When it comes to the provision of drinking water in commercial kitchens, the key considerations should be health and safety, speed and efficiency. And, with kettles and urns increasingly seen as less-than-ideal solutions, a refurbishment is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to safer and more energy efficient options.
Although workplace catering facilities vary in size and type, they all require boiling drinking water. Traditionally, boiling water has been delivered via kettles or urns, but these solutions do not always offer safety, speed or efficiency – which is not good news for facilities managers.
Kettles and urns full of boiling water can be knocked over, trailing cables can be damaged and kettle users can be scalded by water spilling from the appliance, or by steam.
It is also time-consuming to continually fill a kettle or urn and wait for it to boil. This can be frustrating, especially in busy working environments where breaks can be few and far between.
There is also energy efficiency to consider. If an urn is filled and boiled, but not all of the boiling water is used, the excess hot water will lose heat through the insufficiently insulated tank, translating into massive energy wastage. According to an Energy Saving Trust report, 75 per cent of people boil more water than they need, and overfilling kettles costs British households £68 million on energy bills a year. We believe that workplace kettles are also overfilled – costing the commercial sector millions.
In light of the drawbacks of kettles and urns, plumbed in boiling water units are a good option to consider when the time comes to refurbish a building. Permanently connected to the cold water mains, electric boiling water units provide a constant supply of hot water, which can be used for multiple purposes, from making hot drinks to cooking vegetables. With varying capacities being available, they are suitable for any environment, from small office kitchens to larger workplace canteens.
Traditional boiling water products were quite industrial in appearance and operation, but the introduction of the boiling water ‘tap’ – widely regarded as a stylish kitchen accessory – has opened up the market even further.
Our easy-to-install, five litre capacity Aquatap is based on our market leading Supreme boiling water product, and includes similar built-in safety features and the same Intelliboil™Plus technology, but has a more stylish ‘hot tap’ design.
In workplace kitchens, hot taps like Aquatap are ideal for quickly making hot drinks, and for preparing instant snacks and soups. In larger commercial catering environments, such as canteens and restaurant kitchens, having boiling water literally on tap can save chefs huge amounts of time when blanching or cooking vegetables or preparing stock, sauces, rice, pasta or couscous, and making hot drinks also becomes quicker and easier.
Boiling water units are also safer than kettles and urns; securely mounted onto a wall or counter top, they can’t be knocked over and any steam produced in the boiling cycle is condensed and retained within the unit.
Importantly, boiling water units are also energy efficient, delivering the amount of water required on demand and replacing it as it is used. Our Intelliboil™Plus technology effectively and efficiently manages the boiling cycle by regularly bringing the contents of the water container to the boil in response to ongoing user demand. A ‘temperature ready’ LED indicator advises when Aquatap is ready for use.
Based on an environment of 15 people requiring four hot drinks a day, we estimate that the daily running costs of Aquatap is £6.96 lower than a kettle, which translates to a saving of £1,670 per year. For a commercial kitchen, the savings could therefore be much higher.
The other benefit of hot taps is that there is usually the option to have cold drinking water delivered from the same unit. Over recent years there’s been increased emphasis on drinking an adequate amount of water to remain sufficiently hydrated, with dehydration contributing to headaches, tiredness and irritability, as well as serious health problems. Studies have also suggested that water increases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to the brain, improving concentration and mental performance.
Some facilities managers opt for bottled water coolers, but this can be expensive and involves a lot of maintenance in terms of replacing and storing the relatively large, heavy bottles. In addition, bottled water in general has come under scrutiny in recent years, in terms of its environmental impact and whether plastic water bottles actually harbour potentially harmful bacteria.
UK drinking water is of the highest standard, has a record level of quality and is the most stringently tested in the world. However, tap water can be poor tasting and warm – which can discourage people from drinking it. So, a good solution is to chill and filter mains water via economical plumbed-in units.
We offer the SuperChill chilled water unit, and Aquatap is designed to deliver refreshing chilled or ambient water in addition to boiling water; there are boiling only, boiling/chilled and boiling/ambient versions available.
When it comes to refurbishing commercial premises, safety and efficiency improvements are a top priority. And, in light of this, it is well worth considering the latest drinking water options which leave traditional kettles and urns far behind.