If you’ve popped into a friend’s house for a quick cuppa recently and found yourself with tap envy, you’re not alone. Because even though it’s been decades since a tap was ‘just’ a tap, what’s really hot right now are boiling water taps.
Of course, as that smug friend or neighbour will no doubt confirm, making instant cups of tea, coffee and other hot drinks is just the beginning. There’s all the other stuff you can do – blanching veggies, throwing spaghetti into ready-boiling pans of water and making stock, gravy and soup in seconds. And how about degreasing roasting tins, sneaking a packet of Super Noodles and rinsing sticky, muddy football boots clean in minutes?
Are Boiling Water Taps Expensive?
No wonder boiling water tap owners wouldn’t go back to their kettles. But aren’t boiling water taps expensive to buy? Don’t you need to replace filter cartridges and have them serviced? And what about safety and installation?
“A boiling water tap used to be thought of as a luxury,” says Alexandra Rowe from the British brand QETTLE. “But that’s just not the case anymore. Thanks to clever new design and technology, it’s now possible to buy a 4 in 1 boiling water tap for just over £500.00, and without compromising on features and functionality.”
That’s true. QETTLE’s Original 4-in-1 boiling water tap, which is available with three different size boiler tanks – 2 litre, 4 litre and 7 litre – starts at £505.00. And that’s a complete cost, which includes the tap, its boiler tank and its undersink filter system. The price tag also includes VAT and UK shipping – so getting your hands on a boiling water tap without busting the budget is realistic.
What’s the Difference Between a Boiling Water Tap and an Instant Hot Water Tap?
It can be tricky to know where to start when purchasing a boiling water tap, but at the top of your check list should be whether the tap is genuinely boiling or simply near boiling. Scientifically, boiling means 100°C – not 99°C or lower. So, beware manufacturers and brands that label their taps as boiling, but – usually in the small print – reveal the water temperature doesn’t actually hit 100°C.
In our opinion, a proper, British brew requires properly boiling water – and anything less is likely to disappoint. It’s surprising, too, what a difference a sub-boiling temperature makes to all the other things you’re likely to use your boiling water tap for. Instant snacks such as noodles, soups and porridge really need the water to be boiling, and it goes without saying that you won’t be able to rely on your tap for things such as sterilising babies’ bottles.
What’s the Difference Between a 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 Boiling Water Tap?
4-in-1 boiling water taps give you a flow of cold, filtered drinking water, as well as boiling water and normal hot and cold flows. Although a 3-in-1 boiling water tap will be slightly cheaper, having filtered drinking water on tap is a real bonus. There’s no need for an additional filter – everything is integrated – and you’ll never need to buy expensive or bulky bottled water again. Plus, you won’t contribute to plastic waste, either.
How Much Does It Cost to Run a Boiling Water Tap?
If you’re shopping around for a boiling water tap, it’s sensible to compare the running costs of different brands. After your initial outlay, look at the cost of replacement filter cartridges for your boiling water tap and find out if it requires servicing. Replacement filter cartridges can vary in cost, but QETTLE’s Q08 filter cartridge, which QETTLE says should be replaced twice a year, costs £26.95. That’s great value compared to competitor brands, which can cost twice as much and that can often need replacing more regularly.
QETTLE’s Alexandra Rowe also suggests finding out how the boiling water taps on your shortlist stack up when it comes to energy-efficiency.
“On average, it costs about £0.02 pence every time you boil a full kettle. It depends on the capacity of the boiler tank of course, but by comparison, a boiling water tap in standby mode will cost around £0.03 pence over 24 hours. The boiling water tap is easily more energy and cost-efficient.”
What’s Involved with Installing a Boiling Water Tap?
Whether you’re planning a new kitchen or preparing to give your existing kitchen a facelift, adding a boiling water tap is a great idea. And best of all, installing a boiling water tap shouldn’t be complicated or time-consuming. All boiling water taps will need a power supply under the sink and it’s essential you check your home’s water pressure. It’s typical for a boiling water tap to need a minimum of 1.5 bar of pressure. If your home’s pressure exceeds 5 bar, you might find a pressure reducing valve is necessary – but this is a simple bit of kit and easy to fit.
You’ll of course need to consider the space under your kitchen sink for your boiling water tap’s boiler tank and undersink filter system. But shop around. A standard, 600mm wide kitchen cupboard should easily accommodate the boiling water tap’s boiler tank and filter system – with space left over for all the usual cleaning materials.
If you’re retrofitting a boiling water tap, there are a few other things to think about. Installing a boiling water tap alongside and/or in conjunction with a water softener or waste disposal unit is usually fine – but check out the manufacturer’s guidance. Above the sink, it pays to ensure there will be enough space for the tap’s handles to move freely – i.e. without hitting the windowsill or splashback. QETTLE states that there should be 100mm clearance. But if there’s not, don’t panic! Alexandra Rowe says,
“Clearance of 100mm between the back of the tap and the windowsill is desirable, but if you’re short on space, it’s fine – we can fit your boiling water tap with a special valve. It won’t look any different, but it will mean the handle can be used properly.”
Are Boiling Water Taps Easy to Fit?
Boiling water taps such as QETTLE Original and QETTLE Mini have been designed with the installer in mind, so if you’re comfortable with simple plumbing and understand water pressure, fitting a QETTLE boiling water tap is a straightforward task for a competent DIY-er. Likewise, it should be an easy job for a plumber. QETTLE’s step-by-step installation videos – available on YouTube – are really helpful. For extra peace of mind, you could find out if the manufacturer offers an installation service. QETTLE does and will hand-hold you through the pre-install checks and requirements, before arranging for a QETTLE trained and accredited installer to fit your boiling water tap.
Are Boiling Water Taps Safe?
A quality, well-made boiling water tap should provide peace of mind when it comes to safety. The best boiling water taps have multiple safety features such as safety clips and handle locks. A boiling water tap should be simple to use, but if you want to prevent boiling water from being dispensed, there should be a design feature that permits it.
QETTLE’s Alexandra Rowe says,
“Well-designed boiling water taps should offer integrated safety features. If you’ve got vulnerable adults or children, choose a boiling water tap that offers a ‘belt and braces’ approach to safety. Ideally, a safety clip, which when in place, ensures that boiling water cannot be accessed, but also a handle lock.”
When compared to a kettle, it could be suggested that a boiling water tap is safer. After all, a boiling water tap is fixed – and usually at the back of the sink. It cannot topple off a work surface, spilling up to 1.5 litres of boiling water. And, unlike a kettle, a boiling water tap does not have a cable that can be grabbed or pulled. Neither is it heavy to lift – boiling water tap handles and controls vary in design – but choose the right one for you, and you’ll find that accessing boiling water, straight into your mug, pan or teapot is much easier and safer than pouring from a kettle.
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