Are boiling water taps environmentally-friendly?
Boiling water taps: they’re a godsend for anyone who loves a cuppa.
Over the past few years, more and more of our clients have requested boiling water taps when we design their dream kitchen. They’re pretty self-explanatory: at a turn of the tap, you’ll get instant boiling water without the need for a kettle.
We tend to work with the taps that come from Quooker and Perrin & Rowe, but other brands like Franke, Zip and InSINKErator have some effective, beautiful alternatives. Before we delve into the environmental credentials of the boiling water tap, let’s have a quick recap of what they are and how they work.
How do boiling water taps work?
There are two main elements to a boiling water system. The first is the boiler tank, which sits in a cabinet near the tap. Typically, this will be below the sink, which sometimes means you’ll need to make a small compromise on storage space. Once it’s connected to the mains electricity (with a standard 3-pin socket) and the water supply, the boiler will heat and store the water, ready to be used.
The second element is the tap itself. You’ll find yourself with two main options: a single, dedicated boiling water tap and a 3-in-1 tap, which allows the faucet to dispense cold, boiling or just hot water. These tend to look simpler and sleeker, though it’s really a stylistic preference. Often, the single tap option can fit perfectly next to a usual hot and cold water tap.
What are the costs and environmental impacts of a boiling water tap?
There’s some debate about the energy consumption of boiling water taps. On the one hand, people generally fill kettles with more water than they actually need. Filling a kettle is one of those day-to-day activities that we do on autopilot (particularly first thing in the morning), so it’s easy to see how people can forget about the energy waste related to overfilling.
Typically, a boiling water tap holds enough water to produce 25 cups of tea every hour in a heavily insulated tank (that’s a lot of tea!). Therefore you only use the hot water you need for each cup or pan.
Conversely, the boiling water is stored within the tank for a given amount of time, so don’t forget about the small cost involved to maintain that temperature. The Telegraph has published a helpful guide on the costs associated with boiling water taps, which you can read here.
Safety and boiling water taps: what precautions should I take?
If you’ve got children, you’ll probably have wondered about the safety element. You’re not the first. There’s a variety of different safety measures used within the tap systems. Most will require the user to hold down the tap to allow the flow of water, and if you let go, then the tap stops immediately. Other systems use a fob, which prevents the boiling water function from working altogether.
When we’re including boiling water taps in the kitchens we design (which you can look at here), we make sure they’re heavily insulated so they never feel even remotely hot to touch.
More advanced features used by some manufacturers employ a system that aerates the water as it comes out. This produces a fine-spray flow containing pockets of air, rather than a continuous stream, reducing any associated risk.
For the tea connoisseurs out there…
If you’re fastidious about your teas and coffees, it’s worth nothing that some systems don’t reach the magic 100°c required for the perfect brew. As a safety precaution, most systems make it up to 98°c. Something to bear in mind if those extra 2°c make-or-break it for you.