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How to make the most of a boiling water tap in your kitchen – Irish Examiner

Insinkerator 3N1: This respected, proven model can be installed by a competent DIYer, and offers water at 98C, suitable for most beverages and all food prepping. Uses the wattage of a 40W lightbulb, €1050, B&Q, diy.ie.
Flowing from a considered install, boiling water taps can deliver a measured amount of super-heated water on demand for a range of chores (and a few new ones). Here’s what you need to know to justify high upfront costs, how to avoid typical issues, and how to get the very best from a pricey super-spout.
First of all, a reminder here on water pressure and water quality. The water from a boiling tap will come out at a safer lower pressure to prevent dangerous splashing on the sink bottom. That said, you can expect most taps to require one bar of pressure and no more than five bars at your end. 
If low water pressure is at issue, a dedicated pump can be transformative in a vented, gravity-fed system. We’ve just put in a two-bar Grundfos whole-house pump here, and after 22 years I have thrumming showers compared to a former weak ribbon. €400-€500 plus professional installation.
Stored hot water (unlike water heated instantaneously with a gas boiler) is not intended for drinking. You can safely shower in this supply so long as the water has been heated to 60C regularly to ensure it doesn’t carry Legionnaire’s disease and other passengers idling in a warm storage tank, spiked with mineral deposits. If you have a private well or community supply — have it tested for microorganisms, mineral deposits and chemicals. From €100 for a DIY kit from a local laboratory, there’s no excuse to take a chance on E-Coli sneaking through the taps and shower heads.
Water-on-demand from a combiboiler can of course be further heated in a kettle or on the stove, but it’s not, and should not be, hot enough to coax a tea bag. So, we have two choices — a hot-water tap, or a counter-mounted, plug-in hot-water dispenser. To get serious, the tap wins hands-down.
HOW THEY WORK
Providing a specific amount of boiling or near-boiling water instantaneously from a 2l-11l tank under the sink, boiling taps are a standard inclusion in every, new contemporary kitchen or flip. Separate from, or integrated into a single-tap mixer, the term boiling here is something of a misnomer. Most are set to heat the water to near-boiling or to only hold it under pressure at boiling point (100C-110C). For domestic use, 100C is not needed and can cruelly bruise your tea leaves. Near-boiling water (around 98C) moved onto the hob will quickly reach boiling, so again, this does not preclude their convenience for getting a jump on pasta and potatoes.

How will a boiling water tap change your life? It’s a matter of speeding up specific prep and regular tasks and adding some functionality. Top models offer extra detailing including finessed temperature control. 
Quooker features an optional combi-tank, to provide hot (as distinct from boiling water) through the standard mixer head. Price will depend on the size of the tank, the finish, branding, quality and several useful extras including mineral filters. A standard family tap, termed a 3-in-1 will include hot (50C or less), cold, and a boiling or near boiling supply.


PROS
Prices for three-in-one boiling taps start at around €430. If you stick with a unit of 2.5l-3l storage with standard filters they will load no more than €150-€300 on a designer-level hot-cold mixer. Look up the Eliseo Ricci range with digital touch control and functional colour display at bathshack.com, and Fohen (great for coloured choices); fohen.ie.
Boiling taps can blister the skin from tomatoes, provide hot and cold beverages, sterilise baby bottles, and dish up super-hot water, backing up that primary hot water supply. Working from home, speared to a chair in front of a live screen, getting a cuppa in seconds is a true bonus.
Crisply styled, choose from either a standard mixer-type tap with a separate boiling water tap or put the whole lot through one hot/cold/boiler spout. Single-spout models are especially useful in tight, tiny homes and staged in minimalist kitchens, reducing visual stutter. You might choose to put a simple boiling water tap at a secondary wet-bar area on your island or peninsula. To save on expense — stick with a classic chrome finish. 
Most Quooker taps have a €1,080 loader for 24-carat gold!
A boiling tap offers the chance to condition your drinking and cooking water with calcium and carbon filters adding aeration through the tap housing to break down unwanted mineral deposits. You can filter not only the hot supply but the cold supply too. With 5-in-1 models, there’s the option of carbonated water that can be flavoured to suit (an ideal moment to cut down on single-use bottles and to encourage hydration with all the family). 
Treating your water really can lift a flat mains supply to the flavour of spring water that delivers magnificent coffee. If an unpalatable taste is an issue, look for units (generally they fall into the four-in-one family) with cold filtered water on tap.
For mobility issues, you may find a boiler tap with the right design easier to handle than a hefty kettle. Choose carefully to ensure you choose an accessible, safe action (a trusted occupational therapist may be able to give guidance here). No boiler-type tap should be capable of turning on or turning up in temperature without deliberate mechanical actions. They are not generally capable of streaming scalding water without hand pressure on a sprung/turn mechanism.
Flexi-hoses are a superb addition, allowing you to clean off draining boards, and the sink housing, and snake the cold and hot supply to the pan or vessel without muscling it into the sink. Digital temperature control with a touch screen? Generally, violently expensive. With aeration, softening and highly specific safe control, the feed should be feather-soft with a safe, cool-tap housing in case a wrist glances off the tap, a specifically adult mechanism, and a child lock.
CONS
Choose a black or coloured tap model, limescale-control, a combi-boiler, water filtering plus installation, and the price for a top branded boiling tap can reach €3,200 without difficulty. Ensure the configuration suits you. Requiring piping and a touch of electricity, boiler and hot water taps are not only expensive but in most instances require a full, professional install (some suppliers will demand this for a full warranty). In a kitchen refresh, this can push up their inclusion by as much as €200 depending on the complexity of the plumbing and position. Monobloc taps are easier to deal with than old hot/cold pillar outlets. If you’re paying €1500 plus, you can generally expect free installation. You will need a three-pin plug in the right position for the boiler unit.
You will have to sacrifice some base cupboard space for the boiler tank, and with a larger unit, this could kick aside most of your cleaning arsenal, traditionally housed under the sink. This is hardly a deal-breaker and a small boiler unit of 3l-5l can be comfortably accommodated while still leaving a few trigger sprays loitering by its side. Check the dimensions.
The installation of a boiling water tap should follow even a rudimentary water test to determine if the supply will need very determined filtering and if necessary, treatment before it reaches the boiler unit. Slap the unit in with your cleaning trug without considering the supply’s composition, and you can expect irritating mineral staining from drips, spits and splashes (especially to dark worktop materials and stainless-steel sinks) with frequent tank and tap cleaning. With a poor installation, hard water can produce unsavoury suds on a hot drink.

 
COST FACTOR
When boiling the kettle for drinks and saucepan filling — the cost can be a soaker, but you have to average out the initial capital outlay on the boiling tap, its kW draw, plus the regular expense of running your tap. I would suggest figures such as 5c a day as suspect. Filter costs can add up, especially with multiple filter types. 
Keep the term limescale-control front and centre before you order and total out what it’s likely to cost not only to buy, install and run the unit but to maintain it. With very hard water and a smaller filter unit, the amount of filter changes to the tap and any separate limescale control unit can be more than expected. Franke demands primary filter changes in as little as four months. A filter-life indicator light is a real help here. If you don’t change the filter following the maker’s recommendations or are prompted by a warning light — you may invalidate your warranty if the unit is scuttled. Keep in mind, if cold filtered water is your focus — you could buy a conventional tap and filter system to handle just that.
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