Advice on fitting three-way, boiling water and filter taps
Convenience is a big factor when it comes to consumer spending, which is why innovations within the tap sector have focused on developing products that can dispense boiling, chilled and filtered water. Due to high demand, this market is growing every year.
Popular with consumers wanting to simplify their kitchen and maximise worktop space by removing the need for a kettle, boiling water taps have become increasingly common and are now available from a number of manufacturers.
“There are one million kitchens sold a year and there’s currently around 150,000 boiling water taps supplied per annum,” says Stephen Johnson, managing director of Quooker UK. “That number is growing significantly. As a company we grow by around 50% a year.”
Although the idea of having boiling water on tap is extremely appealing for many customers, there are questions surrounding safety, particularly for households which include children or vulnerable adults.
“Instant boiling kettle taps are designed with safety in mind,” reassures Dario Palumbo, marketing manager at Monarch Water. “These types of taps feature child-proof safety locks and are made using a specialised anti-scald material.”
Safety features on a Quooker tap, like the one pictured above, include a mechanism where the user must press the handle twice and then turn it for boiling water; a light indicates when the boiling water feature has been activated, to warn the user. In addition, boiling water taps tend to operate at much lower water pressure than regular taps, which prevents the hot water from splashing uncontrollably. These taps are ideal for people who have problems with mobility as they remove the need to lift kettles and the associated risks.
“If you do lots of activity in your kitchen that requires the use of boiling water, then a boiling water tap is by far the quickest, safest and most sustainable way to deliver true boiling water,” says Johnson.
The majority of houses should be able to install a boiling water tap as long as there is space to mount the water tank, access to a power supply and adequate water pressure. The water tank is connected to a power socket in addition to the cold water supply. A heating element inside the tank, much like a kettle, brings the water to temperature, which is then fed through to the tap.
“In most cases, kettle taps come with under sink filter systems which remove scale and scum, bad tastes, odours and organic chemicals, providing the perfect water for hot beverages,” explains Palumbo. “The filter also protects the tap’s boiler tank from limescale, ensuring that it’s running at optimum efficiency.”
Although tanks vary in size and capacity, most are compact and will fit easily under kitchen sinks. Despite the fact that the boiling point of water is 100°C, not all boiling water taps reach that temperature.
“Most kettle taps dispense water around 98°- 99°C due to the time it takes to travel through to the tap,” explains Jerry Whiteley, CIPHE technical manager. “Hot water taps should come with adjustable temperature options, so end users can choose the appropriate level of heat for themselves.”
In most cases, boiling water taps are made in a monobloc style, meaning everything is contained in one unit. As most kitchens have one mixer tap, swapping them out for a boiler tap should be a straightforward process.
“If installers are replacing two separate hot and cold taps, then they’ll need to adapt the plumbing,” points out Whiteley. “Installers also need to check the cold water pressure to ensure it is adequate or that it doesn’t exceed that tap’s maximum pressure. If it does, then a pressure-reducing valve will need to be fitted, otherwise the warranty could be void.
"Isolation valves should also be fitted for maintenance and filter changes and installers should remember to leave a maintenance schedule with the user.”
Commissioning of the tap and the filter is also important to ensure that it performs to meet the requirements and expectations of the customer.
“Check the power rating of the boiling water tank against the circuit it will be connected to and employ the services of a suitably qualified electrician for electrical work,” adds Whiteley. “Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to each specific product.”
Pure and simple
As consumers become increasingly focused on health, filter water taps are becoming more popular and there are a variety of products on the market which feature stand-alone taps in addition to three-way taps, which provide hot, cold and filtered water.
The majority of water filter taps use carbon block filters (activated charcoal), which reduce or remove unwanted impurities in water such as scale-producing minerals, chlorine, herbicides and pesticides, resulting in clean, ultra-clear and fresh-tasting water.
“Some filters feature auto-shut-off heads, which allow the cartridges to be changed without having to turn off the water supply,” explains Palumbo. “Although compact, some filters have capacities of around 10,000 litres, catering for the needs of all lifestyles.”
When it comes to fitting filtered water taps, it is pretty straightforward. When fitting a three-way tap, you can simply swap out the old for new and connect the water filter that’s installed under the sink according to the manufacturer's instructions.