Hands-Free Sinks and Automatic Soap Dispensers
Touchless faucets and soap dispensers have become more popular in recent years, but many reserve these for use in public bathrooms. In fact, there are hands-free sinks and dispensers available for kitchen use as well. There are many advantages to using a touchless sink, and those advantages can be compounded in a commercial kitchen environment. From an economical, environmental, and food safety standpoint, switching to hands-free faucet technology might be the way of the future.
The benefits of hands-free faucets and automatic soap dispensers can affect many areas of the kitchen and your restaurant. Economically, touchless faucets tend to save more money in utility costs. The automatic shutoff allows for water to be used only when necessary and shuts off immediately when not in use. Environmentally, this saves water and reduces your footprint!
Hands-free also means that less germs are getting spread via handles and levers, and raw foods have less of a risk of cross-contamination. Rather than having to set foods aside to adjust the sink, you can have a full load of items to be washed and not have to rearrange your setup to get the job done! It simply makes the whole process more efficient.
So you might be rushing to get a hands-free faucet now, but there are a few things to consider with this technology.
Type: There are two types of hands-free faucets: Infrared Sensors and Proximity Sensors (Capacitive). The difference is that infrared sensors reflect a beam of infrared light, signaling the faucet to engage while proximity sensors activate the faucet when an object is a few inches from the sensor. For soap dispensers, an electric eye is the model of choice.
Sink: Most hands-free faucets require only one hole in the sink, but some sinks come with two or three. You may need to replace your sink entirely or simply invest in covers and plates to tide you over until you’re ready to purchase a new unit.
Power Source: The Seattle Times says, ‘Some faucets run on short- or long-term batteries, or are AC-powered. Others include the option to have access to both power sources, as well as switch to manual operation.’
Shut-off Feature: Depending on the manufacturer, many of the sensors can be programmed or are pre-programmed to shut off after a few seconds or minutes when the unit is not in use. After all, this is the whole point behind hands-free!
Flow and Pressure: Maximum flow rate is set to 1.5 gallons/minute tested at 60 pounds/square inch. This WaterSense technology is a flow rate less than the traditional setting, which helps to save water.
Temperature: Some models can have temperature adjusted with a lever while others need to be manually adjusted under the sink. Check your manual for this information.
Price: While touchless models tend to be a little pricier than their traditional counterparts, you can probably expect the price to decrease and become more available to consumers for widespread restaurant use. Depending on your type of sink and the design therein, you may be able to fit a touchless faucet to your pre-existing sink.
While touchless faucets and automatic soap dispensers in the kitchen may still be a lofty goal for some, it’s something to consider in the future. As a side note, these are designed for hand wash sinks only in a commercial kitchen. Invest time in analyzing your setup and the specifications you’ll require, and you can set a plan in action for transferring all of your faucets into hands-free versions!
E Friedman Associates