Is it really worthwhile having a hot water tap instead of just using a kettle?
On one of our recent kitchen renovation projects we had a client querying the value of installing a hot water tap – what exactly are they, how do they work, and why would you have one? It was only once we started talking about all of the benefits that we realised what a popular topic this is and how often we get asked about installing hot water taps.
Our summary of why you need an instant water tap, then, is presented here.
We should also note that while we refer to them as hot water taps – because most people use them to get instant hot water – some models also provide both cold water and cold sparkling water.
What are they?
Hot water taps deliver filtered boiling water instantly and safely at the touch of a button from the tap. There’s no more need to wait for the kettle to boil if you’re wanting a cup of coffee or tea. You just simply press the hot side of the tap or pull the hot level (depending on which model you have), and hot water comes through the tap just like a regular tap – except it is boiling hot and there’s no waiting for it to heat up.
Whether you have a sink or not, we install a tank of approximately 2.5 to 5 litres below the benchtop. The size you choose will depend on your use and space. The heating element in the tank brings the water in it up to a temperature of approximately 98°C, perfect for the ideal cup of tea or coffee.
But don’t worry about wasting resources – most models come with timers or sleep settings so you can set the time you want the water heated. This is a great function for when you know you’re going to be away from home or the office for a period of time.
Why do you need one?
Convenience and time saving
Hot water taps are great for having instant hot water. There’s no more wondering if there’s enough water in the jug, and no more waiting around for it to boil – extremely handy both in the home and in an office setting.
Most people put more water in the kettle to boil than they actually need. Therefore, they’re using electricity to heat more water than is needed, and of course, it takes longer to heat a litre of water (for example) than just a single cup. (In case you’re interested, it takes about four to five minutes to boil a litre of water in a kettle, and about two minutes to bring a cup to the boil in the kettle.)
Instant filtered water
Hot water taps also have an inbuilt filter, so you know the water you’re drinking will be filtered and fresh tasting.
Some models produce both instant hot and cold filtered water, as well as having a sparkling water option.
Hot water taps can be installed on benches or countertops even where there is no sink.
Great for cooking
Instant hot water is great for more than just hot drinks. Meal preparation is faster when you need hot water for boiling pasta, making rice, steaming vegetables, etc. Kitchen clean-up is also easier if you need boiling water for soaking dirty dishes or getting rid of hard-to-remove or stuck-on food from pots and pans.
Ideal for a workplace or office
Having an instant hot water tap is a great idea for office kitchens where you have several people making hot drinks or preparing lunches at different times. Think about the time saved – there are approximately 260 workdays per year. Let’s assume it takes about two minutes for the kettle to boil. If you have 10 employees who each have two hot drinks a day, that adds up to 10,400 minutes, or 173 hours, or 21 working days per year when staff are probably standing in the kitchen talking, reading the paper, checking their phones, while the kettle boils!
Things to look out for
Not all brands are created equal, and there are definitely better hot water taps than others. The things to look for include the space the tank takes up under the bench, the temperature the water is heated to, the flexibility to adjust that temperature setting, whether the unit has a timer or “sleep” setting, and whether the system has a filter. You might also want to look into whether the tap also delivers instant chilled water, or instant cold sparkling water.
Most reputable brands have kept up with consumer expectations in these areas, but it is always worth checking.
The most important thing to be concerned about is safety. There are two things to consider here. First, do the sides of the unit or the tap itself get too hot to touch (or is it well insulated)?
Second, what kind of safety switch or mechanism does the unit have? As boiling water can cause serious burns – especially with children or elderly people with thinner skin – it’s absolutely essential that you use a hot water tap that has specific safety features that prevent use by children. These safety features might include a childproof double push and turn switch, a push and twist operation, or a child lock or clip.
Brands we love
At Regency Plumbing we know and trust both the InSinkErator range and the Rheem range of hot water taps for kitchens. We can install a hot water tap in a new build, a kitchen renovation, or and office fit-out – or we can retro-fit it to your existing space.