Replacing a Tap

When you attempt to open or close a tap and find that it is difficult or impossible the fault probably lies with a faulty head-gear. Replacing a tap is one home repair project that most people can easily complete. No plumbing skills are required and few tools are needed.

First isolate and turn off the water supply to the tap. When possible, turn off the isolating valve under the tap. If there is none, you will need to isolate the water supply at the main valve to the house.

Remove the tap cover with a small screwdriver. You will see the rim if you look closely at the top of the tap. Insert the screwdriver into the rim and gently lift it away from the tap. After the tap cover is removed you will see the screw attached to the spindle. Remove the screw by turning it anti-clockwise and the handle will lift off easily.

Using an adjustable spanner, loosen the head-gear nut. Hold the tap in your other hand to prevent it from moving while you are doing this and to make this step easier use a little penetrating oil first.

After removing the damaged head-gear nut check to make certain that there is no damage to the seat inside the tap. Once you have done this you can insert the new head-gear and screw the nut into place, tightening it with the spanner. 

Make certain that the tap is open when you reassemble it, so that when water flow is returned the debris can be removed without damaging the washer. Fit the new handle into place and secure with the screw, before replacing the cover. Restore the water supply to the tap and after a few seconds of running clear water you can turn it off.


How to Replace Taps

Before you begin to do anything with the plumbing, ensure the taps’ water supply has been disconnected, normally accomplished via an isolator valve, which can normally be found on pipes adjacent to the taps.  It can usually be closed using a screwdriver.  If you do not have this feature then turn the water off at the mains with a stopcock.

You should now disconnect the pipes from beneath the taps, and this can be accomplished with a wrench by unscrewing the back nut.  Now lift the old taps out, at which point you might wish to clean the holes.

Now you can slot in the new taps into the holes.  Be sure to check that the plastic or rubber sealing washers are in place to prevent leaking.  You should then fit the back nuts, ensuring they are fully tightened, to lock the taps into place before reconnecting the pipes. 

Sometimes the existing pipework will not match up with the new taps’ connectors.  If this is the case, consider joining them up with flexible pipe connectors, which are available in a multitude of lengths.  However, it is common that you will need to trip the existing copper pipes in order to fit them.  File down the copper pipes once you have cut them with a hacksaw.  Now connect the other end to the taps.  Following this, you can turn the stopcock back on.  Run the taps, and check for any leaks.


Aging Gracefully – Bathroom Aids

Baby boomers are unlike any other previous generation of senior citizens. They are far more active and physical in their everyday lifestyle, while planning to “age in place” as they retire. Fortunately the aids now available for use in bathrooms are very well designed and easily fitted.

A curb-less shower enclosure beautifully bridges the gap between luxury and necessity. A stationary water tower with shower heads strategically located up and down the tower make it easy for people using a mobility device or that need assistance.

Adjustable or easily moveable bathroom cabinets are an advantage to senior citizens that are aging gracefully. These versatile shelving and vanity choices can be adapted to make access easy, even from a low down wheelchair position.

Most modern homes allow for the easy installation of grab bars or fold-out arms for use later in life, for assistance in maintaining independent movement in the bathroom.

A new toilet on the market is one that is made at the same height as a kitchen or dining room chair, alleviating excessive bending for average height adults. Other bathroom accessories made for older users include gooseneck bathroom taps, low-lever handles, non-slip surfaces and the use of contrasting colours to help with depth perception and failing eyesight.

With 74 percent of all people over the age of 50 now remaining in their homes for the rest of their lives, it is clear there is a need for a functionally designed bathroom that will age as gracefully as its owner and let them live their life in style.


Start Your Bathroom a Makeover with New Mixer Taps

Not everyone can afford to remodel their entire bathroom all at once. Most of us pick one item to upgrade at a time. One way to have a maximum impact with minimal expense – in comparison to other purchases you might make during your bathroom remodel – is to replace your existing basin mixer taps with new ones.

