Over the past few years, the same technology that allows us to have doors that open for us, touchless car entry, and even the sensors on our phones have given us another application, but this time in our kitchens and bathrooms.
Touchless faucets offer some very tangible benefits from convenience, health, durability as well as water savings. They are elegantly designed and simple to use and add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your home while maintaining good functionality.
The advent of touchless faucets has added another facet of convenience into our lives by making the operation of faucets easier with a simple wave of our hands. Magical in a way, but it does ask whether these touchless taps are worth it?
How Do Touchless Faucets Work
Touchless faucets have built-in sensors that detect motion in front of it and activate water flow through the tap. They usually work via infra-red or ultrasonic fields, and the disruption of that field starts the water through the faucet.
Waving your hand in front of or near the faucet will then be detected by the sensor at the base of the tap or under the spout, and the faucet is then opened by simple motion.
The sensor activates the solenoid valve once it detects motion, and water is pushed through a rubber-like disc depending on the polarity of the signal. If no movement is detected, then the valve remains closed.
The positive signal is sent to the solenoid, which opens, and the negative signal closes the valve.
How Are Touchless Faucets Powered
Touchless systems are powered either by mains electricity or battery power, depending on the design and spec of each product. There are distinct pros and cons with both systems which will be discussed later in this post.
The transformer-powered system keeps the solenoid in the open position, while the battery-powered system will close the valve when a power flow pushes it shut.
Touchless VS Touch Faucets
The main difference between touch and touchless technology is the method of activation. The touch system requires physical contact with the faucet as the sensors are contained throughout the faucet’s body.
Once the sensor detects contact, it then activates the water flow through the faucet.
Touchless systems require no contact to activate the faucet.
Let’s look now at the benefits of touchless faucets and determine whether they are worth investing in for your home.
Benefits Of Touchless Faucets
There are several tangible benefits to having touchless or touch-free faucets in your home.
Touchless Faucets Save Money And Water
One of the more significant advantages of having a touchless system installed in your home is its impact on lowering your water usage. With a standard faucet, you can use around 2 gallons of water when washing your hands.
Touch-free faucets are designed with low flow heads to reduce the quantity of water used, and this is a massive benefit for any household. As freshwater becomes more scarce, we need to ensure that we are as efficient as possible with usage, and touchless faucets achieve that.
How often have you walked into your bathroom or kitchen to find the tap has been left running? This happens when kids come in to wash their hands and forget to switch the water off.
Leaving your faucet open for a few minutes wastes a lot of water. Because the touchless will automatically shut the valve off after no motion is detected, water is conserved. Having touchless faucets will give you peace of mind as you never have to worry about arriving home only to a flooded kitchen or bathroom!
Over years of use, the touchless system can save you hundreds of dollars and hundreds of gallons, and any device that can reduce water wastage is worth having.
Touchless Faucets Are Hygienic
The big problem with standard faucets is the hygiene aspect. Having dirt, grime, and bacteria or germs on your hands will spread them and contaminate any surface you touch.
We have learned this from the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few years, and our focus on hand hygiene and awareness of contaminated surfaces has expanded exponentially.
Before COVID, we weren’t overly concerned about the spread of germs at work or home. Still, since the pandemic, our conscious awareness of potential contamination has become a lot more heightened.
Being able to activate water flow without physically touching the faucet and transmitting germs, bacteria, and dirt to a clean steel surface is one of the main reasons many people install these systems.
Avoid Raw Food Contamination With Touch-Free Faucets
Stomach and digestive infections from raw food contamination are a concern in any household. When touching or working with certain foods like raw meats, we have learned to be extra vigilant around what we handle.
With standard faucets, you’d need to try and put knives and cutting boards into the sink and then try and use your other hand or the one finger you haven’t touched raw food with to try and switch the faucet on!
This seldom worked, and you’d end up having to disinfect the tap once you have washed your hands. With the touch-free faucet, you can still load everything into the sink and then activate the water without ever having to make contact with the body or spout.
Touchless Faucets Gives You A Grime-Free Sink
If you have been working outside and you come in full of grease and grime to wash your hands, the likelihood is that your sink and taps will end up looking they have been in a war.
Dirt and grease will be spread all over the place as you try and wash your hands and arms in the sink, and you’ll end up doing a complete sink clean-up once you are done.
With touchless faucets as there will be no contact between dirty hands surfaces required, and the unsightly grease-coated sink will be a thing of the past.
Touchless Faucets Are Stylish And Sophisticated
Aside from the money-saving, water-saving, and hygienic aspects, these touch-free systems add a level of sophistication and style to your home and kitchen. Available in various spout styles, you can customize the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom accordingly.
Touch-Free Faucets Keep Their Finish
Sometimes overlooked as a feature of these faucets, they tend to keep their finish a lot longer as contact is limited to a wipe with a cloth. The normal wear and tear of usage are minimal compared to touch and standard faucets.
