I did a bit of research on the internet, to investigate people's opinions about hot water taps - and it’s surprising how heated any discussion of these taps can get. Some people regard them as being an entirely frivolous waste of money, whilst others (often suppliers it’s true) will tell you that they’re energy efficient and eco friendly – and a necessity for any self respecting new kitchen. Vigorous differences of opinion are not rare on the internet, of course, but another thing is striking about these discussions; most people, who’ve had a boiling water tap installed in their new kitchen, absolutely love it (even some whose spouse persuaded them to have one against their better judgment).
So why are they so popular? Well, it’s the convenience. With boiling water on tap, you can; fill pans for almost instant cooking of pasta or vegetables on the hob; peel tomatoes more easily; blanch vegetables; prepare baby formula and sterilise teats; make instant drinks, soups and sauces; thaw frozen foods; warm ice cream scoops; rinse blender blades, chopping boards and greasy plates; loosen tight jar lids; remove candle wax; do a bit of washing up; and even fill up a hot water bottle. They’re not just for making a cuppa.
Of course, making a cup of tea is one of the biggest bones of contention. Do you need water at boiling point (a lot of the taps dispense water at 98 degrees or so, rather than at a true 100 degrees) and does the tea taste better if it’s made from freshly drawn tap water (boiling water taps store the water in a well insulated tank before dispensing it)? I guess that depends on your taste in tea. Green teas are better made with lower water temperatures anyway, whilst for the typical cup of well brewed, British, black tea, served with milk and sugar, I suspect the water quality isn’t so critical (can you tell I’m not a tea drinker?).
If you do think it’s important to have true boiling water, then have a look at the Quooker which holds the water at 110 degrees in the storage tank (it’s under slight pressure), delivering it at 100 degrees from the tap.
Surely then, these taps must waste energy, keeping a reservoir of water constantly hot? Well no, they don’t waste much energy (it takes very little input to keep the water hot, in the well insulated tank, once heated), although they’re not as eco friendly and energy efficient as the manufacturers sometimes claim (the Advertising Standards Authority recently ruled against Quooker for making exaggerated claims). A gas or induction hob could be more efficient, purely for heating small quantities of water, and the Quooker uses more energy than a kettle when the full environmental impact over the lifetime of the product is considered; especially when compared with modern energy efficient kettles that can boil water for a single cup.
The ISE HC1100 provides filtered, near boiling water and will also filter your cold tap water
Where boiling water taps do have an advantage, is often in saving water. Most of us use more water than we need, in older kettles, and have hot water systems that require the standard hot water to be run for quite a while before it gets up to temperature. Also, the quality of the water can be much better for making drinks because most of the hot water taps include a filter (although check on whether you need a special or extra filter, if you have very hard water). I wrote about taps that just filter the water not long ago.
A Zip Hydro tap which provides both near boiling and chilled, filtered water. You can also buy a separate font - it doesn't have to be fitted at the sink
Look at Zip Hydro Domestic Boiling and Chilled Systems, if you want the choice of chilled as well as boiling filtered water from your tap, or the ISE HC 1100 if you want both the boiling and your standard cold tap water filtered. The new Franke Minerva Kettle tap filters just the boiling water but it’s provided through the same tap as your ordinary hot and cold water and is aiming at truly boiling water (the reservoir also fits in the plinth space, under your base unit, rather than taking up space inside the unit). Grohe and Quooker provide this type of combined tap too, with water at 99 degrees and 100 degrees, respectively, but also have dedicated boiling water taps. (See my review of the Grohe taps). The Zip Hydro is very expensive but the company has a very good track record. Their tap also has a sleep mode and a programmer, so that the water is kept at a lower temperature when it’s unlikely to be used … and you can also buy a separate font, if you don’t want to fit the tap at your sink.
The Franke Minerva Kettle Tap - is an ordinary tap which will boil and filter just the hot water
It’s a safety hazard, of course, dispensing such hot water – and you do need to be careful of splashes. Also check out the particular safety features of the tap you’re looking at, which include cool touch casings, safety or child proof handles and slow or diffuse flow rates. Also, don’t forget how much of a hazard kettles can be; they’re a major cause of casualties, especially amongst children. A fixed tap can't, at least, be pulled down on top of a toddler.
Don’t buy a hot water tap just for it’s energy saving credentials; it certainly won’t pay for itself in reduced energy bills (in anything but the very long term) but don’t be afraid that it’s hugely energy inefficient either – it won’t be. The main reason to include one in your kitchen, is for your own convenience. Increasing efficiency and saving time comes very high on the priority list of some people.
If you'd like Majjie's help to design your kitchen please have a look at our Kitchen Design Services pages. We provide an affordable and professional service, which can be tailored to your needs - and we don't want to sell you a kitchen!