Any advice on picking a kitchen faucet?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum' started by ilyaz, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Feb 8, 2010 #1

    ilyaz

    ilyaz

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    We need to pick a faucet for the kitchen we're about to start remodeling. I read some general advice on how to pick one but I need a few more specific recommendations in terms of reliability and usability.

    We're converging toward a single-handle faucet. The one we have now has a side spray pull-out but we're considering getting a faucet with a built-in pull-out. How do these generally compare to side pull-outs? Do they last as long? Are there certain types/brands of built-in pull-outs that are better?

    By the way, in case it's relevant, we will have a D-shaped undermount sink and will have a choice of either one or two holes in the corners of the "D".

    Are there certain types of handles that are better than others. It seems that the longer one is the better since it's easier to move it especially if your hands are occupied or dirty. Is this the case?

    Finally, we're not sure whether we want a straight faucet or one of those longer gooseneck-type ones. Any advice on picking one over the other?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Feb 8, 2010 #2

    Redwood

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    Ah faucets...
    This is easy!

    The adage you get what you pay for comes into play...
    There are a lot of cheap faucets in the $40-80 range that look great but get ugly quick. Simply put they are disposable...

    Above that in the $80-120 range you can find some decent but simple versions of some good old work horses like Delta and Moen...

    Up higher you find the fancier versions of Delta, Moen, Kohler etc...

    Pull out types tend to be more problematic with stress on the hose being a problem...

    I like Delta and Moen myself, Kohler tends to be a PITA when it comes to parts.

    I advise people to avoid high end designer stuff they can be a real PITA for parts and often have ceased to exist when you need a part...
    $300 worth of parts to repair a $800 kitchen sink faucet is just dumb IMHO

    Goose neck faucets tend to appear to be dripping long after you shut them off because of water retained in the gooseneck...

    Just my :2cents:
     
  3. Feb 8, 2010 #3

    ilyaz

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    Redwood,

    Thanks for the info. A couple of follow-up q's.
    1. Our sink is 9" deep (U-235 here: Alpha International :: Under Mount Sinks). Is there any sort of rule of thumb for picking the right faucet size relative to the size of the sink? I guess how much water a faucet can push through itself also comes into play. Any recommendations there?

    2. Here's one we're looking at: MOEN Solidad Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet in Classic Stainless Steel - 87559CSL at The Home Depot
    Do we need to worry about the deck plate is we're installing it into a corner of the "D"?

    3. What's your experience with the Blanco brand?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Feb 8, 2010 #4

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Every kitchen faucet will have an aerator that screws on to the end of the faucet spout. Inside that aerator will be a flow restrictor to reduce water flow through the faucet.

    They put those flow restrictors in to save water. The whole idea is to reduce the flow so people who leave the water running when they wash their hands, brush their teeth or shave will use less water. That makes sense in a bathroom sink, but people use kitchen sinks differently. You don't shave or brush your teeth in front of your kitchen sink. So, if you prefer a faucet with greater flow, just take the flow restrictor out of the aerator. You may have more splashing in the sink because of the higher water flow rate, and the water might come out a bit cockeyed, but you can fill the sink a lot faster. Maybe just try it and see if you like it better that way.

    And, no doubt someone's gonna bark at me for this advice too, cuz modifying the faucet in any way at all gives the manufacturer an excuse to void the warranty. (so just don't tell anyone you took the flow restrictor out of the aerator)
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  5. Feb 8, 2010 #5

    Speedbump

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    I'm no plumber, but I can tell you that most of these new faucets aren't so easily modified to make them flow better. You can actually destroy one (as my Wife can attest) by trying to increase the flow.
     
  6. Feb 8, 2010 #6

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    People should also be aware that Moen uses the same 1225 cartridge in all it's single lever faucets, from the $60 models to the $360 models. So it's not like you're getting a more reliable or trouble free faucet if you spend more. You just get more features (like a sprayer), maybe a different finish and the styling.

    I expect it's exactly the same with Delta. They probably use that same stainless steel ball system in all of their single lever faucets too.

    Speedbump: I expect you're thinking of a Tub & Shower faucet. These have anti-scald systems on them that automatically restrict the flow through the hot or cold water supply pipes if there's a pressure drop in the other supply pipe. That helps maintain a uniform shower temperature and prevents people from getting scalded in the shower if someone flushes a toilet, say. You can screw up the settings of the adjusting screws of a T&S faucet, but you shouldn't ruin the faucet by monkeying with the adjusting screws. And, kitchen deck faucets don't have that anti-scald system on them anyhow.
     
