Infrared taps weren’t born yesterday, but for a long time they remained a feature for public restrooms. It is almost needless explaining what it is, because basically we all know that infrared taps do not have a mechanical lever and they turn automatically the water on when an infrared sensor recognize the presence of your hands. Restaurants, hotels, gyms, airports: there is no public place that do not use this technology to obtain a mix of water saving, safety and hygiene. To all this, we must add some considerations about the “new reality”: washing your hands without touching any object lowers the risk of transmission of any infection. For this reason – for those who are still not sure about it – it is the best decision to take right now.
Infrared taps don’t have any particular issue from a technical point of view, they are extremely simple to install and they are convenient in terms of durability and water/energy saving. So, why aren’t they more accepted in private homes? Probably it is due to a culture that is evolving slowly. Although today we live surrounded by high-tech devices, in this area it seems that the simple transition from mechanical to electronic taps is more difficult than elsewhere. The infrared tap is not more complicated to install than a regular tap, nor does it hide any problems for programming or maintaining it. In short, it is something that does not create troubles and that, in the long run, has only benefits.
False myths about the electronic tap, from installation to safety.
One of the myths to clear up about the electronic tap is the complexity of installation. For the traditional tap, you have just to connect the hoses and install the drain, which a good plumber can do in just over 10 minutes. For an infrared tap the operation is the same; the only difference is that the hoses are not connected to the wall but to the electronic mechanism that contains the battery pack. And that’s it.
Then, there can be the doubt about the settings, but they are already programmed from our factory. At what distance between the sensor and your hands, does the tap start dispensing water? With what intensity? After how long does the flow stop? What happens when the sensor is dirty? The technology provides precise answers to each of these questions without the plumber or the end user having to do anything: certainly, in case of special needs, it is possible to review the original settings and perform a customized calibration, but this does not generate problems for the installation process or subsequent maintenance of the tap.
We think that it’s all a cultural thing. By 2020, some people still tend to trust more the mechanical system than an electronic one, forgetting – for example – how vital technology is for cars today, and, in that case, we entrust our safety to it without doubts. But what could be the fears about an electronic tap? Some people wonder how to stop the water supply when the infrared cell is dirty or when there is a malfunction of any other kind, not knowing that the supply stops anyway after the pre-set time to avoid water waste or flooding. Others fear that a blackout, unlike mechanical systems, may inhibit the use of the tap, but the electronic tap is equipped with a battery that guarantees up to 220,000 operations (years and years), and that blocks the tap in a “closed” state once the charge is finished, avoiding any kind of troubles.
The (real) benefits of the infrared tap, from savings to hygiene.
The fears are unjustified, the benefits are real. The first one is certainly water saving, which not only has a positive impact on consumption but also on sustainability and the protection of resources: the electronic tap consumes only the water that is needed, reducing the flow time. In a domestic context, this makes a lot of sense, because it is quite common to keep the water open when you dry your hands or for several seconds while brushing your teeth: with an electronic system, there is less waste. This helps both the budget and the planet.
Other advantages of the infrared taps? Safety, of course: just think of the fact that an electronic tap can’t be left open, and therefore cannot cause flooding. The tap in any case stops the flow even if the sensor does not work, the batteries in the power supply run out or in any other malfunction. If it is a thermostatic electronic tap, it is also possible to set the desired water temperature and protect the user from water burns.
Then there is hygiene aspect. The infrared tap has the peculiarity of not having to be touched to work, and it is ideal in all those spaces (especially public ones) where the transmission of viruses and bacteria is higher due to the high concentration of people. From this point of view, the risk is clearly lower at home, but right now this kind of system can be useful anywhere.
And finally there is the threat of legionella, a bacterium that develops in stagnant water and can cause serious health consequences. The best measure is preventing water from stagnating in the pipes and taps for a long time, which is achieved by ensuring a regular flow of the water itself. Unfortunately, this is not always feasible, especially in places that you visit only on weekends or holidays. It is precisely here that the importance of the infrared tap is higher: many of our electronic taps, in fact, are equipped with an washing system that make flow automatically the water every 24 hours when the system is not used for a long time, ensuring the necessary freshness.