Instant Boiling Taps - they are fashionable and convenient, but there are downsides, big ones!
Instant boiling taps have become all the range these days. How wonderful is it to turn on your tap and have instant boiling hot water at your fingertips! What could be better? It is no wonder that companies like Grohe, Quooker, Franke, Rangermaster and so are rapidly growing in this product area.
But these products are fundamentally flawed and could be potentially harmful, and here is why.
1. Corrosion of Heating Elements
Heating elements corrode when in contact with water. The purer the water (i.e. with absence of dissolved solids) the quicker they will corrode. It is inevitable. Chemicals like chlorine, chloramine, fluorides and other acids in water corrode heating elements.
Sadly, the purer the water the quicker the corrosive effect will be. Therefore, you cannot use Reverse Osmosis Water Filters with any instant boiling system (except for one, the Osmio Zero, which has ceramic coated heating elements and is the best kettle out there).
But doesn't my inline filter remove these corrosive chemicals?
No. Ask anyone with an inline water filter whether they still get limescale in their kettle, the answer is yes they do. One of the most aggressive acids in water is Fluoride. In industry, it is used to dissolve the lead out of brass (ref: Hydrofluorosilicic acid).
Hydrofluorosilicic acid reaction in the water is also known to leach more lead from lead pipes, lead-based solders, and lead-based brass fittings; still found in today's water distribution systems. Silicofluoride is also known to help facilitate lead uptake into our body.
Chlorine is highly corrosive so the standard type of inline filter that is typically sold with instant boiling system heaters is normally quite effective at making high level chlorine reduction. However, this typical type of inline filter is not capable of reducing fluoride.
Currently, no major manufacturer of instant boiling systems are reducing fluoride levels and some of them have the audacity to market them as "Pure Water", e.g. Virgin Pure machine is an inline filter with UV.
This is very far away from being "Pure" water and is highly misleading consumers. But then again, how much does Richard Brandson actually care about your health vs. making money?
At least with a regular kettle you can see the corrosion damage, but with sealed box units under the sink, you are rolling the dice. The flurry of instant boiling tap makers on the market, do not seem to care about this issue. Before you buy one, ask the seller these questions:
- What material extraction test reports do you have of units in service? (1 year, 2 years , 3 years etc) Have they even tested that?
- How long will it be safe to use?
- Can I use a Reverse Osmosis System with it? If they actually say yes to this, then be very careful of this company because the answer is absolutely not.
Limescale build up inside the heating elements
As we all know, even with inline limescale filters that use polyphosphate or de-alk resin for temporary hardness reduction, this is only temporary. So limescale build up is inevitable inside your instant boiling tap system boiler unit.
Limescale is not very conductive to heat. When you have, for example, 1mm of limescale stuck to the heating element, the heating elements has to work approximately 50% harder which therefore shortens its life and leads to quicker breakdown. We have spoken to hundred of customers who have experienced boiler unit failures within a few years
Once scale starts building up in your boiler unit, your system is working harder and burning more energy to heat the same amount of water. The unit is sitting there keeping water hot day and night (unless of course you turn it off at night, which hardly anyone does because they do not want to wait for the water to heat up in the morning).
Overall, these types of systems are hideously wasteful for our precious energy resources and will make your bills higher too. Even worse is, as we have already mentioned, many companies are promoting their system with a simple filter as "PURE" and this is totally out of order.
Is there a health concern with boiling water in a kettle or instant boiler tap unit full of limescale?
Yes there is so why is everyone saying there isnt?
This study suggests that, in the preventive approach to calcium nephrolithiasis, the extra meal intake of soft water is preferable to hard water, since it is associated with a lower risk for recurrence of calcium stones.
This study in India suggests its more to do with the quantity of water you drink and not the mineral level.
We know that environmental and nutritional factors that cause kidney stones include dehydration, a diet rich in animal proteins and our intake of calcium. If we boil our water in a kettle full of calcium, or an instant boiler unit full of calcium, then our calcium intake in going to increase. So is the calcium in our urine., directly correlated to 3 types of kidney stone. The major issue with all of the instant boiler tap products, is you will never know unless you do a lab test on your water. Who is really going to do that?
I hope that in reading this article that you will now have the information you need to make an informed choice. In writing this article, I have come across several websites that simply promote the benefits and do not address the weaknesses. Of course, they are promoting and selling the product, so what do we expect.
Please note one thing. In life, nature follows a balance of yin and yang. For every upsides there are downsides and we MUST know the downsides too. Hope this article helps you be healthier!
"With instant boiling water on tap, the way it is currently being executed by the leading companies, is far from optimal, and can be potentially dangerous as you cannot see what is going on inside them, and therefore we don't understand their safety in terms of heavy metal material extraction or calcium levels over their service lifetime. At least with a kettle, you can see how healthy the heating elements are. It's a risk and the purer the water you use, the more likley the corrosion will happen quicker. Always look for the downsides when there are such big and obvious upsides. The downsides are normally equally as grand." Mark Kent, Osmio Water (June 2018)