  7. Feb 8, 2010 #7

    mudmixer

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    For a kitchen sink, get a high, curved spout to get large items under it.

    Dick
     
  8. Feb 9, 2010 #8

    ilyaz

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    Nestor, is it really the case that all models of the same brand have the same reliability regardless of price? Honestly speaking, I find it kind of hard to believe.

    So is Delat's single-lever mechanism significantly different from Moen's? If so, which one is better in your opinion?
     
  9. Feb 9, 2010 #9

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Ilyaz:
    Moen uses the same 1225 cartridge (pictured below) in every single lever faucet they make. That's not just kitchen faucets, they also use it in all of their single lever bathroom sink and Tub&Shower faucets, and have for many years.

    [​IMG]

    The one you get with the faucet will be brass, but any replacements they send you will be plastic like the one above.

    It's what turns on, shuts off and regulates the flow of both hot and cold water. So, since this part is the same on all Moen single lever cartridges, then it's not reasonable to say that the 1225 cartridges used in the expenive faucets work any better or more reliably than the 1225 cartridges used in the cheaper faucets. They're all made the same.

    But, there are other things that can wear out on a Moen single lever faucet beside that cartridge. If your spout swings from left to right as most kitchen faucet spouts do, there's undoubtedly an O-ring in there and probably two. It's possible that Moen uses two O-rings in their more expensive faucets in places where they only use one in their less expensive faucets. I don't know if that's the case or not as I've never taken the time to find out since I don't buy $300 kitchen faucets for my apartments. I just know that the cartridge that controls the water flow is the same.

    It'd be a simple matter to find out, tho. The literature inside the box on Moen faucets will have an exploded view of the faucet in it. Just ask the guy at Home Depot to photocopy those drawing for you, and compare them to see if the more expensive faucet is built any differently than the less expensive one.

    Don't get me wrong. I like the Moen 1225 cartridge, and many people do. It provides many years of trouble free service.

    Delta uses a stainless steel ball and spring loaded rubber seats in it's single lever faucets. It's a completely different system (and is seen below):

    [​IMG]

    In Delta single lever faucets, moving the handle causes a hollow stainless steel ball to rotate in different directions. The water comes through spring mounted rubber seats that press against the ball. There are holes on the ball, and as the ball turns, a larger or smaller area of hole is expose to the seat, and so more or less water flows through that seat.

    Asking which is better, Moen or Delta is just like asking whether Chevy, Dodge or Fords are best. There are people who prefer one over the other, but if you ask me, both provide good service. I have no Delta faucets in my building, but my sister has a Delta single lever kitchen faucet and she's happy with it. I have a Moen single lever T&S faucet in my bathroom, and I'm happy with it.

    If the world were perfect and only clean water flowed through your faucet, you would seldom ever have a dripping faucet. But, what I've noticed is that whenever I see a City of Winnipeg Truck doing any work in my neighborhood, I often get a spat of dripping faucets in suites after that. The correlation is simply too strong to ignore. I believe that every faucet would provide much more trouble free service, but a big cause of problems is stuff like sand or other foreign material that gets into the water supply pipes when they're being serviced. And, no company has produced a faucet yet that will tolerate stuff like sand or metal filings in the water.

    I expect Delta uses that same stainless steel ball system in all of their single lever faucets, but I don't know that for sure.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  10. Feb 9, 2010 #10

    Redwood

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    Nestor,
    I'd like to introduce you to the Moen #1222 Posi-Temp Cartridge used on tub and shower valves

    [​IMG]

    There is also an Exact-Temp thermostatic cartridge that is out these days....


    Now for the faucet Info....

    Pick one that you like that reaches far enough over the sink.
    Corner mounting does place limitations on reach...

    With the pullout style the limiting factor is usually the hose and its added friction loses...

    In the corner mount situation you would single hole mount that facet without a deck plate.

    Blanco...
    Nice but overpriced...
     
  11. Feb 9, 2010 #11

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    No actually I was referring to the Moen faucet the Wife bought about 8 years ago. It had very poor flow, so I took it apart and found a porcelain gadget inside that could only be modified by my way of thinking with a drill or dremel tool. Well, let me be the first to tell you, that didn't work out well for me. She had to buy another faucet cause I really messed up the other one. Some of these aren't so easy to increase flow with like I mentioned.

    I haven't messed with the auto temp thingies yet and don't intend to.
     
