How Does A Touchless Faucet Work | Expert Talks

If you have ever spent an hour in any kitchen, you know that the faucet is arguably the fixture that’s used most often.

Kitchens get messy and some things need a considerable amount of washing, including our own hands! Therefore, the most convenient way to prevent the faucet from excessive contamination or dirt is by installing a touchless one.

All that these nifty devices require is a show of hands. Fitted with sensor technology, our hand movement starts and stops the water flow. Also, most of the models available in the market work without a hitch for the foreseeable future!

However, imagine someone walking into your kitchen and asking how it works. You’d want to give them an answer as impressive as the faucet itself, isn’t it? Then, read on and find out the nitty-gritty of this wonderful gadget for yourself.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in!

How Does A Touchless Faucet Work?

There are essentially two aspects to understanding the workings of the product. One, the parts it is made up of, and two, the technology that runs it. Our discussion delves deep into both and is sure to give you a thorough insight into this immensely useful home appliance.

Parts of the Device

Solenoid Valve

Defined as an electromagnet that can push or pull, the solenoid valve is the center of water-flow control. In other words, the valve receives signals from the sensor and in turn, starts or stops the flow. In order to do so, it makes use of a rubber-like disc diaphragm.

In the absence of a signal, the valve stays closed and no water escapes the faucet. When a hand is present in front of the sensor, it sends a positive signal to the solenoid valve which results in a ‘pull’ action. That is to say, the valve is pulled open for water to flow. Positive or negative signals indicate the polarity, which then determines the movement of water from the faucet.


Located at the tip or base of the faucet’s spout, the sensor is designed to detect the presence of a hand and is rightly called a ‘presence sensor’. This sets it apart from the more commonly known motion sensor. Here, the presence of a hand turns on the water flow, and vice versa.

Presence sensors in touchless faucets are fitted with a tiny infrared light in most cases. It is placed beside an infrared detector, and together, the two determine when the signal is to be sent to the solenoid valve and when not. The technology is simple enough. When a hand comes close to the spout, infrared light bounces off of the skin and to the detector!

While this is the most common mechanism, touchless faucets also feature ultrasonic sensors. In that case, the valve opens up to release water when your hand enters the field of operation and disrupts the sensor. Similarly, water flow stops as soon as the hand, or blockade, is removed.

Power Source

A touchless or automatic faucet is powered by electricity and there can be no alternate sources of power for the appliance. Although, the sources themselves can be varied in nature. For example, a lot of devices make use of dry-cell batteries in order to function while others run on low-voltage current from an AC transformer. Often, public power sources are also used.

By default, the solenoid valve in the faucet remains open. It is only on receiving an electric signal from the sensor that it can change and push back to a closed position.


The spout is the central element of a touchless faucet as it contains all the other working parts. It is made with care and from a variety of materials, with the most common one being zinc. This is done to cut costs and zinc faucets are usually cheaper than their market counterparts.

Higher-end models tend to comprise brass or copper. Some are also coated with nickel or chromium to enhance both durability and appearance.

With numerous products thronging the market, it is no easy task to find the right one for your kitchen. Touchless faucets come in a variety of styles and customers like to match them with existing fixtures and kitchen detailing. Also, faucets can go so far as to reflect the very lifestyle of the buyer!

Little things make up the big picture. Similarly, a faucet can go a long way in enhancing the functionality as well as the aesthetics of your kitchen. Therefore, it is important to get a thorough understanding of the device before purchasing or using it. To this end, in the following paragraphs, we have outlined the technology that runs this competent product.

What is the Technology Behind It?

As a sophisticated home appliance, a touchless faucet utilizes state-of-the-art technology to ensure a smooth run in the kitchen, one that also minimizes mess. The mechanism that runs the show is known as capacitive technology comprising a sensor at the core of its working.

The sensor is designed to detect changes in the capacitance. For this, electric power is required in order to gauge the precise drop or spike in the conducive air or dielectric. To understand it better, think of all the touch-sensing gadgets you use. Most work on a similar principle except capacitance is a form of electricity with its measuring unit being Farads.

Our body generates capacitance in small quantities. Sensors work to measure the value of the charge and examine the difference. In close contact or vicinity, therefore, the value of the capacitance rises enough for the sensor to detect it, which starts off the water flow. Moving away, or a second touch on the handle results in a drop in the capacitance value. Thus, water flow stops.

No matter how technologically sound we are, it is indeed astonishing to see water flow out at the mere presence of our hands beneath the tap. This happens because the sensor is linked to a metal body, that of the faucet, and metal is an excellent conductor of electricity. Therefore, signals are easily picked up and transmitted to the valve which then opens up, and voila! Water pours out in a steady, silky stream.

A Little Caution Goes a Long Way

The most advanced technology can also be prone to damage and malfunction. In the case of a touchless faucet, it pays to ensure that the device is free of other metallic objects that might hamper the functioning of the sensor.

As this is a delicate appliance, we would suggest reading the instruction manual thoroughly before use, with careful focus on installation and maintenance.

Modern luxury stainless faucet with ceramic sink of automatic sensor and cool with heat control button in bathroom

Final Words

A touchless faucet is a useful fixture in any kitchen. However, it needs maintenance and cleaning like all other appliances.

Cleaning the faucet is no hassle, except, the electrical components demand greater concentration and care for obvious reasons. Harsh chemicals are best avoided on the surface of the device as well as on the battery pack.

Additionally, the batteries must be of the right size. Disposal of electronic waste is also a crucial aspect of using appliances, and care must be taken to exercise caution and responsibility while doing so.

Understanding the device inside out will lead to a better experience while using it. At the same time, it’s bound to leave a positive impression on your kitchen environment.

Kitchens are important areas in all households, and neither would it be a stretch to say that they are reflective of one’s lifestyle. Therefore, it only makes sense to equip it with nothing but the best. And a touchless faucet falls in that category without a doubt.

On that note, we will sign off. Till next time!

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