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Last edited 17 May 2022
|A typical mixer tap with separate hot- and cold-water controls.|
A tap is a valve that is used to control the flow of liquid (or gas) exiting a supply source. It is an opening and closing device that allows the required amount ofl, for example water, to flow out of a supply system. In the USA, taps are called faucets.
Taps can be used to control various liquids and gases, such as water, oil and natural gas. Opening and closing is usually achieved by a rotation of a lever or handle, whether by numerous turns or by a quarter turn. In a laboratory setting, taps will usually be referred to as gas taps. Traditional domestic cookers also had gas taps.
NB Short Guide: Climate Change Adaptation for Traditional Buildings, published on 10 July 2017 by Historic Scotland, defines a faucet as: ‘The flange on a downpipe, allowing connection with the one above.’
 Types of domestic water tap
Numerous types of water tap may be seen in homes:
- Rising spindle tap – this is the traditional design featuring a spindle and washer that can move up and down when the handle is turned. Bib taps are an example and are typically fixed to say, an external wall for watering purposes. They may also be the main stop-cock (tap) that regulates water flow into the dwelling.
- Non-rising head taps – feature a non-revolving spindle with a handle which traditionally has been made of clear plastic.
- Ceramic disc taps – have precision-ground, rotating ceramic discs in place of a washer.
- Pillar taps – in the kitchen or bathroom, the tap is mounted on the end of a stub post; there may be one for hot water and another for cold water.
- Mixer taps – seen in the kitchen and bathroom, these have become very popular in recent years. They can mix the water, i.e combine the hot and cold water flows out through a common spout to provide water at the required temperature. Mixer taps can be operated by a single lever which regulates both the flow and the temperature, according to the position it is set to. Or they can have two separate hot and cold taps that convey the water through a common spout.
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