It’s not too bold a statement to say that no tap has changed the way we use our kitchen more than the boiling water tap. Sure, pull out taps are great, and anyone who’s got one will tell you so as they effortlessly clean their sink and draining area.
Then there are filtered water taps; no more bottled water or bulky filter jugs taking up space in your fridge, just the purest of water straight from your tap. But when it comes to time saving and convenience, nothing comes close to a boiling water tap. Such is the effect they’ve had, we predict that the kettle will soon be a thing of the past.
Why Are Boiling Water Taps Taking Over Kitchens?
It is estimated that 90% of the adult British population drink either tea or coffee on a daily basis. This equates to roughly 24 million households using a kettle to make a hot drink at least once a day. That’s a lot of kettles which might soon be obsolete.
So how does a boiling water tap help? Well, instead of waiting 3 minutes a day (or 18 hours a year!) for the kettle to boil, you simply twist a handle and you have instant hot water. It’s as simple as that. There’s no waiting around, no hidden catches, just instant hot water as and when you want it.
Not only that, but you're only using the exact amount of water you need. Apparently, 67% of people overfill their kettle each and every time they use it. That equates to about 3,500 tonnes of CO2 wasted every single day. And we don't know about you, but before we joined the boiling tap revolution we used to empty out the leftover water from the last boil, and replace it with 'fresh' water each time too. All in all, your kettle is long overdue a more modern and convenient upgrade.
And the great thing is, a boiling water tap doesn’t just have to be used to make hot drinks. Need to steam some vegetables? Fancy a Pot Noodle (or other instant noodle treat)? Want to whip up a quick pasta dish? All of these are possible to do simply by turning the handle on a tap, and all in a fraction of the time it would take you to boil a kettle.
What is the Truth About Boiling Water Taps Then?
It all sounds great so far, but what is this mysterious truth that we need to speak of? The truth is, whilst they may be referred to as 'boiling' water taps, by the time the water makes its way from the tank and out through the spout, most models do not delivery true boiling hot water. In fact, due to a patent on providing 100°C water from a tap, the only taps on the market that actually deliver boiling water are made by Quooker. But before you rush off to spend £1000 or more on a tap, let's find out whether you really need the water to be 100°C...
In most boiling water taps, the water comes out at anything up to 98°C (many have adjustable temperature settings). So do these few degrees make a difference?
The consensus seems to be that most teas should not be prepared with boiling water. White tea, so we're told, should be 'brewed with water that is well below boiling... higher temperatures will scald the tea'. The same seems to be true for green tea.
And what about coffee? Same story. 100°C water is simply too hot for most coffee beans, causing the grounds to extract too soon and leaving a bitter taste. The sweet-spot for most blends is often just below boiling.
Aren’t Boiling Water Taps Expensive?
Many people are reluctant to buy a boiling water tap because they’re worried about the costs. We’re not going to try and sugar-coat it and pretend that they’re cheap, because the best things never are...
The Vellamo range of instant hot water taps start at under £500 and for this you get the tap and the boiler unit. All Vellamo hot water taps also come with a filter which purifies the water before it enters the boiler tank, removing impurities and preventing limescale from building up in the tank. The other added benefit of the filter is that it ensures your boiling water is as pure as possible, and therefore tastes better. There is a fascinating YouTube video from Brita showing the difference between a cup of tea made with normal tap water and one made with filtered water. You’ll never look at a cup of tea in the same way again.
Boiling water taps of old used to be just that - a boiling water tap. You’d then still need to have a ‘normal’ kitchen tap to do everything else in your kitchen. This not only looks messy on the surface, but is a nightmare for plumbers as well. Fortunately then, almost all modern boiling water taps also serve all your other kitchen needs with mains hot and cold water coming out of the same spout.
Another cost worry might be installation costs. Do you need to book a plumber and an electrician? The simple answer in 99% of cases is “no.” Your plumber can install the tap much in the same way that they would any other - just with a few more connections to filters and boiler tanks - but the boiler tank itself can be installed by you as they more often than not come with a standard 13 amp plug that goes straight into the wall.
What About Running Costs?
One of the most common questions we get asked here at Tap Warehouse is, “Is it cheaper to run that a kettle?” The truthful answer is that it depends on how much you are planning on using it. If you’re only going to use it for one cup of coffee in the morning, then no, it’s not going to be cheaper than a kettle. If, however, you’re going to be using it multiple times a day, then it does work out cheaper than a kettle. The average kettle costs about 2.5p to boil.
Quooker states that their boiling water taps cost just 3p per day. Obviously this daily cost will vary from brand to brand, but all brands will be cheaper throughout the day than constantly boiling a kettle, especially if you're not boiling the exact amount of water that you need to use.
If you live in a hard water area, look at the inside of your kettle. If you don’t regularly use descaler on it, the chances are that it’s covered in a white, chalk-like substance, also known as limescale.
