Drinking water safe adhesive available in the UK
March 25, 2014 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I need to glue a better aerator on to the old aerator in my kitchen tap. I want a glue that's safe for potable water, gluing metal to plastic, but all my searches bring up US results that I can't find in the UK. Can anyone recommend one, preferably from experience?

So we have an old tap in the kitchen, with an old aerator that basically does nothing. The previous owners installed wooden worktops but didn't bother changing the tap to a less splash-prone one.

To fix it, I have this thing called a Tap Adapta which you would usually screw into the threads of the old aerator. However, because it's such an old tap, there's a rubber pipe connected to the old aerator to make sure the hot water can't mix with the cold. We're in the UK where hot water used to come from a tank in the loft, and you weren't allowed to mix it with drinking water in case it contaminated it. These days all the water comes from the mains and is heated by a combi-boiler. But we're stuck with the old tap and its rubber pipe. I don't quite dare just snip it and pull off the old aerator. Maybe I should?

Anyway, the solution I've settled on is to just glue the adapter on top. I've attached it with self-amalgamating tape for the minute, but this leaks under pressure. The only drinking-water safe adhesive I've found so far is JB water weld, but it's not sticky at all (I guess it isn't really designed for this). Eventually we'll change the tap but I'd like to glue it in the meantime. Google is failing me here. Any (UK available) suggestions? I don't really want to order US stuff via eBay.
posted by danteGideon to Shopping (10 answers total)
I can't quite picture what you're trying to do, but could you do it with Sugru? (Not sure if I'm linking you to a US-focused page, but they're actually UK-based).
posted by brainmouse at 11:04 AM on March 25, 2014

New taps aren't really that expensive, perhaps it's time for an upgrade?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:08 AM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sugru is NOT food safe
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:30 AM on March 25, 2014

Whoops! Thanks bottlebrushtree.
posted by brainmouse at 11:33 AM on March 25, 2014

I've drawn this professional-looking illustration in case it helps.
posted by danteGideon at 11:41 AM on March 25, 2014

There are food grade silicone adhesives you could use, but they don't have much tensile strength.
posted by zsazsa at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2014

I am confused by where the rubber pipe is, but if you are sure you don't have lead pipes, or a tank full of dead rats in the loft, and you're going to replace the tap one day anyway, I say just snip it.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:58 PM on March 25, 2014

I too am confused about the rubber pipe, though I have a hunch that this may just be because I am an American and don't understand UK sinks. I imagine that I'm not the only one though since likely most of the folks reading this question are in the USA, and I'd like to be helpful if only I could better understand your situation. I'm going to try to explain my confusion in hopes that you can set me straight, and at the end I'll give as much general advice as I can.

Over here, the aerator is pretty much always just a little metal or plastic doodad that screws into the very end of the faucet and has a perforated plastic or metal disc on it that helps to collimate the water. I am having trouble visualizing what is different about your situation; are you saying that rather than screwing into the end of your faucet, your current aerator is somehow fused to the end of a rubber pipe that runs inside the faucet? But the hot water somehow comes out of the same faucet without passing through said rubber pipe? I really don't understand this arrangement. Your diagram unfortunately doesn't help very much; I understand that you're trying to glue a fancy swiveling aerator onto the end of your faucet, but it would help if I could visualize the existing arrangement and your diagram doesn't show that.

By the way, in my American parlance the taps are the handles that you turn to make the water flow (or stop), the faucet is the thing that the water comes out of, and the aerator is the bit on the very end of the faucet that makes the water come out in a nice stream instead of splashing all over the place. I get the impression that either that's not the way that people use those terms in the UK, or else you've got them a little confused yourself; either way it would be very helpful to know what you mean in terms of the usual American definitions.

For what it's worth, I can't think of a food safe, waterproof glue that would give a strong and long-lasting metal-to-plastic bond. There are relatively few glues that satisfy even two out of three of those requirements, let alone all of them. It's really a lot to ask of an adhesive, to be honest – especially when you factor in the fact that it has to stand up to years of hot water, soap, and being wiggled around. I'd be looking for a way to attach it via the intended threading mechanism, or else for a different aerator entirely (one that is compatible with your existing setup), or for a different faucet. Alternatively, you could remove the little screen bit from your existing aerator and just replace it with a cut-out circle of aluminum window screening (might need to use two layers) and your old aerator would probably work perfectly well. That, actually, is what I would most likely end up doing since it's really easy and costs basically nothing and I'm sure if I looked hard enough I could find a few square inches of said window screening lying around the house somewhere already.
posted by Scientist at 6:06 PM on March 25, 2014

That's interesting: I hadn't realised there was a pants/underpants thing with taps. The tap is what you call the faucet, then, and the handles are just called handles. Or knobs, I suppose, depending on the shape of them. But we just call the whole thing 'the tap' mostly.

The rubber tube actually does carry the hot water and it comes out separately like this. It's not a very good tap at all. The aerator is just a bit of plastic with a few holes in it really. Perhaps we should just call in a plumber!

In the meantime, I'm thinking of making the seal with a jointing compound that's drinking water safe, and then wrapping something sturdier around it to deal with the pressure. Maybe self-amalgamating tape for water tightness and then sugru for strength. That way it won't be in contact with the water. I have all those things to hand, actually.

Many thanks for the answers so far. I'm not going to close the thread yet in case someone comes along with a one-shot solution, but I think it's unlikely.
posted by danteGideon at 7:02 PM on March 25, 2014

Just to follow up, I tried my own suggestion and the adaptor kept popping off under water pressure. It might have worked if it was a tap that we could leave for a couple of days, so all the stuff could set. But if it was a tap like that, why would I bother? Probably have to change the tap.
posted by danteGideon at 7:04 AM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

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