Hydraflex Plumbing & Cooling

What Are Tap Flexibles and Why Use Them? 

What Are Tap Flexibles and Why Use Them

Plumbing has evolved significantly over time, with innovation continually shaping its trajectory. From ancient aqueducts to modern tap flexibles, each era has seen improvements aimed at enhancing efficiency and convenience. In the 20th century, copper and plastic pipes became the norm, offering improved durability and affordability.

However, it’s in recent years that tap flexibles have emerged as a notable innovation. These flexible hose assemblies for taps simplify installation, reduce the risk of leaks, and offer greater adaptability in plumbing systems. Tap flexibles showcase how modern plumbing innovation continues to prioritise efficiency and ease of use, representing a significant step forward in the evolution of plumbing technology. Hydraflex has a wide range flexibles in stock that are available for next day dispatch and also manufactures custom assemblies to your exact specification.   

What is a Tap Flexible?

A Tap Flexible is a flexible rubber tube encased with an over-braid for additional strength, designed to connect water taps to the mains water supply; offering movement and adjustability. There are many forms of tap flexibles and different types including those with compression fitting ends and push-fit ends for easy installation even in confined spaces.

There are many types of hose, usually EPDM rubber with a stainless steel over-braid but this isn’t the only option as Hydraflex offers a variety of different bore tap flexibles from PEX to Aquavend. This is to suit any environment that they are being used in from domestic plumbing to a health sector applications.

Benefits of Using Tap Flexibles

The biggest benefit off using a flexible tap connector is the fact they can be installed without the need for speciality tools, with their inherent flexibility allowing them to be fitted in restrictive spaces, these benefit both professional plumbers and DIY’ers for all low pressure applications. Tap flexis offer increased flexibility over copper and hard plastic pipework making them ideal for misaligned pipework to be connected with ease.

Tap flexis can be used for both hot water up to 85°C and cold water down to -10°C this covers most uses in residential applications with working pressures up to 10 bar. Being able to use the flexi hose for both hot and cold water applications makes them more adaptable and provide peace of mind during insulation. 

As a manufacturer Hydraflex can offer fully bespoke assemblies with a variety of fittings and lengths if the standard variants of 300mm, 500mm or 900mm aren’t suitable. Hydraflex tap flexibles are also available with stepped size end connections to connect to differing sizing of pipes and threads.

What Are Tap Flexibles and Why Use Them?
What Are Tap Flexibles and Why Use Them?

Applications for Use

Tap Flexibles can be installed in residential applications such as under-sink connections, bathroom installations and kitchen tap connections as well as commercial applications in offices and industrial settings for various machinery and fixtures. They are not recommended for central heating systems, such as radiator connections.

The range of Hydraflex flexible connectors is both durable as well as quick and easy to install in a variety of plumbing scenarios; with their robust stainless steel outer braid giving them high versatility. 

As Hydraflex’s flexis can be made bespoke, unique applications can be catered for on request, even in temporary setups where flexibility is required for short term solutions. It is important to note that these are not suitable for fan coil units or to be used in building services applications, for this please see Hydraflex’s BX range of building services assemblies

Choosing the Right Tap Flexible

Measuring for tap flexibles involves ensuring you have the correct length and diameter to fit your existing plumbing. Here’s a guide to help you:

Length Measurement:

  • Start by determining the distance between your tap and the water supply line.
  • Measure the length of the existing pipe or connection you’re replacing, making sure you account for any pipework that needs to be cut back
  • Add a few inches to allow for flexibility and ease of installation.
  • Ensure that the chosen pipe allows for some amount of curvature and is not straight or tight when connected as this y lead to premature failure.

Diameter Measurement:

  • Check and match flexi to the diameter of your existing plumbing connections. Common sizes include ½, 3/8 inch and 15mm, 22mm for copper. Other fittings are available for different applications such as monobloc connectors which require M8, M10 or M12 fittings. 
  • Ensure that the diameter of the tap flexibles matches the diameter of your existing plumbing connections. Most tap flexibles come with standard fittings, but it’s essential to double-check to ensure compatibility.

Compatibility Check:

  • Make sure that your chosen tap flexi is suitable for the environment that it is to be fitted in.
  • Compare the measurements of the tap flexibles with your existing plumbing to ensure compatibility and avoiding any reduction in bore size if possible.
  • If you’re unsure about the compatibility, please do not hesitate to get in contact with one of our sales team who are on hand to assist or seek help from a professional

Installation:

  • Once you have the correct measurements and ensured compatibility, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation carefully.
  • Turn off the water supply and drain the system before beginning the installation process. If you have an isolation valve fitted then this can be closed to allow for connection without turning the water supply off. 
  • Use appropriate tools, such as adjustable wrenches, to secure the tap flexibles to the tap and water supply line.
  • Always check for a tight fit but never over tighten the fittings. 
  • If threaded check the male and female are not cross threaded to ensure an durable connection.
  • Double-check for leaks after installation and make any necessary adjustments to ensure a tight seal.

By following these steps and measurements, you can ensure that your tap flexibles are the correct length and diameter for compatibility with your existing plumbing, resulting in a successful and hassle-free installation. If you’re unsure or uncomfortable with the process, don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a professional plumber.

Maintenance and Care

Maintenance is key for the upkeep of good working assemblies, regular inspections and routine maintenance should be carried out to ensure the assembly has not been damaged and is working properly. When installing tap flexibles proper care should be taken to avoid damage to the hose. 

There are signs that indicate the need for a replacement assembly such as visible wear or discolouration of the outer braid, decreased water flow, leakage, age, or the need for frequent repairs. It is important to keep all cleaning products and corrosive material away from the hose as this can deteriorate the outer braid, which can lead to hose failure as can a constant stream or presence of water on the outer braid. The latter is often caused by connections not being tightened sufficiently.

Conclusion

In conclusion, tap flexibles represent a modern leap in plumbing innovation, offering easy installation, adaptability, and longevity. Whether for residential or commercial restroom use, these hoses simplify plumbing projects while ensuring durability and tight seals. By following straightforward measurement and installation guidelines, users can achieve leak-free connections with minimal effort. Regular maintenance is key to prolonging their lifespan, and signs of wear should prompt timely replacements to prevent water damage. When planning plumbing projects, consider the benefits of tap flexibles for efficient, reliable installations that prioritize convenience and performance.

Hydraflex has its full range of WRAS and Non WRAS tap flexibles available on their website, with bespoke and bulk quantity available. If you can’t find what you are looking for then get in contact with our team by emailing [email protected] or calling 01634 200280 to discuss this further. 

Article written by Harry Arterton, Customer Service Advisor at Hydraflex Plumbing and Cooling hose LTD