Why sensor taps make sense

Sensor taps, also known as touchless or electronic taps, have distinct advantages over the more traditional manual, or percussion taps.

We have probably all been in public bathrooms where you press down on the top of the tap, wash your hands and even when you’re finished, your hands are dry and you’re walking away, the tap is still running. This is the big problem with the older style percussion taps.

They were first introduced into public spaces to stop the issue of taps being left on and wasting an almost unlimited amount of water. They use an internal spring to create a timed delivery of water. On average, this should deliver around 4.5 litres of water for a single press of the tap. In reality, once they begin to wear, they can become sticky, the springs can become less effective and they can deliver many times their designed water flow per press. For very small applications this may not make a huge difference, but for larger sites such as performance spaces or sports stadia, there can be 200 or more individual sinks, each with a percussion tap.

Sensor, or electronic taps in public toilets can be programmed to deliver around 1.5l of water for the quick ‘splash and dash’, but will deliver more if it is still in use. On one recent calculation we did for a client, working with this setting this would save them a minimum of 72 cubic metres of water per year. It’s not a life changing costs saving, or a game changing amount of water, but it’s significant and another big step in your carbon reduction strategy.

We’re strong advocates of sensor taps. For us, they just make sense. They give you the control as an operator and for the user, they too feel in control of the amount of fresh water they require for their hand wash. But there are a whole series advantages:

Finishing details at Im a Celebrity Jungle Challenge with plumbing by Kimpton


Hygienic Operation

Sensor taps are touchless, so the user doesn’t need to physically touch the tap to turn it on or off. This helps maintain better hygiene and prevents the transfer of germs and bacteria, when compared to percussion taps, where users have to touch the handle with dirty hands to activate them.

Automatic Shut-off

Sensor taps typically have an automatic shut-off feature, meaning they turn off automatically when they no longer detect motion (e.g., when hands are removed). This prevents water wastage due to forgetfulness or leaving the tap running unintentionally or deliberately.

Energy Efficiency

With most sensor taps applications, the water delivered is warm or hot. If they are too hot there’s a risk of scalding and tool cold will yield complaints. Sensor taps are designed to be energy-efficient, utilising technologies such as infrared sensors or capacitive sensors to detect motion. This not only saves water in general but can also contribute to significant energy savings through a greatly reduced hot water requirement.

Precision and Consistency

Sensor taps are designed to dispense a specific amount of water each time they are activated. This precision helps in maintaining consistency in water flow and reduces the risk of excessive water usage.

Reduced Dripping

Sensor taps can help reduce dripping because they are programmed to stop water flow immediately after use. This minimises the chances of taps being left partially open, which could lead to continuous dripping and water wastage. This is a particular problem with worn percussion taps.

Adaptable to Flow Requirements

Sensor taps can be programmed to deliver specific flow rates as required for various applications. This adaptability allows for efficient water usage based on the specific needs of the user, whether it’s washing hands, dishes, or other tasks. The level of cleaning required in a sterile environment such as a lab or healthcare setting will be completely different to that in a football stadium toilet.

Smart Water Management

Some of the more advanced sensor taps come equipped with smart technologies that allow for advanced water management. This may include features like flow rate adjustment, water temperature control, and even data monitoring to analyse water usage patterns.


From this, it’s clear that sensor taps offer significant advantages. But they do require correct installation and set up. And, as with any tap, they will require some maintenance to ensure they continue to function as designed.

If you’re considering any water, mechanical or electrical work in public bathrooms, then please do get in touch. The Kimpton team are expert in commercial fit-out of bathrooms, offices and performance spaces and can give you genuine advice on your route to decarbonisation.

Please call us on 0151 343 1963, drop us an email on website@kimpton.co.uk or complete the form below.


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