- The introduction of reliable flexible tap connectors has made that final connection to taps and toilets a lot easier in recent years with the added advantage of reducing stress on the connection, particularly where movement is regular. There are a few different types and sizes available, with some common variations shown below.
- Pipe to tap connections with female connection
- Pipe to pipe flexible pipe connections
- Pipe to male thread connections for monobloc or mixer taps
Most plumbing products thread sizes, including flexible tap connectors, are stated as BSP imperial thread measurements which means that the actual diameter of the thread is approximately 1/4 inch larger than that stated in BSP terms. For example a 3/4 inch tap connector has an actual thread diameter of approximately 1 inch. If you require a tap connector with an actual diameter of 3/4 inch you will require a 1/2 inch tap connector.
The pipe connections are available in both compression and push-fit and are most common in 15mm and 22mm pipe sizes. Pipe to pipe connections are used as an easier solution to lay pipe work through difficult areas such as round floor joists although care should be taken to provide future access to this area, flexible tap connectors are now reliable they will always provide a weaker option to solid pipework
The tap connections are generally available in ½” and ¾” female thread although some European imported toilet connections or taps (often sold in retail park DIY shops) require a smaller 3/8” connection, although these are less common, they are available. The ¾” connections are often used on a domestic cold water supply to the bath where the supply pipe is often 22mm as a greater water flow is preferred. Remaining domestic supply pipes are generally 15mm with a ½” tap connections
The most common length of flexible tap connector is 300mm although some variations come in 150mm, 500mm and 1000mm.
The flexible pipes as a standard come with a 9-9.5mm inside diameter, although large bore tap connectors can be purchased with a 12-12.5mm inside diameter, increasing the water flow rate, used where there is a low water pressure and water flow rate is a problem for the tap or appliance.
Most variations are available with an integral isolation valve at the supply end to allow easy isolation in the event of having the replace or remove the tap or toilet connection (particularly useful for the toilet connection as toilet fill valves require periodic adjustment or replacement)
Most manufacturers produce flexible tap connectors with a silver metal braided covering to provide the mechanical protection, although some push fit manufacturers supply a white PVC finish where the tap connector may be on show
When making the final connections care should be taken not too over-tighten either end of the connection. The seals are designed to seal with just a nominal tightening and by over tightening there is a danger of crushing the seal or twisting the inside of the connector, weakening it and restricting the water flow. This flow restriction can cause a noisy water flow as the water tries find its way through the restriction. Whilst tightening the final connections on either end make sure that the main body of the flexible pipe connection does not twist with the tightening motion and twist the inside of the flexible pipe, if necessary hold the main body hexagonal nut with a second spanner or pipe grips whilst tightening the connection
Monobloc tap connectors or mixer tap connections have a solid tail with hexagonal spanner connection for easy tightening (often the connection is difficult to reach as it is behind the sink) and a rubber O Ring seal into the tap body. Again over tightening is to be avoided. They come in pairs and have thread sizes of either 10mm or 12mm with each tap connector in the pair having slightly different lengths of solid tail to make access to tightening easier. Installation of the flexible tap connector onto the tap can sometimes be done before fixing the mixer tap to the sink leaving the pipe connections to connect later.