In a new series focusing on the nuts and bolts of great interiors, Design Consultant Abigail Hall shares her essential and practical advice. Here, she explains everything you need to know about how to choose a boiling water tap for your kitchen
IMAGE: CHICHESTER KITCHEN IN SHELL AND BROWNING PENDANT, BY NEPTUNE
For some, that pause in the middle of a busy day when you’re forced to stop for a precious few minutes while the kettle boils, can be a welcome relief. For others, in a world of instant gratification, there are few things more frustrating than that very same wait.
There’s no denying that boiling water taps are a nifty time and energy-saving device and once you have one, it’s difficult to imagine life without it. Yet they are a significant investment, both when it comes to buying the tap itself and having it fitted. I’ve installed hundreds, both in brand new kitchens and existing ones, so let me guide you through the nuts and bolts…
How do they work?
A bit on the tech first: Water, when heated and held under pressure, will maintain its temperature. Boiling hot water taps come with an electric-powered pressurised tank, which is concealed under your sink. Et voila; the result is boiling hot water from a tap over your kitchen sink on demand.
Broadly speaking, the modern kettle technology hasn’t changed since its general introduction in the 1950s, so each kettle boil uses about 0.1kWh of electricity – which costs around 2.5p per boil, in comparison to around 3-10p per day to run a boiling water tap. We also have a nasty habit of boiling more water than we need and therefore wasting electricity.
Are they safe?
I’m often asked about the safety of boiling water taps, especially by those with young children. So let me assure you that all boiling hot water taps come with a safety feature to activate the instant boiling water, such as a push and turn ring or a double finger hold. This is imperative as they look almost identical to a regular kitchen tap.
IMAGE: HAMPTON COURT KITCHEN, BY NAKED KITCHENS
Installation and cost
Firstly, the tank needs to be housed somewhere. Tanks for Quooker and Fohën branded taps go under the sink in the cupboard, while the tank for the Franke tap can go behind the kick board as it’s slim, wide and has been cleverly designed to be used horizontally. The size of the tank is up to you, but I recommend that the bigger your family (and the more you cook) the bigger the tank. For my husband and I, a 3-litre tank suits us fine.
You will also need a 13amp socket close to the tank. This isn’t installed as standard in kitchens, so you may have to call an electrician to install this for you. Ideally, I would recommend that you install it in the cupboard under the sink so it’s easily accessible.
You will still need the regular hot and cold supply to your kitchen tap; don’t be fooled into thinking that you can rely on just the tank. Trust me, this doesn’t work. Should you not have a regular hot water supply, the tap will draw from the boiling water tank and once the tank is empty it takes about 20 minutes to refill and heat up. Not very practical if you are trying to wash up.
If your existing water pressure is low, then you may also need a pump installed at an extra cost.
Which brands should I choose?
Now the nuts and bolts are out of the way, you can concentrate on the pretty stuff. There are lots of taps on the market but I recommend going with a company that specialises in manufacturing boiling water taps as the technology is still quite new and they are complex pieces of kit. They are also best set up to manage any warranty or maintenance issues.
Taps from these brands start at about £700 (for a Fohën boiling water tap in polished chrome) but expect to pay over £1,000 for a Franke or Quooker tap. If you add in chilled, filtered or sparkling water supplies you can easily be looking at over £2,000 (a stainless steel Quooker flex with a 3-litre tank and chilled/sparkling water is around £2,450).
One final piece of advice; don’t choose the Zip classic tap for your home. It is the tap of choice for an office kitchen but doesn’t suit a family kitchen. The buttons are large and cumbersome, their textured colour pads are a dirt trap, and it wasn’t designed to go over a sink so the spout length isn’t really practical. There are many better options available, including by Zip.
Designer, speaker and author Abigail Hall is a disrupter, challenging the way building fit out and interior design has been done over recent decades. Abi works in two worlds; in construction, where the technical specification and price are the driving factors and in design, where the aesthetic finish is everything. The reality of a great product is ‘function first and aesthetic after’ and Abi’s years of experience commissioning, designing and fitting out properties across the globe has given her a sharp eye for quality, function and form. Visit www.abigailhall.design where you can find access to her podcast, Every Day Design, a link to her book and more on her design philosophy.
For more useful and practical tips, read Abi’s Essential Guide to Choosing the Right Bath here