How to fit an outside tap

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If you have a garden it’s handy to have an outside water tap. That makes it easy to water flowers and plants, or to wash your windows or your car.

  1. Preventing freezing of the pipe

    Fit the outside tap about 50 cm above the ground. Don’t forget to drain the pipe in the winter to prevent freezing. That means the tap must be higher than the place where you connect the pipe. Then you can fit a drain tap at the lowest point in the pipe. Of course it’s a good idea to keep the new pipe as short as possible because of the danger of freezing.

  2. Water feed

    The pipe from the main water shut-off valve usually has a large diameter. Branch connections from this pipe usually have a diameter of 15 mm, and some of the pipes to the points of use may have a diameter of 12 mm. You may therefore have to work with pipes of different diameters. If you’d prefer not to make soldered joints, then you can use compression fittings for all pipe diameters.

  3. Find the right location

    Select the place where you want to fit the outside tap and where the pipe has to come through the wall. Drill a 20 mm hole through the wall from the inside to the outside, with a slight slope to the outside to keep rainwater out. You can fit the tap to a wall plate or in a countersunk wall mounting. Push a length of electrical conduit pipe through the hole and fill any gaps with sealant. You can bend the pipes yourself or you can use elbow fittings. We recommend the use of compression fittings because of their greater convenience.

  4. Close the main shut-off valve

    Before you start work close the main shut-off valve. Open all feed valves and allow the pipes to drain.

  5. Cut through the feed pipe

    Locate the place where you want to insert the T-piece in the feed pipe to connect the outside tap. Then cut through the feed pipe with a hacksaw or pipe cutter and remove a length of about 2 cm from the pipe. File away burrs and sand the pipe ends with wet & dry sandpaper. If there is limited space to work on the pipe, you can use an angle grinder. In that case, make sure you wear safety glasses.

  6. Compression fittings

    The simplest way to connect copper pipes together is to use compression fittings. These are available in all shapes and sizes: with different diameters, and as adapters, T-pieces, elbows and end fittings.To fit the T-piece, slide the nut followed by the compression washer or ring over one of the pipe ends. Then push the T-piece onto the pipe end and carefully push the compression ring towards the T-piece. Tighten the nut by hand until you feel the T-piece tighten onto the pipe. Make sure the nut fits straight and turns smoothly. Then slide the nut and the compression ring over the other pipe end, insert it into the T-piece and tighten the nut until it is finger-tight.

  7. Tighten firmly

    Finally tighten the nuts firmly with a wrench of the right size or an adjustable wrench. Tighten carefully, because copper is soft and easily damaged. One turn of the nut is usually enough to ensure a watertight seal.

  8. The drain tap

    Fit the pipe together with any necessary elbows and compression fittings up to the hole in the outside wall. Fit a drain tap at the lowest point in the pipe so you can drain the pipe in frosty weather. Make sure no other parts of the pipe are lower, because then you won’t be able to drain all the water from the pipe. Fix the pipe to the walls with pipe clips or brackets, using at least 1 clip or bracket per meter of the pipe.

  9. Fit the wall plate

    Fit the wall plate as close as possible to the place where the pipe passes through the wall. Drill the mounting holes in the wall, insert wall plugs and screw the wall plate into place. Connect the pipe to the fitting in the wall plate and secure everything firmly. Use a tap with an aerator – this is a special valve inside the tap so that a vacuum is not formed if the water pressure drops. This prevents water from a hose connected to the tap flowing back into the feed pipe. Wind 3 turns of PTFE tape clockwise around the thread of the tap, and then fit the tap to the wall plate.

  10. Tip

    PTFE tape can only be used once. If you loosen the tap slightly (for example if it isn’t fitted straight), you have to remove it completely and apply new tape. Instead of PTFE tape you can also use hemp with jointing compound; this can be loosened and retightened without leakage.
  11. Countersunk wall mounting

    Instead of a wall plate you can use a countersunk wall mounting, which means the tap will be partially recessed into the wall. This makes it less vulnerable and gives a very professional-looking result. To fit a countersunk mounting, remove enough of the masonry around the pipe with a chisel so that the countersunk mounting fits flat and neatly into the wall. Secure the countersunk mounting into the wall with quick-drying cement. This hardens within 20 minutes. Wind PTFE tape around the thread of the outside tap and fit the tap securely in the countersunk mounting. Open the main shut-off valve and check for leaks.


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