There are more mixer tap styles available than any other type of bathroom fixture. Choose mixer taps that will complement your current décor and hardware – towel bathroom radiators, shower accessories – but can also be a focal point of your finished bathroom.

One of the more elegant, modern designs can be seen in the Barcelona mixer. They take their inspiration from the iconic chair designed by Ludwig Miles van der Rohe for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition. Those familiar with the chair will see its smooth lines reflected in these water taps.

Another popular choice are the Blade mixer taps. Their sleek design will work well in a modern, minimalist bathroom. They are cast in solid brass, and are double-dipped in chrome.

The Trinity mixer taps are a modern take on a period design. They are both budget-friendly and grand in design. There is also a version of the Trinity mixer taps for the shower.

If possible, purchase your shower mixer taps from the same line and at the same time that you upgrade your basin mixer taps. It will keep your fixtures from not matching and also save the plumber the extra trip, and you the extra cost.


Choosing the Right Bathroom Taps

Choosing taps for your bathroom sink or bath is an important matter. Taps are one of the most used items in a home and they act a bit like jewellery in a bathroom and bring everything to life. They can be used to add contrast, or to bring dazzling light into the room.

The first thing to consider is budget because taps come in a wide range of prices depending on design and materials used; then decide on style. Contemporary taps are designed with clean lines and fewer handles than traditional ones. There are also taps which fit into the side of the bath and require three fixing holes for the two taps and the spout but you will need to have the correct hole pattern drilled or cut into your bath for these.

Taps with zinc alloy bodies tend to cost less but they will corrode over time. In hard water areas the water itself can cause corrosion on inferior metals and the longest lasting taps are solid brass ones. In general it is possible to tell the quality of taps by their weight. The heavier a tap is, the higher the quality.

When you have decided what quality of bathroom taps you want to buy, it is time to select the finish. There is lots of choice here including antique and polished brass, bronze, nickel, chrome pewter, and a number of other materials which are available from various designers. Bathroom taps are an exciting thing to buy when you see how wide the choice is.


Make a Statement with New Mixer Taps

Of all of the changes you will make during a bathroom remodel, new mixer taps will have the most impact. At both the basin and in the shower, they also serve as little works of art thanks to the modern designs available today.

When choosing your new mixer taps, consider where you might be going with other hardware, as well. You will want your mixer taps, shower accessories, towel radiators and other fixtures to all complement each other.

Someone with a modern sense of style will appreciate the Cubik mixer taps from victoriaplumb.com. These cube-like basin mixer taps in smooth, polished chrome come in a regular height and a high rise version. There are also matching shower mixer taps.

Those who have a home that is a mix of period and contemporary will be drawn to the Alexa basin mixer taps. They have the traditional cross-head handles but the polished chrome finish and sleek lines give them a more modern look. Also at victoriaplumb.com, there are matching fixtures for the bath and/or shower, plus for the bidet.

The Hampshire mixer taps at victoriaplumb.com are for those who appreciate timeless elegance. Their porcelain caps feature an “H” and a “C” and turn easily to adjust the temperature mix. These mixer taps also have coordinating bath and/or shower, plus bidet, fixtures.

It’s always a good idea purchase your shower mixer taps at the same time that you upgrade your basin mixer taps. That way, everything will match and you won’t have to pay the plumber twice to visit.


Basin mixer taps for the bathroom

Bathroom mixer taps can be fitted to the washbasin, bath, or bidet and choosing the right ones is a lot more difficult than it used to be.

A basin mixer tap combines the hot and cold water taps into one unit.  Mixer taps are operated by moving a lever to the left or the right to adjust the water temperature, they sometimes come with a special pop-up waste which is often referred to as PUW and takes the place of the old fashioned plug.

Some mixer taps require a specific range of water pressure in order to work properly. This is often called bar pressure, with 0.5 up to 1 bar pressure being the minimum for basin mixer taps. The vast majority of homes have around 4 bar of water pressure. 

Sometimes mixer taps are referred to as monobloc mixers and these have just one tap that controls the water temperature depending on which way you turn it.  Three hole basin mixer taps have two separate taps, one each for hot and cold and a central spout.

