HOW TO SPECIFY THE RIGHT TAP FOR YOUR PROJECT
Why so many different types of taps?
There are many different types of applications where taps are needed and the way they are used varies with each. For example, taps designed for use in low-volume residential areas (e.g. in your bathroom!) are very different to those needed in high-volume, publicly-accessible areas (e.g. the toilets at a motorway services). Some environments may require especially vandal-resistant washroom accessories, others may need to be able to be used by people with limited dexterity. If hygiene is the main requirement, then minimising touch points and taking measures to counter bacteria such as legionella is key.
Taps are certified by bodies such as WRAS and WTL which prove the taps’ credentials in safety, energy efficiency and technology. In some situations WRAS approval is a mandatory requirement whilst BREEAM and WTL are optional (but desirable) credentials.
Meeting WRAS requirements means that the various water regulations throughout the UK are satisfied and meeting WTL standards means that stringent flow rates and water usage requirements are met. Power supply should also be considered – manual taps do not need a power source, but piezo and infrared taps will need powering either by battery or a transformer from the mains.
Then there is design; we offer different colour finishes using PVD and RAL powder coating which can transform your design. Different shapes of tap and different mounting types suit different styles of washroom.
What does WRAS approved mean?
Any water fitting when installed will carry or receive water from the public mains supply in the UK which must comply with the Water Supply (Water fittings) Regulations or Scottish Bylaws. WRAS (Water Regulations Advisory Scheme) approval is granted directly by representatives of the water suppliers and is therefore accepted by every water supplier in the UK, making it the easiest way to demonstrate compliance. These laws require that a water fitting should not cause waste, misuse or undue consumption or contamination of the water supply and must be ‘of an appropriate quality and standard.’
Not all water fittings are necessarily WRAS approved, but only WRAS approved water fittings may be installed in any new buildings (residential or otherwise), and in any buildings that are to be used by the public. Unless you can prove that you have used WRAS approved products, the water supplier may refuse to connect your mains supply. Most Dolphin water fittings are WRAS approved so you can buy with confidence.
What is BREEAM?
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s longest established method of assessing, rating and certifying the sustainability of buildings. BREEAM rated products are more sustainable and use more natural resources. The aim of a BREEAM product is to reduce the consumption of potable (suitable for drinking) water for sanitary use in new buildings from all sources through the use of water efficient components and water recycling systems. Our low flow taps are fully BREEAM compliant and contribute to up to five BREEAM WAT 1 credits, view our BREEAM taps here.
What does WTL mean?
WTL stands for Water Technology List. Promoted by the government on products that encourage sustainable water use, it rewards businesses for investing in them through the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme. To be included in the WTL, the product should collect water data (at least one of flow rate, volume or pressure) from a remote location and transmit the data back to a central location. See our range of WTL certified products here.
What is important to consider in the flow rate of a tap?
Water pressure is the measure of force to get water through the mains and into the pipework. It varies with the number of appliances in use, the method of heating water, the capacity of the pipework and the geographical location among other factors. A low pressure area supplies less than 10 litres per minute, a high pressure area: 15 litres or above per minute. Most of our taps will work with a range of pressures from 0.5 Bar up to 6 BAR which covers for a large range of pressures that would be encountered through the mains supply. With most of our taps we can offer the ability to change the aerator and/or flow regulator to optimise the flow rate and pattern across the range of flow rates.
What does an Aerator do?
The aerator is found at the tip of the faucet and is easy to screw on the faucet head and in most cases can be changed in-situ. It improves the user experience by directing and changing the pattern of the water flow, it can also add air to create a soft, bubbly stream of water providing a more luxurious feel with the added benefit of reduced splashing. In most cases the aerator will include a flow regulator and these devices help save water by controlling the amount of water that flows through the tap across a range of water pressures.
Are there Legionella resistant taps?
Legionella is the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease which is a non-contagious but potentially fatal form of pneumonia, typically affecting men more than it does women. Stagnant water sitting in the taps or traps for long periods of time allows Legionella to flourish. To prevent this you can specify a hygiene flush feature, which automatically flushes water through once every 24 hours if the tap has not been used. See taps that can be specified with a hygiene flush feature options here.
Which taps are most environmentally-friendly?
Infrared taps are the most environmentally-friendly for two reasons, saving water and saving energy. Infrared taps are designed to use as little water as possible, having sensors so that water cannot be left running after the user has left the basin. This reduces water consumption that not only saves the cost of the water but also the heating of that water.
Which taps are most hygienic?
Infrared sensor taps are the most hygienic as they do not require the user to touch the tap, which helps stop cross-contamination – the spread of germs and bacteria from other washroom users via common touchpoints. Also included in the sensor technology if specified is the hygiene flush function, which activates when a tap hasn’t been used for 24 hours.
Which taps are most cost-effective to run?
