Factors to consider when installing the pipework for an outside tap?
“When installing pipework for an outside tap, some key factors to keep in mind are:
Choose a suitable location for the outside tap. It should be easily accessible and close to the area where you need water. The pipework will need to be clipped and well supported. If the tap’s location is somewhere that the pipework connected to it will not be adequately supported and clipped, it could hazardous. Factors like convenience, aesthetics, and proximity to existing plumbing lines are important too.
Determine the source of the water for the outside tap. It could be connected to the mains water supply or another cold-water source such as a rainwater harvesting system. Ensure that the water source is readily available and has sufficient pressure to meet your needs.
It is crucial to protect the pipework from freezing and potential damage. Use appropriate insulation material, such as pipe sleeves, to prevent freezing during colder months.
Select the right type of pipe material for the installation. Common options include copper and PVC. Consider factors like durability, cost, ease of installation, and compatibility with your existing plumbing system.
Determine the appropriate pipe diameter based on the water flow requirements. Consider the intended use of the tap, such as watering plants or filling bucket, and ensure the pipe diameter can manage the desired flow rate.
Connection to existing plumbing
If you are connecting the outside tap to an existing water supply, consider the location of the nearest water source and the feasibility of connecting the pipework. Determine whether you need to extend the existing plumbing or install a separate branch line.
Digging and trenching
Plan the route for the pipework and consider any digging or trenching required. Ensure that the trench is deep enough to protect the pipe and comply with local building codes. Take into account any potential obstructions, such as utilities or landscaping features.
Install an isolation valve inside the property to where the water supply is being taken from to install easy access for turning off the water supply to the tap. This is important for maintenance, repairs, or periods when the tap is not in use.”
Will the pipes freeze/ burst in winter?
“As I mentioned earlier on, to prevent outside tap pipes from freezing during winter, there are a few steps you can take, including insulating the pipes with foam sleeves to retain heat, and shutting off the water supply, draining the pipes, and insulating the tap itself when not in use. Regular maintenance and monitoring are important to minimise the risk of freezing.”
OLIVER’S TOP TIP
“During winter, turn the isolation valve off inside the property and open up the outside tap. This allows any water trapped in the pipework to run out and ensures there is no water trapped in the pipework between the valve and garden tap.
If you simply isolate the water supply in the property without opening up the outside tap, the pipework between the valve and the garden tap remains filled with water over the winter. If any of that section of pipework isn’t insulated, then the pipe could freeze. When water freezes, it expands, causing a possible pipe rupture. This could cause a leak inside or outside between those two points.
It is particularly important to take these steps if your tap is located a long way from the water supply connection. For example, in a top-floor maisonette, the pipework will likely need to come all the way down/across the property’s exterior. That is a long section that is more likely to freeze in winter if there is water trapped inside.”