Mark Schlotel, Marketing Manager at Cistermiser Keraflo, examines the socio-economic changes that are creating new opportunities for water management in the home.
Times are changing and the way we use our homes is different now to the way we used them a decade or two ago. Households used to consist of the nuclear family 2.4 children model until the children left education and then left the home to fend for themselves. Increasingly now dependents can’t afford to leave so soon after education and are living with their parents for longer while they save the funds they need to fly the nest. Meanwhile, at the other end of the generational spectrum, as a population we are living longer, but in doing so are needing more support from family in later years. The resulting household is a busy one – with needs ranging from the very young to the very old and everything in between.
With this changing landscape come new and changing responsibilities. We have a responsibility to make these homes safe and usable for all inhabitants. As the NHS encourages people to stay at home for as long as possible, households are increasingly finding themselves looking after elderly relatives suffering with dementia or physical difficulties like arthritis for example. These things can be difficult to cope with in many obvious ways, and some not so obvious ways. Their needs may not be facilitated in the ‘standard’ home set-up. But it’s more complicated than that, because these places of care are still our homes and we want them to look like our homes and function as warm, friendly, family spaces as well.
The change affects a lot of aspects of the home, but water management is a big one. When you think about how you use the bathrooms in your house and how they’re used by young children and the elderly with additional needs, you start to see the potential for change.
Some taps can be difficult for the less able to use and use easily. Even if they are able to turn them on and off enough to get by, the slightest trickle of water if not turned off completely, could lead to an increased build-up of limescale around the tap outlet. This is particularly a problem for homes in hard water areas. It’s not just the elderly that struggle either, young children insistent on independence can also find it difficult to turn taps on and off properly. Similarly, a push button or traditional lever handle toilet flush can become a challenge for some people.
An infrared solution
Infrared taps and flushes are a great way to manage water usage in these changing households. Modern and stylish in their aesthetics they don’t detract from the design of a bathroom, but their functionality makes them easy to use for everyone in the home. Young children can still enjoy their independence without risking a flood in the bathroom, or at best, causing increased limescale if they don’t turn the tap off properly, and the elderly or less able can keep their dignity with easy to use controls.
The technical bit
Our infrared range of taps includes Novatap and Vectatap designs – both are deck-mounted chrome basin outlets, supplied with a sensor and control unit. The flow of water from the taps is turned on when the user presents their hands to the infrared sensor which is located on the lower body of the Novatap and Vectatap. No contact is required. When the user’s hands are moved away the flow of water stops after a 2 second delay. On average, basin taps deliver 8 litres of water per minute (BMA). Installing Cistermiser 3.5 litres per minute taps can save up to 6 litres per use, saving over 80% during a 12 month period.
It’s perhaps also worth mentioning another helpful solution, designed particularly for hard water areas – our Combimate limescale prevention product. Easy to install in both new and retrofit applications, Combimate protects boilers and appliances against limescale and corrosion by adding Combiphos to the water. Combiphos is a 100% safe natural material that stops scale build-up in pipework, combi boiler heat exchangers or on taps and appliances. Combimate is a standalone product but installed alongside our elegant infrared tap products, can provide plumbers with a complete solution for busy households to ensure safe and sensible use of water.
No-compromise bathroom design
Partly driven by innovation in bathroom product design and partly driven by a need in our changing households, infrared bathroom facilities look set to be the future for private homes as well as commercial use. But that shouldn’t mean a compromise on quality or style. This provides installers with a big opportunity. It’s our collective job to educate the homeowner on the solutions that are available and it’s an opportunity to upsell. It’s also an opportunity to make a real difference to the end user and the way they use their bathrooms.
For more information, visit www.ourworldiswater.co.uk.