tapmaster as 'child safety' for instahot?

mmhmmgoodSeptember 9, 2011

I have been contemplating the tapmaster for my main sink for some time now, and just had a moment of either sheer genius or who-would-ever-think-of-or-want-such-a-thing craziness. Depends on your perspective. And whether you're up at silly times of the night pondering your faucets and water flow.

I think it would be a brilliant (albeit pricey) way to baby proof the instahot if it would work with the instahot system. I am putting an instahot with my "cleanup" sink which would also be the sink my kids sometimes play in and sometimes "help" in. I had intended to put a valve under my sink to switch off so they couldn't scald themselves on the instahot water, but then I'd constantly have to remember to turn it on and then then off again after I wanted to use the hot water. A small pain I was planning to live with until my kids are old enough to have learned about the hot water tap for my own peace of mind.

BUT, now imagine the instahot attached to the tapmaster! Then I don't have to reach under my sink every time I use the hot water to turn it on and off again. Rather with the touch of my foot I can enable and disable the water flow. I would still turn the instahot on and off with (with my hand) as you would normally (can't imagine I'd need the instahot to be "hands free" ever). AND then when the kids are older and I don't need the kid proofing anymore, I take it off of my instahot and use it on my main sink!

What do you think? A stroke of brilliance or just a small stroke (brain infarct)?

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I think a baby is going to be able to reach a foot pedal adn play with it long before they can reach the counter, much less a faucet tap behind the sink. Granted, they won't be tall enough to reach both at the same time, but you might get hot water on things you don't intend, splashing or just waste. By the time a child, not a baby, can reach a short instant hot handle at the back of the sink and counter, they are old enough to be told and understand that the water from that tap, which is by itself and looks different, is hot and can burn them. I'd have more concern about an older person with Alzheimer's or something, but my mom never had one and never even paid attention to mine. She knew the large faucet was water and ignore the other stuff. Someone else could be different.

If it makes you feel better, I'm sure you could do it, but unless you have a developmentally challenged child in your home, I don't think you'd need it or really gain anything.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 10:25AM
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I agree with Lacasatx. Children are very good at understanding when something is hot and not to touch. If they're old enough to stand on a step stool and play in the sink, they'll get it that it's a bad idea to touch the instahot.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:40AM
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babies make that mistake once. Only once. I remember hearing a baby in Germany saying "heiss, heiss, heiss" several times. I suppose she was reminding herself of the lesson she wanted to be sure she learnt once and for all.


The idea of a Tapmaster for IHW is good. Also for filtered water. I wonder if raro did this.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 11:47AM
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Fori is not pleased

It would probably work but instead, I'd just set the instant hot to not quite scalding until the kids were trustworthy. Not as good for tea but I bet you'd feel safe to turn it up pretty soon.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Agreed on the foot pedal not being a good idea. A kid playing with it could easily scald someone else, as well, but you could use a Tapmaster controller, or perhaps something less expensive like an airswitch, to turn on the valve, rather than turning the whole unit on and off, but hide the controller in an upper cupboard, or a well locked one or something. Rather than turning the instant hot mechanism off, which defeats the purpose altogether, you'd have your hidden switch that would only turn the flow on and off. It would still be important not to lock the flow on (I think there are Tapmaster models where you can't do that), but that could work.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 12:41PM
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I like the idea. A lot of current instahot faucets are momentary-only themselves (although a few do have lock-on options), but most are spring loaded levers, so it would be impossible to accidentally turn it on with the tapmaster alone). To make a geek analogy, it would be like two-factor authentication - you gotta be actively using both to have it work.

We have the same worry as you -- for our elderly family member who some days is confused more than others (and, so, cannot be expected to learn and remember from a bad incident). But in her case, we are pretty sure she always holds the counter to turn on a faucet, so unless she angles her arm under the faucet at the same time she is moving the lever, we should be good, since her other hand will be occupied with balance.

