We have been used to seeing this kind of tap in bathrooms and kitchens for some years now. Easier to use and more aesthetically-pleasing, mixer taps have become commonplace, thanks in part to the advantages they offer in terms of maintenance and the greater savings they enable.
Unlike tap fittings which are composed of two taps, mixer taps allow you to regulate both the flow and the temperature of the water in a single movement. That way it is possible to achieve more reasonable water consumption, since on the one hand, it takes less time to reach the temperature we require and, on the other, it is easier and quicker to turn it on and off; the latter being a detail that represents a significant saving in the long run, since it overcomes the habit of leaving the tap running when we are washing up or brushing our teeth, to give two common examples.
Another reason why mixer taps offer a greater water saving lies in the fact that they hardly ever drip. Traditional systems regulated water flow using a part that was generally made of rubber; a part which, due to the water pressure and humidity it was subjected to, soon wore out, giving rise to endless dripping which, in the long term, represented a considerable waste. Mixer taps, however, are composed of several parts made from a ceramic material, which makes them much more resistant and longer-lasting.
Improved versions of mixer taps
However, the design of mixer taps, although better than that of traditional taps, has also presented a few defects, which more recent models have managed to correct. It is these new versions which increase both water and energy savings in domestic tap use.
We instinctively lift the tap lever in the middle, causing hot water to come out when we may not even need it; if we do this for only a short period of time, we may not even realise that we are wasting energy by heating up the pipes, since it is quite likely that the hot water will not come out of the tap. For this reason, some taps are now designed in such a way that to obtain hot water, we have to deliberately turn the lever to the left.
Another common defect in the use of mixer taps is that it is hard to adjust the flow, in the sense that when pushing the lever upwards there is little resistance, such that we open it fully; this simple gesture means that more water comes out than we really need. In order to avoid this, models have come out which, by having a two-phased activation mechanism, allow us to better adjust the flow to suit our needs; they have an intermediary position which provides a sufficient amount of water for everyday purposes, around 7 litres per minute. However, if you need more, you just need to press the lever again to raise it to the second maximum limit.
Finally, another improvement, although this time specifically for the shower, lies in thermostatic taps, which can represent a saving of between 7% and 17% compared to the former mixer tap systems, both in terms of water and the energy consumed in heating it. There are several models, ranging from those with two taps, one to regulate the flow and another for the temperature, to those which have ShowerStart filters. The latter have a sensor which prevents hot water from being wasted. That way, when we put the tap on before getting in the shower whilst we wait outside for a few seconds until the water becomes hot, the filter interrupts the flow when the water reaches a temperature of 35ºC, so that it is not wasted. Then we just have to turn on the filter valve when we get in the shower.