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Foot valves and knee valves are used when workers require hands free operation of the water supply. Foot valves are either used in the food industry, where hygiene is crucial and taps create a significant spot for contamination of bacteria and diseases. Other applications of foot valves are where workers have to hold an object and rinse or wash objects with both hands.

Foot valves can be used on a single basin, a range of basins, flatbed hand washbasin or wash troughs.  Basically anywhere, you can even activate a shower of you really want to. Foot valves are usually combined with either a deck-mounted spout (installed on top of a basin) or wall mounted spout (very seldom).

There are two types of hands free valves:

  1. Boxed foot valve: C-BFV (Now discontinued, we are working on a new version)
  2. Knee operated valve: C-KV

The standard foot valve (C-BFV) is most commonly used in food processing industries or smaller factories.  Once the lever is pressed with your foot, a valve opens and water is released to the basin spout. Your plumber will connect the foot valve to the basin spout with ingeniously designed pipework which is proprietary to each installation, that is why we do not include it.  Where hygiene is important, the pipework will be installed under the tiles (so it is chased into the floor and wall).  In some installations it is ok for the piping to be exposed, but that is something you must decide.

Stainless steel boxed foot valve. Ideal for heavy industrial use (C-BFV)

For heavier industrial use, such as in mines and where workers use heavy boots, the Boxed foot valve is used. It is made of stainless steel and can be bolted to the floor. The Boxed foot valve (C-BFV) comes with a demand valve inside. As long as your foot is pressing on the valve, the water will flow. Simple as that.

high basin neck spout
The small high neck basin spout designed to go with the any of the foot valves (also knee operated valve)

Knee operated valves are designed for light industrial use and ideal for the food industry such as restaurants.  The main feature of knee operated valves is that the floor surface is kept open for cleaning. For some business operators that is extremely important.  The knee operated valve is installed on the wall.  It is not suited for heavy industrial type of work such as the mining industry. Knee operated valves are metered, so you push the lever with your knee and the water will flow, once you move your knee away, the water will stop flowing.

Knee operated hands free tap or valve

Knee operated metered knee valve installed against a brick wall (not drywall please!)


There is one problem with these three valves.  They only supply cold water, meaning, they do not mix hot and cold water.  You need a “pre-mixer” if you need warm water to flow.  For that, you must install a Thermostatic mixing valve BEFORE the foot valve. These thermostatic mixing valves are incredible pieces of equipment.  They will reduce the temperature of the water down to a maximum of 42°C.  This temperature is the limit which humans can tolerate and it is a comfortable temperature with which to wash your hands.  Note that many geysers increase the temperature to 70°C which will burn your hands, or scald which is another more technical term.

So remember, if you want warm water to reach the basin, you need to install a THERMOSTATIC MIXING VALVE.


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