Seemingly relegated to airport and stadium bathrooms, touchless faucets are starting to make their way into homes, with plumbing manufacturers moving to offer more design options. It’s an idea that may seem strange at first, but touchless faucets are actually quite practical, especially for a children’s bathroom. They are clearly beneficial in that they limit the spread of bacteria, but they also save water. Consider how much water is wasted while brushing teeth. A touchless faucet ensures that water isn’t running the entire time someone is brushing. Combined with a water-saving aerator, touchless faucets can save a substantial amount of water. And, since the water is set at a specific temperature, having a touchless faucet removes the risk of a child scalding him or herself accidentally.
Touchless faucets are also available for kitchens, though consumers will need to do some research to make sure they are getting something that fits their habits. Kitchen touchless faucets clearly carry the same health and water conservation benefits but most are set at one temperature, which might be inconvenient. Also, if the faucet does not have an override switch, the homeowner will have to hold his or her hand over the sensor while filling a pot or doing dishes, though perhaps running water while doing dishes is a habit we should reconsider.
Touchless faucets are powered either by a battery or with a/c power, so there is a built in energy cost, but the minds over at TOTO have come up with a way to fix even that problem. Their EcoPower sensor faucets contain batteries that are recharged by the passage of water through the faucet. How cool is that? Granted, to remain fully charged the faucet must be used ten times a day, so it might not be a good idea for very low traffic bathrooms or kitchens. Check out the EcoPower technology and other sustainable ideas at TOTO’s new TOTOLOGY website.
For more ideas on saving water, check out these articles on tub sizes, tankless water heaters, and Elements of Building: Water.
Photo by Vlad Iorga