Faucets are the most crucial bathroom and kitchen fixtures as they facilitate the flow of water at these places. Faucets are long-lasting fixtures, but this does not mean that it would not require changing because it undergoes heavy wear and tear from extensive use, which can shorten its life. Leaking faucets bear testimony to the fast erosion of the internal parts of faucets that necessitates replacing it with a new one.
Youmust look for a new fixture that is safe and durable, looks great and convenient to use. Their designs have evolved a lot, and as faucet manufacturers consider the convenience of users as a unique selling point.You can find the salesman at the plumbing store trying to convince you to buy a pulldown kitchen faucet which is very useful for many. But it would be best if you considered the manner of use to decide whether it will be helpful for you.
In addition to considering usability to determine the suitability of faucets for your use, you can also gauge its quality from the price band, which bears some faint hints about the quality. A good understanding of faucet construction and its method of working are some other ways to do a comprehensive evaluation of the products before deciding about which faucet will be good for you.
Your search begins by knowing the different styles of kitchen faucets, the materials it is made of, and of course, how the fixtures work to control the flow of water effectively.
Styles of Kitchen Faucets
Faucets come with handles by turning which you can activate the internal parts responsible for controlling water flow. There are single-handle faucets, double-handle faucets, and even faucets without handles or hands-free faucets.
Single-handle faucets are a common sight in most kitchens that entails operating the faucet with one hand and using the other hand for holding something. This type of faucet is called the center-set as its central placement on the deck or the plane of the sink. The single lever allows you to control hot or cold water by operating the knob or lever, which is often a part of the spout.
Double-handle center-set faucets are also available for use in kitchens and bathrooms in which a single base unit houses the spout as well as the handles. One of the knobs is for cold water, and the other is for hot water. The faucets have mixing valves that allow mixing hot and cold-water streams delivered through the spout.
Widespread faucets are a variant of the double handle faucets that have different construction and design. In these faucets, the vales of hot and cold water and the spout are mounted separately, but these have very rare use in kitchens.
Consider the hole configuration on the countertop or sink when buying faucets, and if you want to have a sprayer, a soap dispenser, and an instant hot waterspout check that the sink has enough holes to accommodate these.
Brass is the most widely used material for faucets, but the finishing can differ. There can be different looks that can have a powder-coated finish like the black faucets or gold plating. The parts used in faucets are either cast in molds or machine pressed and stamped. Brass is an alloy of copper, zinc, and lead, which can make faucets used for drinking water a bit of a concern due to minute leaching of lead that raises the health risks. To minimize the risk, the Safe Drinking Water Act mandates faucet manufacturers to ensure that bass used in faucets should not contain more than 8% lead. Manufacturers are trying to bring down the lead content further.
Polished and brushed chrome is the most prevalent faucet finishes while there are other finishes like gold plating satin, high-gloss, and antique brass as well as powder-coated finishes in different colors – red, white, black and gray. Manufacturers use a combination of colors with the body of one and the handle of another to accentuate the design. Powder coated colored finishes are long-lasting and can last for the life of the faucets.
Brass faucets undergo nickel plating before applying a layer of brass plating on it. Choosing a high gloss brass finish ensures that the looks last for long without the need for periodical cleaning and polishing. Chrome finished faucets undergo the same process except for the final coating.
Types of Cartridges
Faucets have a stem or cartridge that runs down from the handle and is the most crucial component of the fixture. The cartridge functions by opening and closing the pathway for water at the turn of the handle.
Single Function Cartridges
Single-function cartridges or single-function stems allow for a single pathway of water, either hot or cold. These faucets have a single-entry point for water and available in single-handle and double-handle designs. Traditionally, the stems used compression presses, and newer designs use ceramic discs to perform the function of controlling the flow of water.
Disc cartridges consist of two ceramic discs sitting against another. When one disc rotates, it uncovers the gap in the other disc, thereby allowing water to pass. Since the handles rotate 90 degrees, some people call it quarter-turn handles. The disc surfaces have high precision finish and lubricated for effective sealing and frictionless movements. Ceramic is highly wear-resistant and lasts quite long besides being maintenance-free. However, debris carried by water can damage the ceramic disks, which are brittle nature.
The knob handles of faucets that use compression cartridges are so much typical that by looking at it, you can tell that it has compression cartridges. The problem with disc cartridges is that the washer used with the stem requires frequent replacement.
Dual Function or Mixer Cartridges
Mixer cartridges can handle two water supply linesby using a single handle or lever. The faucet has a mixer chamber for mixing hot and cold water that comes out from the spout. These faucets use ceramic disc cartridges or ball valves to control the flow of water.
Faucets are available in a wide price range, and there is a faucet for everyone and every need.