Touchless faucet are often found in restaurants, cafes and other public places because of their convenience and hygiene. However, these touchless faucets can also be installed on your home sink. To be happy with your choice, you need to consider some nuances regarding the design, installation and use of the faucet.
What is a Touchless Faucet?
Non-contact faucets are plumbing fixtures equipped with an electronic sensor, infrared (reacts to heat radiation) or radar (reacts to changes in volume in the sensor’s field of action).
The lack of any control levers is the main difference between a sensor faucet and a conventional one. The typical cold and hot water valves and on/off lever are missing in a sensor faucet, which is just a spout. There is a sensor built into the body of the mixer spout that responds to movement.
The only control system on the body is the water adjustment system, which is in the form of a small lever. However, this is not always the case. To change the temperature, just touch the right or left side of the faucet body in many models that also use touchless technology.
Types of Power Methods
The main distinguishing feature of touch-sensitive faucets is the way they are powered. And it comes in two kinds.
- From a wall outlet. Sensor faucets with power from the socket have a small power supply that is attached to the wall. This type is great for public places where the faucet is used very often.
- Battery-powered. Battery power is much more convenient and safer than power from an outlet. Usually, one battery charge lasts for several months in public areas. Of course, in a private bathroom, the faucet will last much longer on a single battery charge.
How a touchless faucet works and how it’s designed
There are several varieties of faucets with automatic water control in the retail network, which differ from each other in the principle of operation, they can be divided into the following categories:
With infrared sensor
Faucet with infrared sensor is designed to automatically turn on the water when it detects thermal radiation in the area of its sensor, it can be hands or any object having a temperature higher than the room temperature. Normally, the radius of action at which the sensor detects thermal radiation is adjustable, its standard value does not exceed 30 cm.
Such a faucet has a pyroelectric element located in the front of the body under the spout. The infrared rays reach it through a focusing lens. An electrical pulse from the sensor, amplified by electronic circuitry, is delivered to a solenoid coil with a valve on an armature.
The valve opens the channel for the passage of water and closes it after a certain time after the hands are not in the sensor area – usually this interval is about 0.5 s.
The electronic circuitry and solenoid valve of the sensor mixer are powered by AA batteries or an AC to DC converter. The water temperature in the mixer is regulated by the side tap on its body, the second option – by the valves on the pipes under the sink.
With an optoelectronic sensor
Any optical sensor consists of two elements – a transmitter, which forms a beam of light, and a receiver, which captures the light flux from the outgoing radiation. The beam can travel a certain distance from the radiation source to the photodetector if they are separated, or reach the sensor after reflection from any objects if the receiver and the transmitter are next to each other in the same housing.
In the optoelectronic mixer, the latter variant of sensor placement is implemented, when the light beam arrives at the sensor after reflection from the surface of various objects. The light radiation can be both in the visible part of the spectrum and in the invisible infrared region, the latter option is used in optoelectronic systems more often.
The standard location of the sensor is at the bottom under the spout in the front of the body, in some models it is installed separately from the mixer on a special panel. Some Oras and Ksitex brands have optical sensors, which are presumably fitted with two windows on the front of the body.
With touch sensor
This type of faucet has overlays on the body or spout that shift a charge on the metal surface when it comes into contact with them (Touch function). This change is detected by an electronic circuit and converted into a current that is applied to the solenoid coil of the valve. When voltage is applied to the coil, the stem with the elastic shut-off piston moves inside the coil and the valve turns the water on or off.
Some sensor models only have a cold water function – they are not designed to operate with a faucet. Sensor taps are powered like other models by an AC to DC 6-9V converter or by finger-size batteries with a total voltage of 6V.
With an inductive sensor
Many not only online resources, but also the authors of factory manuals and instructions, point to the presence of inductive sensors in the design of cranes that respond to movement within their range. They suggest that the presence of body parts within the range of magnetic force lines can affect the electromagnetic field whose change the sensor picks up.
A non-contact mixer can theoretically contain not an inductive (inductive) but a capacitive sensor that reacts to approaching metals. In capacitive meters, the sensing element is one of the plates of a spatial capacitor (such as a spout), the other may be ground or a metal absorber body.
Between the two plates of the capacitor in the normal state is air, the dielectric permittivity of which is close to one (1 – the index in a vacuum), respectively, the capacitance of the spatial capacitor is small.
The problem with capacitive sensors is that it is almost impossible to turn them off by hand after turning on the water – the dielectric constant of water is about 80 units, comparable to the dielectric constant of a human being of 40 to 60 units.
The Advantages of Touchless Faucet
Efficiency. The fact that the sensor faucet is economical is one of its key advantages. By automatically shutting off the water supply, water loss is eliminated. As a result, the price of water services is reduced.
