Worst Items to Avoid

What was the worst item I ever bought for the van?

At the moment there is only one, maybe later there will be more but for now I will explain one item everyone should avoid buying.

Of all the items in my van I can think of only one really good bargain buy, the Kitchen Tap. I saw it on EBay and whilst the seller had sold over a 1,000 and had a very good feedback I thought I would buy one, at under £20, whatever could go wrong?

Insanity Looms: The Tap drove me bonkers (crazy) from the day I fitted it. It worked ok, the occasional drip annoyed me as I had to keep it pointing over the sink. But what concerned me more was the fact I kept catching the Hot and Cold Levers and turning the tap on by accident. I use the kitchen work-surface all the time and I once caught the Tap Lever when picking an item up on leaving the van (for a short time). Fortunately I spotted a small trickle of water. But that was enough warning, that Tap had to go, its far too easy to flood the van, it was dangerous.

It gets worse. My water system has all the protection switches a system could need. There’s a Master Water Pump On/Off Switch (plus a simple kill-switch), dual Stop Taps (a separate one for the Combi boiler) plus a Drain Tap, all located in an accessible place. 

The system is great when you remember to use it. And I did for most of the time even draining it down on sub zero days (freezing). But one day I forgot. The outside temperature dropped to no more than Zero to -1 degree and I had left the water system switched on overnight. That should not be a problem, but it was. Usually I run the van each week usually to “air” it (warm it). On this occasion I went out in the van, later stopping to do a little shopping then drove a bit more and pulled over for a cup of tea in a nice location. Thats when I heard the faint sound of the water pump.

Did you notice anything about the Tap Above?

Have a look again.

The Tap had frozen overnight, and when the van became warm it started to thaw. The real problem is that the Tap is DIE-CAST and poor quality die-casting as well. The Tap had frozen inside, I didn’t notice it at first as it was still frozen. I was lucky because when I went shopping it was only for a short time. Any longer then the pump would have started and the Tap would have flooded the van (does everyone remember to turn off the pump every time they leave their van? ).

Below: This is the image used in the advert to sell the product. Its one of the reasons why I bought it. In fact the material used wasn’t Brass it was a die-cast zinc alloy, the type used in the 1960/70’s to make toy cars. Its very cheap and unsuitable, the country of origin is China.

Advice: Buy a quality Brass Tap, preferably with ceramic internal fittings, and NEVER buy a Die-Cast Tap . The Tap shouldn’t drip if its quality and it should easily withstand very cold temperatures.

Never Buy a Tap with Levers: If you do you will catch them and keep turning the Tap on when you dont want it. If you really prefer Levers then try before you buy and make sure they are firm, mine were weak, the slightest touch opened the Tap. Better still, get a Tap with a Turn-Locks like below.

Try and buy from a trusted source or Brand Name.