Reading time: 4 minutes

Specifying sustainable touch free taps that save water and energy is a hot focus in the industry, and designers are looking at these washroom fittings to achieve their sustainability goals. But, more is expected from sensor taps now as they must also complement the design, add value to the user experience, prevent the risk of legionella, and prevent vandalism or misuse.

A sensor tap timeout feature is the most valuable mechanism integrated into touch free taps because of its security functionality that prevents misuse and saves water and energy. Each touch free tap in the Dolphin tap range has these automatic tap control systems that are also integrated with SMART washroom technology to solve these concerns.

We will explain what a sensor tap timer is, how it prevents vandalism, how it saves water and energy, and how it adds value to a positive user experience.

What is a sensor tap timer?

The default security timer is a device built into the sensor of the touch free tap that automatically shuts off the water supply even if a user’s hands are in front of the sensor.

Upon activating the sensor tap, the timer starts the countdown until it has reached the end time before automatically cutting off the water supply. SMART washroom technology allows

you to programme the timer and set the minute or second depending on how long you want the water flow to run.

With its automatic functionality, the sensor tap timeout feature can:

  1. Prevent vandalism or misuse
  2. Save water
  3. Save energy
  4. Save time at the washstation


To find out more about washroom design, please click here to go to our learning hub.

Commercial touch free tap timeout feature

How does a security timer for taps prevent vandalism and misuse?

The malicious intent of placing objects in front of the sensor or deliberately sticking material onto the sensor can create a serious problem in the washroom as the constant flow causes a terrible waste of water and energy.

But what if the perpetrator blocked the sensors and the drains? This situation results in water overflowing from the washbasin onto the floor and flooding the room, causing what could be thousands of pounds worth of damage to fix. Culprits could use anything from chewing gum to paper towels to block the sensors with the intent to keep the water running.

The sensor tap timeout feature is the hero in the face of vandalism and mischief. The security timer will automatically shut off the water supply once it has reached its cut off time, and the sensor will only become operational when the object is removed. No assistance is required from the maintenance team to get the touch free tap working again because the sensor automatically undergoes a short reset after the object has been removed.

Other vandalism risks without a sensor tap and security timer

Washrooms with only manual taps are at high risk for vandalism and misuse. We know of a disturbing incident in an office building south of England where a disgruntled employee sabotaged the washroom and left a devastating scene that destroyed not only the room but also the main areas in the building.

Late on a Friday afternoon, once everyone had left the building, the culprit blocked the washbasin drains with paper towels, turned on just three taps, and left the water running for the weekend. By Monday, many floors had flooded, damaging furniture, fixtures and the structure of the building, resulting in thousands of pounds for repairs.

Although manual taps are cost effective compared to touch free taps, it is worth considering investing in a sensor tap with a timeout feature to eliminate this risk.

Water saving sensor tap with cut off timer

How does a cut off timer for taps save water?

Controlling the water running time means users have limited access to how much water they use to wash their hands. Some people may choose to turn on a tap and leave the water running during their handwashing process. Who knows how long their handwashing routine could take? It’s like asking how long a piece of string is.

Everyone uses the wash station differently and to their leisure. Setting the sensor tap timeout feature allows you to control the water supply time, prevent unnecessary water wastage, and ultimately save water.

However, water wastage can still occur if the water cuts off too soon. For example, a timer sets 15 seconds per use, but the average time it takes to wash hands efficiently is 20 seconds. A user would have to activate the tap twice to have a proper hand washing experience which means instead of expecting 15 seconds of water running, the user ends up with 30 seconds, doubling that time set.

Remember that users need sufficient water to wash their hands, and it is advisable not to be too frugal on the timer settings.

How does a tap timer save energy?

With the same concept of saving water, sensor tap timeout features save energy due to the controlled time of activating the water flow. Whether the sensor tap is battery operated or connected to the mains, the energy from both sources is still saved and not drained out by prolonged use.

Sensor taps are renowned for saving energy in general as they enable the water system to keep a constant temperature of heated water compared to manual taps. It takes a lot of heat to increase the water temperature with manual taps, which means more electricity is required. Read more about touch free taps vs manual taps here.

Time saving feature of commercial touch free taps

How does a timer for commercial taps save time at the washstation?

Controlling the time of water flowing out of the tap restricts the time the user has to wash their hands. With the water stopping automatically, picture it as a subtle signal for the user to get on with the handwashing routine and move along swiftly afterwards.

People who know the washroom of a building well will know how long the water is due to run for, thus it will speed up the process when using the washstation and save the user’s time to get on with their day.

Why have a sensor tap with a security feature?

There are numerous articles on the internet promoting touch free taps and how the modern washroom fitting is a favourable investment if you desire a sustainable, functional, hygienic, and cost effective solution.

But to make sure you are getting value for money, specifying a sensor tap timeout feature will help save water and energy, prevent vandalism or misuse, and encourage quick and efficient handwashing.

Saving water and energy also means saving money on utility bills which is one of the many bonuses you get from SMART washroom technology.

Do you want to know more about sustainable washroom solutions and how washroom technology can benefit your project? Read our blog to find out the benefits of going SMART.

Get in touch