- Eco-friendliness. A sensor-controlled faucet can save you not only money, but also time. The intelligent use of natural resources has overtaken all other global issues in recent decades. Among the advanced technologies for responsible use of the world’s water resources are automatic faucets.
- Maximum purity. The first people to realize this benefit of automatic faucets were managers and visitors to public toilets. A non-contact faucet is used without physical contact with the user. This means that the faucet will not become a haven for bacteria and a source of contagious disease.
- Durability. Movable valves and control levers are not implied by the architecture of the faucet. And in conventional faucets, it is these components that fail the fastest. Especially with frequent use. Again, owners of public facilities especially like this advantage of touch-sensitive faucets. Still, durability is not the least of these for the home.
- Flood protection. No more wondering if you turned off the faucet before leaving the house. A “smart” faucet will automatically close it behind you. You also won’t flood the neighbors who live below you.
- Extra comfort. The sensor faucet already “knows” what water pressure and temperature you want. This means that you will get the best service from a dedicated servant who will take into account all your requirements and wishes. You have to agree, it’s really great.
- Modern design and style. Touchless faucets are compact in size and incredibly attractive in appearance because they don’t have any protruding elements, such as handles. The simple style and adaptability of the faucet allows it to match any kitchen or bathroom interior design.
If the sensor is broken, it is not recommended to repair it yourself. In this case, it is better to turn to a professional.
Most often, users of the sensor faucet are faced with clogging of the aerator. A sign of clogging is a decrease in the pressure of the jet. To fix the problem, it is necessary to remove the corroded aerator and replace it with a new one.
To buy a sensor faucet that is ideal for use in specific conditions, you need to consider the following points:
- Place of installation of the device. For the correct operation of the sensor faucet for the sink, pay attention to the compatibility of the latter with similar plumbing. If the dimensions of the faucet do not fit the existing sink, there will inevitably be difficulties with installation and adjustment.
- Ability to adjust the water temperature and sensitivity. Not all automatic sensor faucets support the ability to adjust the temperature or sensitivity of the sensor during use. The lack of these options makes it difficult to use the plumbing fixture. We recommend that you immediately pay attention to the presence of these functions of the faucet.
- Material. To ensure that the sensor faucet for the washbasin worked steadily and for a long time, choose brass products. Silumin faucets, although they cost cheaper, have a short lifespan.
- Manufacturer. Buy sensor plumbing fixtures from well-known brands that provide a warranty of at least 4 years.
- Faucet system. When choosing a faucet, you should pay attention to its system – one-pipe or two-pipe. If you plan to supply both hot and cold water, the choice should stop at the two-pipe scheme.
- Consistency of style. For example, in a room with a different faucet already installed, it is desirable to pick up the automatic mixer corresponding to his style.
- Reviews about the equipment. Before you buy a device, read reviews about it, which can be found on sites specializing in it, reviewers. This will give an opportunity to learn more about the equipment and its work from specific people.
Installation and Mounting
You can install the faucet yourself. Follow the instructions that come with the purchase of sanitary ware. Pay attention to the following features and sequence of work:
- Before starting the installation process, shut off the water supply and remove the faucet.
- Two flexible hoses are led to the body of the faucet. From the stud unscrew the nut and remove the ring of plastic. The faucet with a rubber gasket is inserted into the sink hole.
- In reverse order put the plastic ring on the stud and secure the assembly by tightening the nut.
- Cold and hot water pipes are fitted with purification filters.
- Flexible hoses are connected to the water pipes.
- Under the washbasin in the wall with a hammer drill make a hole, insert the dowel and screw into it.
- Connect wiring – the cord from the motion sensor is connected to the cable.
- In the same way mount the electric power supply. Its function is to convert the AC voltage. The device is connected to the screw and plugged into the socket. Following the instructions and the scheme, which shows how to install a sensor faucet, the owner of the house will be able to fix the technical unit and adjust the electronic unit.
Then carry out the adjustment of the sensors, for which the hands are kept in the fixation zone until the electronic device remembers the zone of action. As a rule, the time is 30-40 seconds.
NOTE: Because of the way the non-contact faucet works, it is not recommended to install it for the bathroom (if you have a sink next to the bathtub, you can install it).
For the bath its use will be associated with a number of inconveniences. The main difficulty is related to filling the bathtub. In order to have a constant flow from the spout, depending on the model of the faucet, you will have to hold your hand or move it up and down to trigger the sensor.
About the Price
Another important point: buyers are interested in how much a sensor faucet costs. The price of these sanitary faucets is higher compared to traditional models. The cost depends on the brand, performance material, availability of a display and other additional options.
You can find out the prices for the mixer and the most popular options here:
9 Best Touchless Kitchen Faucets with Different Modes
When choosing, do not forget to inspect the faucet, as it should not have any damage. Also try to think in advance about the interior of the bathroom and match the selected plumbing fixtures with faucets to end up with a harmonious space that will be most comfortable and, at the same time, functional.