I do think it is overkill for most situations. I tell you though, if we had a burn incident ourselves (demonstrating that mitigation measures would not be overkill), we'd absolutely either remove the instahot, install a switch or maybe add a tapmaster like you are suggesting.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Perhaps it's not the next big idea that will sweep the country afterall!

But just to clarify after some of the responses above, my idea is that the instahot would still be in the OFF position, so even if my kids/someone else's kid turned on the tapmaster while playing on the floor, the hot water wouldn't be turned on automatically. It would be as if you had turned your faucet off at the handle like you would in a kitchen without the tapmaster. In this case the tapmaster only enables the faucet to be turned on, it doesn't actually cause the water to flow. So overall it would be a two step process: turn on the tapmaster with the foot, then turn on the hot water with the instahot faucet's lever by hand. Accidentally achieving this would be possible but incredibly unlikely. And an intelligent toddler will likely be able to figure it out but he/she would have to really want to do it and hopefully it would take him/her long enough to be thwarted or distracted by something else along the way. I guess I wasn't as clear in my description as I intended to be, but that's the wee hours of the morning for you.

I hadn't thought about the same application to families who live with someone with dementia! I still think it's a great idea.

It's the ounce of prevention. I know I can't prevent my kids from every injury, but if a small tweak can prevent something potentially nasty I think it's worth considering!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 4:13PM
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Fori is not pleased

I'm changing my mind but you'll have to consult a plumber. I think it might NOT work. Would you put the control between the tank and faucet or before the tank? I think the tank needs to be full whenever it's heating or Bad Things happen so you wouldn't want it before the tank. So you'd have to put it between the tank and faucet and errrr check with a plumber. The tubes are different sizes so an out-of-the-box installation won't work.

Anyway, the idea is not bad, not at all. But to save money (or allow you to use your Tapmaster on your cleanup sink from day one, which also saves a hole in your prep sink toekick), you could get one of those really ugly old fashioned instant hot taps where you have to turn the knob in an unnatural manner to get the water to flow and replace it with something pretty in a few years.

Or invert a big jar over the whole faucet when you don't want anyone using it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 5:14PM
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i am not a plumber, but i am not sure the tapmaster would work on an instahot. the instahot has a tank i believe that has to be on all day to keep the water hot, so turning the tank on and off would mean you don't get instant hot water but would have to wait for hot water (which sort of defeats the purpose of having an instahot).

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 6:31PM
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The tapmaster wouldn't turn the heater on/off, it is just a valve in the water line. However, the differing water pressure and temps in that instahot water line might preclude being able to use it.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 6:42PM
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Sent an email to tapmaster, awaiting the reply. Ideally the tapmaster would be added between the tank and the faucet so as to enable/disable the flow only and not interfere with the hot water tank itself. I'll see what tapmaster has to say and check with my plumber first. Will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 7:22PM
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good to know:
IHW taps send cold water into the tank so that hot water gets pushed out.
IHW taps have a pipe that receives cold water, and an exit pipe that sends cold water to the tank.
A 3rd pipe lets the hot water go through unimpeded to the spout, not interrupted or interruptible.
A Tapmaster will work fine, when used to "control" the normal cold water input into the IHW tap. AFAIK.
Cold water input can be switched on or off.
A Tapmaster is an on/off switch mechanism like any other switch.

IHW taps are rare. The people at Tapmaster won't know anything about IHW taps unless someone happens to have studied them previously. You may get a great answer from them, if someone there has time to look into this subject. I hope my answer helps.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 9:41PM
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Copied and pasted the email reply from tapmaster regarding using them together with an IHW tap. Still waiting to hear from insinkerator who supplies my IHW as well, but in case any one else was interested in this thread:

"I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you but I wanted to check with the engineer to see if Tapmaster could be used as a lockout option.
He does not think that we have anything at this time that would act as a lockout system as there would be residual pressure in the line which could create another issue."

    Bookmark   September 13, 2011 at 11:54PM
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i think this may be worth pursuing further. In IHW, there is no pressure at the tank(that is why they can sputter); the cold input goes into an open-vent system.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 12:06AM
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