Technical Questions - Taps & Showers

Taps and Showers

For use with either a one taphole washbasin or a three taphole washbasin. Supplied with hot and cold water through two separate ½ inch inlets. May be single or dual flow.
A mixer tap, bigger than a basin mixer, which is usually mounted directly onto the bath. It is sometimes available as a wall mounted version.
Similar to a bath filler but with the addition of a shower hose and sprayhead. Designed for mounting directly onto a bath and having separate hot and cold water inlets, but with a lever operated diverter mechanism which direct water from the usual filler spout to a hose and sprayhead. The sprayhead (or showerhead) can be fixed to the wall in an adjustable bracket or it can be hand held. Sometimes available in thermostatic versions.
Small, perforated ceramic discs (rather than a traditional rubber-washered valve) within the body of a tap which regulate the flow of water when the tap head is turned. Usually the tap is fully turned off to fully turned on t by rotating the handle through 90 degrees.
On a shower control, an outer knob is turned to adjust water flow. An inner knob adjusts temperature.
Dual flow taps are used where the hot and cold water must remain separate for hygiene or health reasons or where the hot and cold water pressure are unequal.
A device used to control the direction of water to various outlets.
“Click stop” or “eco click” taps include an innovative water saving feature. The internal mechanism in the tap offers a subtle resistance as it reaches half of its full flow capability, saving water. For increased flow, the eco click feature can be overridden. The audible and tactile click helps the users to gauge how much water is being used. Sometimes called “low flow”.
The measurement of the amount of water delivered through a tap valve.
This describes the amount of water passing through a pipe. Not to be confused with pressure.
A device with moving and sometimes adjustable parts which responds to inlet pressure to control flow to a reasonably constant rate.
A device with no moving parts used to restrict flow but unlike a regulator it doesn't maintain constant flow when the supply pressure varies
Usually only found on baths where the hot supply, cold supply, filler spout (nozzle ) and shower hose are all separate and mounted in individual holes in the bath’s rim.
In this mixer unit, hot water direct from a boiler or hot water tank is blended with cold water to deliver a shower at the temperature controlled by the user. Simple mixers have the disadvantage in that the final water temperature can vary if incoming water varies in both temperature and pressure. Generally they give a higher flow rate than an electric instantaneous shower.
Single bodied mixer taps blend the hot and cold water in a single spout. The spout may have a single flow (where the hot and cold water is blended within the body of the mixer) or a dual flow (where water remains separate and only blends after it has left the spout opening). Mixers may have two conventional washered valves (one for hot and one for cold) or they may have a more complex ceramic disc valve which has a single handle. This will move up and down to control the amount of water flow, and from side to side to control the temperature.
Another name for mixer tap having separate controls for hot and cold water flow. Monobloc taps require only one taphole in the washbasin or bath. Water supply is from narrow diameter rigid copper pipes or flexible hoses. Washbasin monobloc taps are compact and can be fitted with either a pop up waste or a chain waste.
These are individual tap units which control the hot and cold water supply to a washbasin or bath. The taps may have conventional washered valves or modern ceramic discs. Pillar taps require two holes in the washbasin or bath. Washbasin taps have ½ inch inlets and bath taps have ¾ inch inlets.
A lever or rod situated in the body of the monobloc tap is used to lift or close (by means of rigid metal rods or flexible wires) a plug located in the washbasin or bath waste fitting.
A water pump which is either separate from the controls, or an as an integrated unit, boosts the pressure of incoming water to provide a increased pressure and flow rate at the shower head. Used with gravity fed plumbing systems where water pressure is relatively low. Not suitable for use with a `Combi boiler'.
A manually operated shower mixer which blends hot and cold water but maintains a constant set temperature by reacting to fluctuations to the pressure of the incoming hot and cold water. Not to be confused with Thermostatic. Better control of water temperature than manual.
Taps which can be turned fully on or fully off by rotating the handle through just 90 degrees. May use ceramic disc valves or fast-action washered valves.
A single control knob on the shower mixer control initiates flow at a cold setting. Then progressive rotation of the control increases the temperature.
A pre-assembled shower unit consisting of one or more jets. Requires minimal installation. Wall mounted. May have manual or thermostatic controls.
A flexible hose connection between the shower mixer body and the shower head.
An electric pump which provides a higher water pressure to the shower control therefore increasing water flow and providing a more satisfying shower.
A single lever performs two functions. Moving the control up and down regulates flow. Moving the lever to left and right adjusts the temperature.
A single monobloc tap with a lever handle that controls both water flow and temperature.
vertical rail fixed to one wall inside the shower enclosure. The shower hose and shower head are fixed to this. The height of the shower head is usually adjustable by sliding up or down on this rail.
The outlet for the water spray. The design of the jets in a spray head can vary to give differing spray patterns and varying shower experience.
A screen or mesh which prevents debris from entering a water fitting.
The holes formed in the back of a washbasin through which the taps are fixed. May be:
1 taphole for monobloc mixers
2 taphole for single pillar taps
3 taphole for taps with two separate valves and a mixer spout
The cold water valve, hot water valve and spout are three separate units so they require three separate holes in the washbasin or the bath. The units are connected together by short pipes underneath and out of sight.
Taps do not always have to be mounted directly into the sanitaryware. They may be mounted separately, on the adjacent wall or furniture.
This may be a manually operated or digitally operated shower mixer. Hot water is blended with cold to a temperature set by the user. The thermostatic mechanism ensures that the set temperature remains constant. Suitable for ALL types of plumbing system. The safest type of shower control, particularly good for children or elderly people.
Some mixer taps (particularly in commercial situations) are fitted with a thermostatic device which blends the incoming hot and cold water to maintain a constant set temperature. The device can be set to a maximum temperature of say 43 degrees, to prevent scalding. Sometimes the thermostatic blending device is separate from the tap bodies, not built in.

