Available in a multitude of shapes and finishes, washbasin taps undergo continuous stylistic and material experimentation and offer models with increasingly advanced functions. Among them it is worth mentioning water saving, at the base of economic, environmental and social sustainability; or chromotherapy for the psycho-physical and sensory well-being. In the bathroom, washbasin taps play a specifically important role. According to the type of installation, of the model design, of its composition, of the finishing and body, the tap adds on to the final outcome of a bathroom furnishing project. Once the design of the bathroom is completed and the fixtures are chosen, it is important to choose the washbasin taps that best fit in the space composition and the furnishing style.
What is the difference between a washbasin tap and a mixer?
In its most common use, the definition of washbasin taps covers all the typologies of water dispensers available for the bathroom washbasin. However, producer companies tend to split washbasin taps into two main categories in relation to the types of handles that activate water supply. Washbasin mixers are endowed with a unique lever, frequently placed on the main body of the tap; the lever is moved left and right to set the temperature and up and down to regulate the water flow according to your needs. However, these mixers are available with a detached lever that can be fixed where it is deemed more useful. As a matter of fact it is possible to choose between the more common one hole washbasin mixer and the two hole washbasin mixer. A different type are washbasin taps with two detached handles to regulate hot and cold water. They can be either positioned onto the central body of the tap, or, if separated, directly on the countertop. This is the case of three hole washbasin taps that allow the handles to be installed even at a certain distance from the spout. To get the desired temperature it is necessary to mix the hot and cold water streams, which rate can be controlled through the handles at each use. The two are recognizable by their different coloration. Blue is used for the cold water knob, while red for the hot water knob. Generally, mixers are more practical than the classical taps, as they can be used with one hand only and allow to keep the last temperature set. As it has been said already, the classical mixers use two movements, through the use of the lever; one to turn on, control the water jet and turn off; the second to regulate the water temperature. Hydroprogressive mixers allow with one movement only to control both the flow rate and the water temperature. This implies therefore that both the flow and temperature are to be pre-set. Eventually it is possible to opt for a thermostatic mixer that ensures the maximum level of comfort and allows top precision In setting the water temperature. In this case there are two activating elements; one to control the water temperature and the other one to control the flow rate. The handle that sets the temperature allows an easy control that after the first use and with no need of further modification will supply water always at the same temperature. In addition, this kind of mixers are especially suitable to be used by children and old people as they allow to block the temperature at 38°, preventing from burning. If mixing with cold water is not ascertained, thermostatic mixers stop the water supply for safety reasons. However, this type of mixers is not recommended if the hot water is provided by an instant heater. In this case it is better to use a storage water heater.
Washbasin taps typologies: from classic to design
It is possible to choose the classical countertop washbasin tap to be placed on the washbasin countertop, or wall-mounted washbasin tap. These are the standard washbasin tap typologies which are common to most bathrooms. But with design evolving and being often brought to an extreme by designers and project developers, also these great classic have gone through innovations and new ideas that often have utterly changed their structure. Freestanding washbasins, for instance, often need floor standing taps given that they are detached from the perimetral wall, or, for bathrooms with a more daring and sophisticate style, the most adequate model can actually be that of ceiling mounted washbasin taps that can also be combined with more classic washbasins. Taps shall adjust to the type of washbasin. For instance in the case of countertop washbasins the most recommended taps can be countertop or wall-mounted taps. In the first case, the size and especially the height need to allow a comfortable use and the spout depth has to coincide with the washbasin drainage hole, so to avoid unpleasant water spurts. In these cases the choice can fall on bridge mixers or on the more refined waterfall washbasin tap.
The perfect material for washbasin taps
The tap market encompasses an endless array of materials, but most producers find themselves in two main categories: brass and steel. Brass washbasin taps are certainly the most diffused. Brass is an alloy with a copper and zinc base that undergoes a process of plating; the fact it can be easily worked is its major quality. As a matter of fact it is easy to produce, since brass can be thermalmodeled and can therefore be obtained from a mold that delivers the different tap spare parts. This translates into a lower production cost for this type of taps, that at the same time praise a delicate material requiring particular attention to be used and cleaned up. Most recent trends witness an increasing spread of steel washbasin taps. Robust and of design, they can rely on the durability and the solidity of the material they are made of. However, steel cannot be melt and requires therefore a longer and more difficult process of working that entails a process of digging. This obviously implies a higher price and a number of benefits. Steel taps are antibacterial and recyclable in all their components; they are tremendously resistant and strongly stilish.
Ecology and technology of washbasin taps
In our days efficiency is a goal that is constantly pursued especially in the contract domain, hotel and restaurant industries. In all these cases infrared washbasin taps allow to avoid manual turning on and off. Since the water temperature is set at the moment of installation, it is enough for the user to put their hands close to the tap for it to activate. Infrared taps come with a battery or electricity-powered sensor. This way water wasting is avoided together with contact with the tap surface, which allows a greater hygiene for the tap itself and the people using it. A classic tap can supply almost 10 liters of water a minute. The devices available to be installed in modern mixers allow for substantial water saving bringing down wastes up to 4-5 liters per minute, thus consuming almost 50% less. Moreover, by limiting the water flow, the quantity of water that needs to be heated decreases too, resulting in extra energy efficiency. Among the devices that can contribute to limit consumption we can find washbasin taps with flow limiter that use a joint that controls the mixer movements and thereby water emission; washbasin taps with aerator add air to the water flow so to reduce water consumption without giving up on having a generous water jet. The tap aerator, also called filter, could be obstructed by limescale. The latter inhibits its correct functioning at times causing squirts and a thinner water flow. In order to fix it, it is necessary to remove the aerator. Once the aerator is taken out, it needs to be cleaned simply with a water jet so to clean off the lime particles or with a solution of water and vinegar. The use of chemical agents is discouraged.
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