One fun, high-tech, and relatively inexpensive way to go green is to install a touch-free faucet in your kitchen or bathroom. Touch-free faucets work on a very simple principle: when you’re not actively using them, they shut off. There are a lot of times when you leave a normal faucet on simply because your hands are full (i.e. when you’re washing something), or soapy. With a touch-free faucet, the water turns off during all these gaps in your actual water usage. According to industry estimates, the result can be a water savings of up to 70%.
Of course, most of us have encountered touch-free faucets in public restrooms, and they can be frustrating. You can end up waving your hands around wildly, hoping a faucet somewhere in the room will turn on, and then the water cuts off mid-stream, just when your hands are full of soap. However, new sensor technology is making touch-free faucets much easier to use. These sensors are “omni-directional”, meaning that when your hands are anywhere within a given radius around the tap, the water will turn on and stay on.
Top-of-the-line models can dispense filtered water for drinking, and one designer model has a digital LED screen that allows you to adjust the water temperature, fill a glass with drinking water, or dispense dishwashing detergent, soap, or even hand lotion – all by waving your hand in front of the desired function. Some models also have manual override, which enables you to push a button so that the faucet will stay on for a certain time period without shutting off, even if you move your hands away.
Alternatively, if you like your current faucet and want to keep it, you can add a touch-free faucet adaptor to your existing faucet. Adaptors start at about $50.
Touch-free faucets and adaptors are surprisingly easy to install – no more difficult than conventional faucets. They can be powered by an AC adaptor or batteries, so you can install them almost anywhere.
In addition to the water savings, there are other benefits to touch-free faucets as well:
- Touch-free faucets are much easier to use than regular faucets – especially if your hands are dirty, soapy, or full.
- Touch-free faucets are much more sanitary than conventional faucets. With conventional faucets, you turn them on with dirty hands, wash your hands carefully, and then immediately touch the dirty handles again to turn off the faucet.
- Touch-free faucets allow you to set the water temperature precisely for improved comfort and safety.
- Touch-free faucets are ADA compliant for people with disabilities.
- Touch-free faucets are helpful for older people or small children who may forget to turn off the faucet when they are finished
- Kids love touch-free faucets – no more arguments about hand-washing!
Touch-free faucets make your bathroom or kitchen look really cool and high-tech.