  12. Feb 9, 2010 #12

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Redwood is right about Moen using the Posi Temp and Exacttemp cartridges in their pressure balancing tub and shower faucets. Until now, I wasn't even aware that Moen used different cartridges in their anti-scald T&S faucets because I don't have any of those in my building. That law that requires anti-scald systems on T&S faucets is an American law and it doesn't apply here in Canada. I guess Moen was selling off it's inventory of non-pressure-balancing T&S faucets here in Canada because I could still buy them about 5 years ago. I just phoned my plumbing wholesaler this morning, and he says that all their Moen T&S faucets are anti-scald now, apparantly because that's all Moen makes now.

    Anyhow, Redwood is right that on the tub & shower faucets, Moen has other cartridges. But, those other cartridges are not used in any Moen faucets except the anti-scald tub and shower faucets. So far as all the other Moen single lever faucets for both kitchen and bathroom sinks, they will still all use the 1225 cartridge.

    Ilyaz: That 1225 cartridge is a good system. I don't have any complaints about it. But, the point I wanted to make is that if you're buying a Moen single lever kitchen sink faucet, the thing-a-ma-jig that actually controls the flow of water is the same in a $60 faucet as a $360 faucet. You may have presumed, as many people do, that if you pay more for something, you get better technology that's more reliable. The 1225 cartridge is very reliable. But, so far as the water control itself goes, you're not getting any better technology or reliability in an expensive single lever Moen kitchen faucet as a cheap single lever Moen kitchen faucet. I just thought that information was important to the decision making process.

    Also, my experience has been that City of Winnipeg trucks parked on the street in my neighborhood will often result in a bunch of dripping faucets in my building over the following days to weeks (depending on how long it takes the tenant to tell me the faucet is dripping). I've heard of something called "whole house filters" for water supply systems in houses, but I don't know anything about them. If there were a way to strain out any foreign materials in the water coming into your house, that would go a long way to keeping ALL of the faucets (and toilet fill valves) in your house working and trouble-free. So, in my humble opinion, the way to increase the reliability of your kitchen faucet isn't to spend more on it, but to have a whole house filter screening out all the crap that might be in your water supply.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  13. Feb 9, 2010 #13

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Speedbump:

    Moen faucets come with a lifetime guarantee, and they're pretty easy to get along with when it comes to ordering replacement parts. You can just phone up Moen and tell them you took the faucet apart to replace the cartridge in it, and your pet billy goat swallowed that porcelain piece. They'd just send you a new one in the mail.

    Here's the exploded view of a typical Bubble Stream aerator that might fit on a kitchen sink or bathroom sink faucet:

    [​IMG]

    That thing at the top is the end of the faucet spout. The aerator just screws into the end of the spout with either a male or female thread. It's a right hand thread so you unscrew the aerator by turning it the same way as a light bulb.

    The flow restrictor is the stainess steel plate with the small hole in it. All of the water coming out the faucet has to go through that small (roughly 1/8 inch diameter hole). You can see how removing that flow restrictor and allowing flow through the entire cross section of the aerator would allow for very much higher flow rates out the faucet spout.

    Apparantly, in and effort to save water, the USA passed a law setting limits on the flow rates that you can have on kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. Faucet manufacturers put flow restrictors into their faucets to meet those legal requirements, otherwise they can't sell their faucets in the USA.

    You can increase the water flow out your faucet spout by simply removing the flow restrictor in your faucet's aerator, but don't nobody say that Nestor told them to do that cuz I'll get in trouble with your government and they might send some goon out to put the Fear of God in me.

    Moen aerators are similar, but they have a little blue and red plastic disk with about 30 tiny holes in it. It's in the same relative location as is shown above; just under the rubber washer.

    Removing the flow restrictor won't harm the faucet. If anything, by lowering the working pressure inside the faucet body, some of the O-rings in the faucet (notably any O-rings at the base of the spout) should actually last longer. But, you're probably going to end up wasting more water, and so your water bill might go up. If you don't waste any water, then it won't go up.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  14. Feb 9, 2010 #14

    Speedbump

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    Nestor,

    I'm not that naive. I do know an aerator from a flow restricter.

    If I took the aerator off the Moen faucet I had, the flow was still 2.5 gal per minute or thereabouts. I wanted a better than that. I managed to get more flow through the hand held device, but the main guts of the moan valve prevented more water from getting through to it.

    These companies are making it very hard to increase flow through their valves. I'm sure our government is the reason for that. But if you want my advice, don't go messing around with one of those $100.00 plus faucets unless you want to take a chance of destroying it.
     