Since dirt and grime aren’t transferred to the tap when used, the need to clean and decontaminate them with detergent or disinfectant is minimal. This prevents abrasion of the surface by chemicals found in those products and results in the long-term preservation of the original finish.
Flush Mount Vs. Undermount Sinks (tap to learn more)
Some Myths About Touchless Faucets
Over the years, some myths have arisen about touchless systems, from their safety to their installation and a few other concerns, so let’s look at those and dispel them one by one.
Touchless Systems Waste Water
This myth was primarily due to low-cost systems with the same quality as the more prolific brands and would activate minimal movement. Many people are concerned about the activation of water as pets or kids pass close to the spout.
While the sensors work with detecting motion in proximity to the faucet, they also are quick to shut off when no further activity is detected. If you consider washing your hands, you will first approach the sensor, which would activate the water flow.
You would then wash and rinse your hands and then move away from the sink to dry them, at which point the sensor would detect a lack of motion and shut off. Not only that, but faucets are generally at waist height, and the activation motion would need to be at the same height.
Its therefore unlikely that small children could activate the flow and keep it open for very long. Even pets passing by would only start them for a few seconds.
Another consideration to dispel this myth is that these taps don’t drip as the solenoid valve is sealed tightly against leakage. At the same time, conventional faucets can leak if not shut off properly.
Concerning water wastage, we can safely say this myth is BUSTED!
Touchless Faucets Are A Risk For Electrocution
We all know that because water and electricity mix very well, so in many circumstances, it is not safe where electricity and water are in close proximity. However, this is mainly where the electric current is 120V or 240V, as found in electrical wall sockets.
Touchless faucets have very low voltage and only operate on 1.5V if running off batteries and around 9V when working from the electrical transformers. This is not enough current to harm anyone or anything as the amperages involved are very small.
Remember that these are electrically operated, so if your batteries run flat or you have a power failure, then your faucets won’t work. This is a consideration when deciding on the power supply for your touchless faucets.
If your area is prone to electrical failures, then perhaps a battery-operated system would be better. If you don’t suffer from supply disruption, then the transformer option could be better.
Touchless faucets are very safe, and there is no risk of electrocution.
Touchless Faucets Are Difficult To Install
Installing the touchless system when you have existing faucets is not as difficult as it might first appear. Any level of DIY ability combined with the comprehensive instructions makes it simple to install these.
Most of these systems come with color-coded instructions and wiring diagrams, making them pretty easy to set up correctly.
Again, if you are going to purchase a touchless system, it would be better to opt for a quality product from a recognized brand such as Grohe or Kraus (paid links to Amazon). You will find simple instructions included.
Touch-Free Faucets Aren’t Good For Kids Or Toddlers
This myth arose as people thought that because kids are shorter, they wouldn’t activate the water flow. This is inherently untrue, as if they can reach the basin, they can start the water flow the same as an adult.
The opposite is true, as touchless faucets are ideal for teaching kids about responsible water usage and why it is essential to conserve water using systems such as these.
Also, as mentioned earlier, touchless systems prevent leakage and water wastage from taps left running or not closed off properly.
Touch-Free Systems Are More Expensive
This is true as a standard faucet will be much cheaper than touch or touch-free systems. However, it would help if you weighed up the medium- and long-term results and benefits you would find that the savings would offset the cost of investment over the years.
The other consideration is that having touchless systems in your kitchen and bathroom would add value to the house if you ever decided to sell it. It does an attractive marketing hook for prospective buyers.
Of course, the use of batteries or electricity will add a small extra cost to the monthly electricity bill, but the voltage is so small that it would be a few dollars at worst. Installing electrical touchless faucets will not see your utility bill skyrocket by tens of dollars.
On average, an electrical system would last about five years, with batteries running for almost two years. Remember that the sensors run on minuscule voltages, and even AA batteries will last long before swapping out.
Temperature Control Is Difficult
With past lower-quality models and lesser technology, this was a factor in days gone by. Still, the modern good quality systems are vastly improved, leading to far better and more precise control of temperature.
Again, it is always good advice and practice to invest in a decent brand (paid link to Amazon) if you will install touchless faucets so that you get the best operational quality and durability you can afford.
Spending a bit more on your touchless faucets will be worth it in the long run, as you can enjoy the convenience for years to come.
After weighing up all the different factors, it is overwhelmingly evident that touchless faucets will become more and more commonplace in homes in the USA and all over the world.
Their many benefits like water conservation, hygiene, safety, and aesthetics and their superior convenience and simplicity of operation make touchless faucets well worth the investment.
Next, you can learn about whether faucets are universal or not, or if you’re a little more adventurous I made a guide on how to clean your bathtub with oven cleaner.