Tap Information

A tap is a valve controlling release of liquids or gas. In the British Isles and most of the Commonwealth, the word is used for any everyday type of valve, particularly the fittings that control water supply to bathtubs and sinks. In the U.S., the term "tap" is more often used for beer taps, cut-in connections, or wiretapping, with the word faucet or spigot being used more for water outlets.

The physical characteristic which differentiates a spigot from other valves is the lack of any type of a mechanical thread or fastener on the outlet. Water for baths, sinks and basins can be provided by separate hot and cold taps; this arrangement is common in older installations, particularly in public washrooms/lavatories and utility rooms/laundies. In kitchens and bathrooms mixer taps are more commonly used. In this case, hot and cold water from the two valves is mixed together before reaching the outlet, allowing the water to emerge at any temperature between that of the hot and cold water supplies. Mixer taps were invented by Thomas Campbell of Saint John, New Brunswick and patented in 1880.

For baths and showers, mixer taps frequently incorporate some sort of pressure balancing feature so that the hot/cold mixture ratio will not be affected by transient changes in the pressure of one or the other of the supplies. This helps avoid scalding or uncomfortable chilling as other water loads occur .

Wikipedia, Tap, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tap_(valve) (as of Apr 11, 2010)

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