  15. Feb 9, 2010 #15

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Well, it's not worth arguing over. I can't fit it in my head that removing the flow restrictor would harm anything, but you feel differently. We both have a right to our opinions. Let's agree to disagree and leave it at that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  16. Feb 9, 2010 #16

    granite-girl

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    Everyone's getting pretty technical above, so I won't.... I can't... lol
    Anyway- I do know that Delta is now using a ceramic disc cartridge thingamabob & thats' supposed to be better. All I ever hear from plumbers around here is Delta, it's easier to get parts & easier to fix.

    I like the look & function of a high arc pulldown sprayer like you are looking at. Delta's all now have a magnetic thingie to hold the sprayer in place after every use. I didn't read that about your Moen faucet.

    You also asked about quality of every Moen, delta, ... from what I was told @ 4years ago when I worked for a plumbing supply warehouse (we sold Delta, Kohler...) what you buy at Lowes or Home Depot are not the same quality you can get at a supply house. Who knows now.
    There's my thoughts- Good Luck!
     
  17. Feb 9, 2010 #17

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    Granite Girl:

    I have no doubt you were told that, and I expect they even told you to tell customers that. The Moen faucets I buy at my plumbing wholesaler do have different model numbers (for what I can see are identical faucets) than the retail models, and the packaging is very plain (as opposed to the neat-o cardboard box the retail models come in), but the quality of the faucet is the same. It would cost Moen money to keep inventory of a second grade of parts for a hypothetical line of junky faucets. They'd have to keep an inventory and keep track of their stock of junk parts and good quality parts. So, they'd actually have to increase their prices in order to lower their quality. Kinda hard to compete in the world markets by doing that.


    Take a look at this Moen web site:

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Moen Faucets

    where it says:

    Q: "Do all Moen products consist of one standard of quality regardless of whether the distributor is a retail or wholesale supplier?"

    A: "Moen's production line does not differentiate between wholesale and retail models. There is only one grade of brass, only one grade of cartridge and only one grade of warranty coverage–the best. While the numbering system for Moen's wholesale distributors and retail distributors may vary and subtle installation and trim differences may exist (these may include, but are not limited to, packaging, threaded or slip-fit style tub spouts and metallic or non-metallic drain assemblies). The quality and limited lifetime warranty against leaks, drips, materials, and workmanship remain the same for all of our products."


    Regarding the modifying of the faucet to allow greater flow rates:

    Q: "Is there an adjustment that I can make to my faucet to increase the flow of the water?"

    A: "In 1992, the federal government passed the Energy Policy Act. This law placed strict regulations on flow rates. All manufacturers must adhere to these standards and no adjustments can be made. In some cases, you may be receiving less than the maximum allowable water flow rate. Normally, this is due to low water pressure, a blockage in the plumbing or in the faucet, or a faucet malfunction.

    WaterSense is a program sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to promote water efficiency (it is similar in nature to the EPA's Energy Star program). A product with the WaterSense label indicates that it meets water efficiency and performance criteria outlined by the EPA to help you reduce water use in your home."

    That's the reason for the flow restrictor in the faucet aerator. The faucet doesn't need that flow restrictor in there to operate properly, and if Moen were serious about people not removing that flow restrictor there's a 100 ways they could have modified the brass body of the faucet or the spout to permanently restrict the flow through the faucet so that it couldn't be increased. But, the way they've done it makes it easy to sidestep those EPA restrictions if you want to. You have to take the aerator off the spout to connect a Brita water filter to the faucet. You have to take the aerator off to connect a portable dishwasher to the faucet. If removing the aerator or flow restrictor would harm the faucet, Moen wouldna make it so darn easy to do.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  18. Feb 9, 2010 #18

    granite-girl

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    you're probably right that does make sense. That's just what I was told about Delta and maybe Kohler. Lowes/HD products had more plastic in them... Who knows the truth anymore.

    BTW- I'm here in Southern Indiana- Delta's Corp. Headquarters & manufacturing facility is @ 30 miles away from here, thus... we sold Delta- don't know much about Moen- really.
     
  19. Feb 9, 2010 #19

    Nestor_Kelebay

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    If you have customers asking you why your faucets cost more, you gotta tell them something.

    I guess your boss might have taken a dim view of you're just saying: "Oh, that's an easy question. They cost more because we charge more." and then nod your head and smile.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  20. Feb 9, 2010 #20

    granite-girl

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    I don't want to go on & on about this, but I keep remembering things- I'm sorta like that. Anyway #1. with the discounts some of those plumbers got- I'm pretty sure we weren't more $$
    And #2. I think I remember the plumbers telling me all of that also. They didn't want to work with faucets from the "box stores" of course they marked up what they bought to the customer- so... who knows.
     

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