From motion sensors to water filtration, the faucet is having a moment
A kitchen renovation in Lisa’s Upper East Side apartment
Of all the things you use in your kitchen, the faucet is probably the one you interact with most (with the fridge a close second). And while indispensable to just about every task that takes place in your cook space, the faucet has tended to take a back seat to showier features that draw exclamations from your guests, such as appliances (that six-burner pro-style range!), countertops (that island topped with Carrara marble!) and even sinks (hammered copper apron-front, anyone?). All that’s changed with recent developments in the function of faucets that make them handier and more helpful than ever, not to mention fun. And if you want to do a quick refresh of your kitchen, a new faucet provides a marvelous mini update to add to your renovation wish list. Here’s a rundown of what we’re excited about:
A motion sensor in the shank of the faucet detects hand movement to turn on a flow of water. Perfect for cooks who need to wash messy hands, it saves having to wipe down greasy levers later. It’s also great for little chefs who can’t reach high enough to turn on the water. Alternatively, some faucets will go on or off with a quick, light touch from the back of a hand or wrist or elbow. In either type, that same touch to the faucet then turns it off. Don’t have a free arm or hand to make contact? A simple tap of the foot at the kitchen base unit to turn the faucet on and off will do the trick on some models.
Pull-down and pull out
Faucets with sprays built into the head have been available for some time now. However, manufacturers have recognized homeowners’ different cooking styles, and even different needs within one kitchen. The answer: pull-down and pull out. Both come with retractable heads that switch between a steady stream of water and spray. Pull-down faucets have a high arc to provide the most clearance for bulky cookware like pasta pots. Pullout faucets have a mid arc height clearance to fill containers while taking up less vertical space—good under an upper cabinet or in front of a picture window.
Carbonation and filtration
Clean, delicious drinking water is a constant concern, even at home. You can find faucets with internal waterways that allow you to alternate between filtered and unfiltered water and eliminate the need for a bulky filter pitcher in the fridge or plastic bottles delivered to your house. Here’s a refreshing newer development: Now you can also have filtered, carbonated water from the faucet! Grohe introduced their Blue Professional, which offers filtered as well as sparkling water. The right lever on the faucet mixes hot and cold tap water. The left handle gives you two settings for cool, sparkling water.
Finishes still make news as homeowner preferences toggle from stainless steel to nickel to oil-rubbed bronze and back to stainless again. Another area for color finally broke through for faucets, in a range of brightly hued hoses. If you want a conversation piece for your kitchen, this is definitely it.
You’ve probably heard of Microban®. This antimicrobial technology is incorporated into many commercial as well as consumer products—from paint to food storage to athletic shoes—to help reduce the growth of germs and odors. Now it is available in some faucet finishes from Moen, where it works continuously, to help cut down on germs from food splashes you might not see, between cleanings.
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