Basin mixer taps are most popularly made of chrome because of its ability to reflect light in the bathroom, but they can also be bought in rather expensive gold plated designs if you are feeling affluent.  The most important thing is to make sure that the mixer tap you choose matches your bathroom washbasin and the ones used on your bath.

It is not generally a good idea to buy cheap, low quality mixer taps as they tend to look dull and worn very quickly. Good quality mixer taps, professionally fitted, will give many years of wear and will stay looking good.


What you need to know about bathroom taps

There are a number of regulations regarding the fitting of bathroom taps, or anything else connected to the water supply.  The Water Regulation Advisory Scheme, or WRAS, has a list of standards that should be complied with.

When looking at taps in a showroom inspect the packaging and see if they are up to standard. If this is not clear on the packaging ask if the taps conform to the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme standard.  You need to know if the non-metal parts of the taps conform to the BS 6920 standard and that they are not made using any materials that are hazardous to health.

Check out what the taps are actually made of. Some taps look good, but they are made of a brass and zinc alloy which will not be very hard wearing. If you buy these taps they will soon look dull and need to be replaced in a couple of years.  If you are thinking of buying chrome plated taps the chrome should be at least 40 microns in thickness as anything less will flake off with use.

If you buy bathroom taps which are up to the WRAS standards and have a certificate to say so, they are more likely to be good quality and to be hard wearing. The best of bathroom taps have at least a five year guarantee and if you are considering mixer taps you may even be able to get a lifetime guarantee if you search around among the different brands.


Update your bathroom with new taps and mixers

Modern bathroom taps and mixers come in an enormous range of styles, colours, and materials. Most are chrome or porcelain and are manufactured by companies like Bauhaus, Grohe, and Bristan. These companies make some of the most luxurious and highest quality bathroom fixtures in the world. They’re also expertly designed for today’s modern homes.

Bauhaus, certainly one of the more creative bathroom design companies in the world, makes the AIM tap and shelf unit intended to pair with their AIM wall-hung basin. Shaped like a giant tube of lipstick aiming into an ashcan, this tap/shelf/basin combo would certainly make a profoundly original statement in any bathroom. Bauhaus makes a similarly designed bath shower mixer. Mounted on a shelf, the AIM Bath/Shower mixer offers consumers an elegant, simple solution for their bathroom mixer needs.

Grohe has an extensive line of mixers and taps in various shapes and sizes. The Allure collection features a flattened tap with minimal taps. The Aria series is more squat and compact. And the Concetto and Essence taps call out to consumers with uniquely modern European sensibilities.

For those with tastes that lead them away from minimalism, Bristan has dozens of luxury bath mixtures that employ hoses, chrome, and porcelain accents. From the turn-of-the-century Paris evoking 1901 to the clean and efficient lines of the Blade and Blaze models, to the more creative, industrial feeling G-Type Thermostatic, Bristan bath mixers perform, inspire, and invite bathers to enter into a dynamic repartee of man and design.


Bristan Bathroom Products

Bristan is one of the largest suppliers of bathroom suites, pumps, accessories and heating for bathrooms, in the UK. The company is at the leading edge of the market and this assures both quality and excellent after sales support. You will also find that the sheer buying power of a company of this size results in a very competitive pricing structure.

The range of products on offer also means that this is somewhere you can buy all the items for your new bathroom and can avoid having to purchase your suite from one company and all your accessories from another. This helps create a look that is stylish and very harmonious.

It is also possible to buy very traditional bathroom suites here, so you have the choice of being as conventional or as modern as you wish. You also have peace of mind, because even though the products are very durable, if anything does happen to go wrong, you can be sure that a company of the stature of Bristan is more likely to still be around than some of the lesser-known brands in the industry.

For those on a very tight budget, there are often ‘end of line’ products available. You should bear in mind that this means the items are no longer in production, so in the future replacement parts will be more difficult to source. You should therefore be sure to give some consideration to the possible future cost implications, before you plump for what seems like an exceptional offer.