Hygiene in the kitchen: touch-free fittings
Fittings with sensor control are easy to operate without contact. Photo: Blanco
Especially in the kitchen, we are constantly using our hands. We use them to peel potatoes, to chop meat and vegetables and to knead dough. And then we have to grasp the water tap with wet or dirty hands to wash them. Especially for this purpose, many manufacturers offer fittings we can operate with the backs of our hands. Fittings and the mixing lever thus remain clean.
However, since the outbreak of the corona pandemic at the latest, another factor has been added; our sensibility for hygiene standards has increased considerably. When, for example, we touch the sink fitting with unwashed hands, we can transmit germs and viruses to the surfaces of the fittings. Especially in multi-person households, this means that there is a possibility to come into contact with new germs and viruses through cross-contamination after washing.
Touch-free fittings offer an additional alternative here. There is good reason that electronic mixers are obligatory there where especially strict requirements for hygiene apply, for example, in food processing. The fitting is automatically activated via infrared sensors as soon as our hands get close to them, and stops again after we have finished washing our hands. Especially when used in several short bursts, it also serves to increase comfort and save water, which means additional energy savings, especially when using hot water.
Touchfree fittings offer many extras
No hand free? No problem with touchfree fittings. Photo: Grohe
However, the touch-free variants of the fittings manufacturers can do even more. Many models offer the possibility to program functions like water flow time, sensor sensitivity or water temperature with the smartphone or tablet using an app. Cleaning times, rinsing intervals and rinsing duration are individually adapted in the process. Fittings are available that are powered either with batteries or by the power mains, whereby the low energy electronics ensure a long life span without changing batteries. The battery variant is especially recommended when upgrading with a sensor mixer, because neither does an electrician need to be called, nor do tiles need to be removed and subsequently renewed for cables during installation.
However, not only cleanliness and surface contamination play a role for touch-free fittings. When we are away from home over a longer period of time, on holidays, for example, aspects of potable water hygiene are also important. Harmful germs like legionella can accumulate in the drinking water when there is no regular replacement of water in the lines. It is therefore recommended that the water be allowed to run for 30 seconds every 72 hours. Such procedures can also be automated via apps.