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Ideal Standard Cleartap A5051AA Kitchemixer Tap
Member Name: dee778
Ideal Standard Cleartap A5051AA Kitchemixer Tap
Date: 16/12/09, updated on 24/12/09 (538 review reads)
Advantages: Nice looking tap, better tasting water
Disadvantages: Expensive filter replacments
Living in a hard water area, I had always filtered my water to improve the taste and to get rid of some of the limescale, but I found that the plastic jugs quickly became scaled up and unsightly. In addition the filters had to be changed very regularly. Friends had installed a separate water filter tap on the side of their sinks, but found that this took up a lot of space. With this in mind, I opted for the much neater kitchen mixer tap with integral water filter.
I found that I had a huge range to choose from, ranging from around £300 to well over £1000 for a magnificent designer tap, and eventually chose the Ideal Standard Cleartap for £277, as one that was cheaper whilst still being very attractive. I also liked the digital display that alerts the user to the need for a filter change.
I find the design of the Cleartap very simple, with curved flowing lines that are really attractive. The long curving spout is 32cm long and has a good reach across the sink. The shape of the lever mirrors the arch of the spout, and the lack of various knobs and buttons kept the lines of the chrome very smooth. Many taps that I looked had a separate lever or knob to turn the water filter tap, but the Cleartap has three functions within one lever. Turning the lever right gives you hot water, turning the lever left gives you cold water - anything in between mixes the two. To get filtered water, you simply lift the lever upwards and a thin stream of filtered water comes out of a separate nozzle, situated just in front of the mixer nozzle.
In terms of maintainance, the tap has a ceramic disc rather than a rubber washer - this had been recommended to me as a much better way to maintain the tap as it is many years before it wears out and needs to be changed. It also avoids dripping and leaking taps which can waste water as the washer needs to be changed.
At the front of the spout there is a black cap with a small digital display screen. This battery operated display indicates the number of days until a filter change is needed.
The actual filter unit sits below the sink. A clear narrow plastic pipe connects it to the tap. The filter unit itself is about 36cm tall and cylindrical. It clips to the wall or kitchen unit with a blue clip which is attached to the wall with a screw.
The tap is very intuitive to use and is a very efficient mixer tap. The water flow is 8.3 litres a minute. The tap swivels 180 degrees so that it can be easily pushed out of the way if you want to place large objects into the sink.
The filtered water comes out in a thin but fast slowing stream (at 2.8 litres a minute) so that it can easily be used to fill bottles with narrow necks. The water is very much improved by being filtered; it tastes better through reducing the chlorine by 98.9%. It also reduces lead and waterbourne organisms as well as reducing limescale. The results can be clearly seen in a cup of tea, as the scum on the surface of the tea is completely eliminated. As soon as the filter needs changing, my cup of tea is the first indicator of this.
The filter is a carbon block filter that is very easy to change. The digital display will alert you to the need to change the filter. Each time a new filter is inserted, you press a coin or a fingernail into the soft rubber front of the digital display panel to re-set the display to 90 days. The display measures actual water flow, and counts down the days until it is time to change the filter; when the display reaches zero it is time to change. Unscrewing the blue plastic cap from the top o the filter unit allows you to lift the carbon filter out of the unit and drop a new one in its place, screwing the plastic cap back on firmly afterwards. The unit can be unclipped from the wall by simply pulling it forward - you can then lift the unit into a position that is most comfortable for you, without crawling under the sink on all fours to grope in the darkness.
~~a couple of negative thoughts~~
The cost of replacement filters for this tap is high. I pay around £25 at my local plumbers for one filter, but the price seems to go up every time I visit. I am unable to find a cheaper alternative on the internet, so I think this is a fair price. The filter lasts for around 3 months; I use the water for cold drinks and kettles, trying to save money by not using filtered water for boiling vegetables or for other uses. An annual cost of £100 a year compares rather poorly to the amount that I used to pay for my jug filter. At £4 for one Britia filter which lasts a month, the jug filter option works out at less than half the price. I also think that you can refil the small water cartidges now, to save even more money, although I have never heard of the larger Cleartap filter being refilled.
The digitial display has proved to be a bit disappointment. It lasted for about 6 months before the display faded away. I paid nearly £2 for a replacement battery, that made no difference at all. I tried to get some help and advice from Ideal Standard, but they could not provide a replacement without replacing the whole tap - and I considered the cost of calling a plumber out to fit a new tap to be too much.
A last, much smaller, complaint is that the filtered water takes a very long time to run cold. It always starts off warm, and takes quite a few minutes to become acceptably cold. Like many others, I am trying to save water and this always makes me feel guilty.
My tap has kept its great looks over the past couple of years. It has been easy to keep clean and to remove the limescale from the base. The filters have been very easy to change and have improved the quality of the water. While the digital display was working it was an excellent and discrete way of letting me know when it was time to change the filter. Above all, I love the lack of clutter - the filter and all the piper are neatly tucked away under the sink.
(This review also posted on Helium)
Summary: The jury is still out on this one.....
|Ease of use:|
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