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Posted on April 6, 2021


Touchless faucets deliver just the right amount of water at the right flow and temperature. Since they work by sensors and with pre-set water temperatures, you don’t have to worry about people scalding themselves or wasting water by leaving the tap on. In this article, we’ll talk a bit about how electronic taps work and go over five main benefits of using them.

How Does an Automatic Faucet Work?

An automatic faucet, also known as a sensor tap, uses an infrared sensor to detect when an object is within a certain proximity. When the automatic sensor detects an object, like a person’s hands, it applies voltage to a solenoid valve. This prompts the valve to open and release water through the faucet. The water is preconditioned to produce the same flow and temperature each time.

Sensor taps need a power supply. They can either be hard-wired or battery operated. Multiple units can be controlled by a single remote control, as well, which makes maintenance easy. When installing an automatic tap, it’s important to consider the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully. Reflective surfaces can cause problems for the sensor, so correct placement is required.

Other Types of Automatic Plumbing Fixtures

Besides bathroom sink faucets, infrared sensors can control other plumbing fixtures like bottle filling stations and toilets. An automatic filling machine eliminates the need for people to touch a button to turn the water on, which can help stop the spread of disease. Many also include LED indicators for filter status and lights that can help people line up their bottles with the dispenser.

Automatic toilets support hygiene in the bathroom, as well. Since the toilet flushes automatically, it doesn’t matter if someone forgets to flush. That can help a lot with odor and general nastiness. The main benefit of sensor toilets is increased cleanliness, but they may or may not save water. Standard automatic models can double or triple flush during one use. Water usage depends on the model and settings.

Five Reasons to Install Touchless Faucets

From saving water to improving cleanliness, there are many reasons to use automatic taps in the modern restroom. Here are the top five benefits to installing water saving sensors.

1. Save Water (And Money)

A big benefit to using electronic taps is the ability to conserve water. So, how much water do sensor taps save? According to Hanley Wood University, smart taps can save 30% or more of water usage. That means sensor faucets can save 30% or more on your water bill, too.

Sensor taps usually work on a timer of 10 to 15 seconds. That means the tap will turn off as the user moves their hands away to lather with soap. Most people leave the water running during this time, so an automatic shutoff saves water. Also, when the tap shuts itself off, it’s fully shut. In other words, this eliminates common commercial plumbing problems of leaks and overflows.

With traditional taps, someone might open the faucet all the way and then dial it back down to their desired flow. A sensor tap eliminates this period since it has a constant temperature and flow rate. Of course, there is a higher upfront cost to installing touchless faucets. But many businesses find the cost of installations is recouped by water and utility bill savings rather quickly.

2. Improve Cleanliness

One of the big advantages to using touchless bathroom faucets is increased cleanliness. Manual and press taps require people to touch the tap before they’ve washed their hands. After they’ve washed, they need to touch the same tap again, which is a recipe for bacteria growth and cross contamination. In public washrooms, people who are conscious about hygiene may try to grab a paper towel to close the manual faucet after they finish washing, but paper towels aren’t always available.

Touchless faucets start at a wave of the hand. Employees or customers don’t need to touch the faucet at all. Combined with automatic soap dispensers, this technology can help people stay healthier especially during cold and flu season.

3. Modernize Maintenance

Today, advanced sensor taps can do much more than simply turn water on and off. They can become a source for real-time data on a building’s water usage at each individual faucet. Faucets can contain water metering technology to provide insights without requiring extra equipment installations. Maintenance teams can “tap” in with smartphones and edit settings like sensitivity, flow, and temperature on the fly. And they can do that remotely, without having to put the restroom offline.

Automatic faucets have fewer moving parts than traditional ones, and they tend to function well for much longer, too. Of course, some level of cleaning and maintenance is still required. It’s important to check the sensor range and sensitivity from time to time to make sure operation is easy.

4. Improve Accessibility

Hands-free taps are easy to use. That’s important when you want to make your restroom accessible to all kinds of people. People with limited mobility can have an easier time using the restroom and washing up with a motion-activated system than a standard faucet. There are no levers or knobs to deal with.

5. Increase Safety

Besides being energy efficient and easy to use, sensor taps are also safer than traditional faucets. That’s because these taps eliminate the risk of someone scalding themselves with hot water. Your water heater may be maintained at a high enough temperature to kill bacteria, but this water temperature should never reach the person at the sink.

If people have access to both hot and cold levers, they may turn the hot water on by itself, thinking it’s only as hot as the faucet at home. It only takes a few seconds for very hot water to scald and burn someone. On the other hand, thermostatic mixing valves installed with automatic faucets combine hot and cold water to make the right temperature water come out of the spout from the start. Many faucets today also have built-in hot water temperature limiters, which make the installation even more convenient.

Upgrade Your Restroom with Touchless Fixtures

Whether you want to take advantage of better water efficiency and reduced water bills or improve accessibility in your restroom, there are many reasons to install hands-free faucets and flush valves. Our commercial plumbing team at Wm. T. Spaeder has the experience and equipment to install touchless water taps for a variety of applications. Active in the greater Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Erie areas, Spaeder services a range of industries including foodservice, healthcare, commercial retail, and industrial refining.

Get in touch with a commercial plumbing specialist today for more information.


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