So, what’s to stop that happening to your boiling water tap, which, unlike a kettle, you can’t just chuck a descaling tablet in? The answer is the filter unit that most boiling water taps come with. This filter purifies and removes the hardness from the water before it even reaches the boiler tank. Thanks to the filter, the water that enters the tank is as pure as possible and ensures that your tank will not become clogged with limescale
It’s very important to remember that just like the oil filter on your car, the filter for your boiling water does not filter an infinite amount of water; it will need replacing from time to time to keep your water pure and your tank free from limescale. There is no hard and fast rule as to how often this filter needs to be changed, however, most manufacturers recommend roughly every 6 months, though this will vary depending on usage. Each tap has its own specific filter, so it’s important to choose the right one for your tap. If you’re unsure which one is right for your tap, our customer service team are always on hand to help.
Are Boiling Water Taps Safe?
With scalding hot water available at the turn of a handle, safety is obviously a top priority, so how do you make sure that you’re not regularly making a trip to the local burns unit?
Most instant hot water taps all utilise a safety sprung handle; it’s not simply enough to twist the handle like you would to dispense normal hot and cold water. To release the steaming hot water you first need to press down the safety button, then twist the handle, keeping it twisted whilst you fill up your mug. As soon as the handle is released, it’ll spring back to the “off” position and the hot water will instantly stop. If the button isn’t pushed down, or if you release the handle, there’ll be no hot water. You can’t accidentally leave the steaming water running like you can with a ‘normal’ tap. This makes it very difficult for inquisitive children to accidentally hurt themselves.
Some brands have even more innovative safety features, such as the Abode Pronteau 4-in-1 range. Abode uses an innovative magnetic Hotkey, and only when this Hotkey is in the right spot will the hot water be dispensed. If the Hotkey is not used, the tap becomes just a regular 3-in-1 tap with domestic hot & cold and ambient filtered water. The Hotkey can be kept magnetically in place behind the tap or hidden away completely out of reach of inquisitive hands.
Boiling water taps also deliver the hot water at a slightly lower pressure than you might expect. This is to prevent the water from spitting and splashing, again keeping you safe. Some boiling water taps also have a safety lock which can be engaged so that no one can use it without first unlocking it.
The Different Types of Systems
Different boiling water taps use different systems to deliver hot water to your kitchen, and each have their own pros and cons which we shall briefly discuss.
Quooker, Zip, and Grohe Red hot water taps use a pressurised system. These store the water at a higher temperature and usually deliver it at a higher pressure, however, there are drawbacks. If the pressure release valve gets blocked or obstructed, the tank can explode. Pressurised systems also tend to be slower to reheat the water and have a smaller tank capacity, and many systems do not have a limescale inhibitor. As we know, Quooker are famously the only brand that store and deliver the water above 100°C, but because of this, it means that their products are unable to get WRAS approval (see our separate blog on the WRAS scheme) as water regulations state that you are not allowed to store water above 100°C in a domestic dwelling. What this means is that if you install a 'true' boiling water tank and tap in a new build property, the water board will not connect your mains cold water supply!
Insinkerator taps and the Vellamo Mokka and Cappa hot water taps use a non-pressurised or vented system. The Mokka and Cappa use a non-pressurised open vented tank which is proven technology and is considered to be safer. They are also easier to install and easier to service with quicker reheat times. The temperature is stored at a slightly lower temperature to that in a pressurised system, but this means that they can meet the water regulations approval - the Mokka and Cappa are both WRAS approved. It is also easy to attach a filtration system on non-pressurised systems which not only gives you purer hot water, but also seriously reduce limescale.
Non-pressurised systems do of course have some drawbacks, but they are slight. They tend to have less effective temperature controls and a more basic tank functionality. The temperature of the water being dispensed can also reduce very quickly, although this does not happen with the Mokka and Cappa thanks to a unique Venturi expansion system which ensures a consistent temperature cup after cup.
Which Are the Best Boiling Water Taps Then?
As previously mentioned, if you absolutely must have 100°C boiling water, then only a kettle or a Quooker tap will do. If you feel much the same as we feel, then 98°C is perfectly sufficient (and better for most hot drinks). Quooker make an excellent product, but it comes at a high price. For quite a lot less, we highly recommend the Vellamo Mokka and Cappa taps. Both are WRAS and CE approved and come complete with a boiler unit and filter. The boiler has two preset temperature settings and a 2.4 litre capacity - more than enough for your home’s daily needs. They use a unique Venturi expansion system which ensures a consistent temperature cup after cup. For under £500, they offer exceptional value-for-money.
There's also Perrin & Rowe's Phoenix taps which have filtration technology for the purist water, as well as the everlastingly popular traditional Polaris design with dual ceramic handles and a hand-assembled construction. Available in three equally alluring finishes - chrome, nickel and pewter - Perrin & Rowe's Polaris beautifully combines the benefits of traditional style and contemporary tech seamlessly together. The Pronteau range from Abode are extremely popular as well, and with a vast range of finishes as well as the safety of the innovative Hotkey on the 4-in-1 range, there are few better and safer boiling water taps.
So, there we have it, the truth about boiling water taps. Thank you for reading. We hope we have enlightened your understanding of these fantastic taps. As ever, please feel free to leave us any comments or questions below and we’ll do our best to answer them. If you're ready to ditch the kettle, you can shop our range of boiling taps here.