Do Touch Faucets Need Electricity?

Touch faucets are a far cry from early faucet styles. Now, you can turn on the water without even touching the faucet (although those are touchless faucets). There are even voice-controlled faucets out there – all it takes is your voice, no hands involved. While touch faucets aren’t quite this fancy, they’re still fairly impressive. 

Simply touch the handle or faucet body to engage water flow – it’s as easy as that. This is extremely handy when you have grubby hands or no extra fingers to pull the handle out. However, what happens when the batteries run out, or the power goes out? Will the faucet still work? For the most part, the faucet will still work manually, although you might not have water (if the power is out). Here’s what you should know. 

Do Touch Faucets Work Without Power?

Technically, touch faucets will still work without power. The design of a touch faucet usually features a handle, so you can operate it manually without a hitch. However, if you don’t have power, there’s a good chance you won’t have water either. 

Touch faucets work via batteries or by connecting to an electrical socket in the wall. If the power goes out in your home, you can still technically operate the faucet, but since the power is out, you probably won’t have water (save for what is left in the pipes). 

Do Touch Faucets Need Batteries?

Some touch faucets operate using a battery pack in the assembly. Generally, if your faucet requires batteries, it will need 6AA or 4AA batteries. However, sizing can vary based on the model, so not all faucets will require the same battery. 

Can Touch Faucets Work Manually?

Yes, most touch faucets can operate just like a standard, run-of-the-mill faucet. Most of these faucets feature a fairly standard design. There’s a handle on these faucets that works the same as any other faucet. So, if you prefer to use the tap manually, use the handle instead of the touch feature (although a touch faucet might not be suitable for you if you prefer the old-school operation). 

Other high-tech faucets, such as touchless faucets, might not work manually, as the design might not feature a handle. For example, consider the touchless taps common in public bathrooms. You can’t manually control them, as there isn’t a handle – there’s usually only a sensor that picks up movement. 

How Do Touch Faucets Work?

Touch faucets are a fancy alternative to traditional faucets. Individuals looking to up their faucet game might want to look into touch, touchless, or voice control faucets. Touch faucets operate using sensors throughout the faucet, often located in the spout and handle. 

Simply tap the faucet in one of these areas to activate the water flow, then tap it again when you’re ready to turn the water off. Touch faucets are convenient, especially when your hands are full or your fingers are coated in a sticky dough (and you don’t want to share it with the faucet). So, instead of wrestling with the handle, all you need to do is tap somewhere on the faucet’s body to activate the water flow.

Inside the faucet, there’s a solenoid valve. This valve works in tandem with the touch sensor to turn the tap on and off as you control the sensor. When this valve wears out, many folks experience issues with turning the faucet on and off. 

From a more technical standpoint, these faucets work under ‘capacitive sensing,’ which is activated by the human electrical charge. These taps feature two sensors, one on the handle and the other in the spout. When any conductive material (silver, copper, etc.) makes contact with the detector, it essentially becomes an extension of it. 

These sensors detect capacitance (which we, as humans, possess), engaging water flow. They detect any fluctuation in capacitance of the 100-200 picofarads (pF) range. When you touch these detectors, you activate the water flow. While we won’t get into the exact mechanical specifics of operation (it can get confusing), these are the basics of how these faucets function. 

Most touch faucets with batteries feature LED lights to warn you when the battery is getting low. Generally, there will be a few different colors, including blue or green, yellow, and red. Check your owner’s manual for guidance on what your faucet’s LED lights indicate. 

For example, Moen’s faucets feature a blue LED light that indicates you’re in electronics mode. The light comes on for two seconds when you activate the electronic settings. When the battery is low, the light will flash rapidly. In this particular case, the light remains blue. The difference in indicators is whether the light holds or flashes. 

Alternative High-Tech Options

If you want to take it a step up, consider a touchless faucet. These faucets are like those you see in public bathrooms (on the technology side of things, anyway). You turn on the water with a wave of your hand, easily activating the water without having to turn a handle. However, as most know, those sensors don’t always work as well as they should (we’ve all waved incessantly at a faucet in a public space, only for it to be on strike). 

Touchless faucets also use a sensor to operate, but they detect movement instead of contact. The sensor utilizes a tiny infrared light that sits near an infrared detector. When you move your hands near the sensor, infrared light bounces off your skin and to the faucet, activating the water flow. 

Some touchless faucet designs feature handles, while others don’t. So, if your touchless faucet doesn’t have a handle, you’ll be out of luck without batteries or some type of power source. 

Voice control faucets elevate the game even more. Most of these faucets offer touchless and manual control, but it’s much cooler to activate it just using your voice. Simply use the voice assistant feature to regulate the water flow. This could be handy if you have your hands full, but touchless faucets do the same thing with a wave of your hand, so it might not be worth the extra money. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Touch And Touchless Faucets The Same Thing?

No, touch and touchless faucets aren’t the same things. Although it’s easy to confuse these techy faucets, they operate differently. A touch faucet requires contact to engage water flow, whereas a touchless faucet runs based on detected movement. 

While they may visually appear the same, the technology within the faucet body is different, so the operation between the two isn’t quite the same.

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