Infrared taps are the most cost-effective taps to run, saving 70% of water and energy when compared to a manual tap. The average pay-back time for infrared taps in a commercial setting is just two years.
So what is the difference between infrared and a piezo tap?
A Piezo touch tap is an electronic tap that you can turn on and off by a light touch on the top of the tap. If the tap isn’t turned off by the user, it will automatically turn itself off. The piezo touch tap conserves 30% of water compared to a manual tap
Infrared taps turn on when your hand is placed in front of the sensor and turn off when it’s taken away again, minimising water wastage. They are ideal for use in washrooms that may be susceptible to vandalism such as schools where manual taps could be left running, causing overflow and potential flood risk. The Dolphin infrared taps come with a 90 second auto cut-off, so if there is something obstructing the sensor (e.g. a wad of tissue) the tap will switch off after 90 seconds, avoiding flooding the basin and surrounding floor area and saving water.
A recent study explored common complaints from people using public washrooms in the UK and found that having to touch washroom accessories that did not look clean was the most common complaint. Infrared removes the need to touch the tap, which helps eliminate cross contamination.
In most circumstances, an infrared tap would be preferable due to its impressive water saving and hygiene credentials.
Do you have taps that work behind mirrors?
At Dolphin we supply a full behind-mirror system called ALAVO. It is a modular, touch-free, hand wash system that keeps taps, soap dispensers, hand dryers/paper towels all cleverly concealed behind a back-lit mirror above the basins, saving space, minimising water spillage and reducing queues. For more information on ALAVO read our blog about it here.
If you are looking for just taps that work behind mirrors our DB1700BM is an excellent choice. For more information on behind mirror taps, to see a demonstration or to request a free sample.
What type of tap is best to use in an accessible washroom?
Some people using an accessible washroom may have visual or motor impairment so taps should either be infrared taps, manual mixer taps with a single lever action to control water flow, or individual, clearly marked, hot and cold lever-operated taps with not more than a quarter turn from off to full flow. A disabled person with poor grip can operate a single lever action mixer tap or an individual lever action tap by using the flat of the hand or the wrist. An infrared tap that activates automatically when hands are placed under the tap is an excellent choice, especially since some disabilities necessitate ‘manual evacuation of the bowels’, and minimising touchpoints will minimise the risk of cross-contamination.
For more information on specifying accessible washrooms that are compliant with DocM and BS 8300 see the blog here.
Can I get my tap in a different colour or finish?
Our range of sensor taps are manufactured from either stainless steel or chrome-plated brass and are finished with either a mirror polish (we call this ‘polished’) or a satin/sateen/brushed polish (we call this either ‘satin’ or ‘brushed’). A number of these products can also be finished with either PVD or RAL powder coating.
PVD stands for physical vapour deposition. The process of PVD coating involves depositing metallic ions such as zirconium nitride and titanium nitride, formed under low vacuum conditions, on the product to be coated. Although commonly used on stainless steel products, it can be used on almost any material from brass to plastic. Once this has been applied to the product, you can achieve metallic coloured finishes such as rose gold, copper, antique brass, gold, gunmetal, and champagne, whilst retaining the finish texture of the original product. This then provides a product that is durable, easy to clean and resistant to finger and water marks. These coloured finishes frequently feature in #WowWashrooms with the use of such dazzling colours creating a memorable experience for the user. There is no arbitrary colour scale for metallics, so PVD colours vary from manufacturer to manufacturer; therefore it is wise to get all PVD-coated washroom components from the same supplier to ensure consistency of colour.
RAL powder coating involves applying a coloured powder to a product electrostatically, and then baking it to harden it. Although both processes alter the appearance of a tap by changing the colour and/or finish, powder coating offers a far wider range of colours, specified using the RAL colour system – a universally used colour language. Variations from matt to gloss are available in every RAL colour, but only in a solid colour, not a metallic.
To learn more about the potential of RAL powder coating and PVD, check out our blog here.
Do you provide matching products to suit the style of my tap?
Dolphin has thousands of washroom accessories including bins, dispensers, hand dryers, combination units, DocM packs, grabs rails, baby change units, toilet brush sets, door hooks and flush plates – in fact all the accessories you need for a whole washroom spec, whatever style you are looking to achieve.
If you are looking for inspiration fast check out our case studies or our collections of compatible products. Then create your own collections grouped by projects or style to save time on your next project.
What aftercare do I get with my tap/taps?
At Dolphin Solutions we provide full aftercare with your taps. Over 90% of our customers would recommend us because of our outstanding reputation for standing by our products and ensuring customer satisfaction. If you have a difficulty with your Dolphin tap we will either fix it or replace it – it’s a Dolphin thing!
Where can I see the taps?
You can view our full range of taps on our website here, and if you would like some help narrowing the selection a little, give us a call on 01424 202 224. We can also provide free product samples that you can show your client, or you can visit the showroom to see the products in use.