Other General Terms Associated With Bathrooms

Flow through a pipe in a direction contrary to the intended direction.
Back flow created by the syphonage of a liquid from the cistern or appliance into the pipe feeding it, possibly causing contamination of the liquid.
The unit of measurement of water pressure. 1 Bar pressure is equal to the pressure exerted by a column of water 10 meters high. So a 1 metre column of water exerts a pressure of 0.1 bar.
Small plastic or metal unit connected to the outlet and forming a water seal on the underside of a washbasin to prevent foul air passing into the bathroom from the drains.
A plumbing fitting designed to allow water to flow in one direction only.
Water flowing from one side of a mixing valve to the other, possibly causing contamination of the supply.
Gas fired jets heat water as it is required for either domestic hot water (for the shower, bath and washing) or for the central heating. The boiler starts immediately the tap or shower is turned on or when the heating thermostat activates. A higher rated boiler will give a greater water flow. Does not require a cold water cistern.
A valve for shutting off flow of water in a pipe connected to a water fitting in order to allow maintenance.
The mechanism within a tap which controls the flow of water.

Plumbing Systems

Usually identified by the presence of a hot water storage cylinder in the airing cupboard.
- The presence of a cold water storage cistern in the loft.
- Water is fed to the hot water cylinder from the cold water cistern.
- Water is fed to the cold water cistern from the incoming mains.
- The cold water cistern should be at least one metre above the shower head for a satisfying shower otherwise a booster pump will be required to improve water pressure and water flow.
- This system is open or ‘vented.’
Usually identified by the presence of a hot water storage cylinder which has a special expansion vessel attached to it.
There will be no cold water storage tank in the loft.
- Water is fed to the hot water cylinder by the incoming mains.
- This water is heated by a separate boiler or immersion heater.
- Since the hot and cold water is under high mains pressure the shower will be a very satisfying powerful shower.
Usually identified by:
- No hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard
- No cold water cistern tank in the loft
The presence of a 'combi' or 'combination' boiler which heats water as it is required..
- Provides hot water as and when it is required with no storage.
- A shower pump cannot be added to a combi system.

Washbasin and Pedestal

These are designed to fit into bathroom furniture, counters or countertops. They may be
o Full countertop The basin is designed with a rim which allows the basin to sit on into a hole in the counter.
o Semi-countertop, or semi-recessed Here a portion of the basin projects forward away from the counter. Secured by brackets hidden within the counter.
o Under countertop Brackets are used to hold the basin beneath a hole in the counter.
The pedestal is a pillar or vertical stand which supports and takes the full weight of the washbasin. The basin is held back to the wall by simple brass screws.
These have the common design of sitting directly on top of the surface of the counter, furniture or shelving. May also be described as ‘countertop’ or ‘freestanding’.
These are fixed to the wall using special brackets or robust wall bolts. These washbasins may be the small hand-rinse type or can be much larger. Sometimes a semi pedestal (half sized pedestal) is used to conceal the fixings and pipework of wall hung basins. The semi pedestal does not take any weight of the basin it but is mainly decorative. It may be manufactured in ceramic or plastic.

Note: Wall mounted taps do not always have to be mounted directly into the sanitaryware. They may be mounted separately, on the adjacent wall or furniture.

WC and Cistern

The cistern is hidden from view, very stylish and very easy to clean.
The cistern is hidden from view.
The ceramic, stainless steel or plastic tank containing water used for flushing the WC.
The large tank, in your loft, which feeds your cold taps and the hot water cylinder. Most common in older properties.
The cistern is hidden from view either behind the wall or inside bathroom furniture. Has the same function as a more usual exposed cistern.
A mechanism inside a cistern used to flush a WC. Available in two designs
• the traditional lever-operated waste water preventer called the syphon
• the push button flush valve
This type of flushing device is common worldwide but has only permitted for use in the UK since 1999. When the button is pushed water flows out of the cistern to flush the WC pan. Push button valves may also be configured for dual flush
A full flush of 6 litres maximum or short flush of 4 litres maximum. Some eco-friendly dual flush WCs can flush with less water than this and still conform with the regulations.
The outlet at the back of the WC is perfectly horizontal; compared with a p-trap outlet which slopes down at an angle of 14 degrees and an s-trap outlet which turns vertically downwards.
The bowl of a WC

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