive sponge pads. Once the surface of the chrome is scuffed it cannot be repaired. Limescale deposit may be removed with the juice of a lemon.
What manufacturing standards cover domestic taps?
Three British Standards apply to taps. BS5412, which sets standards for performance. BS1010 for dimensions and compatibility. BS12540 for plating standards.