Kitchen and bathroom faucets have evolved. Today, they're an indispensable part of every home. Although they have a seemingly negligible impact on style, they can significantly affect a kitchen or bathroom's overall design.
Kitchen and bathroom faucets can last 15 to 20 years. A faucet's lifespan depends mostly on how well the faucet is made and the water quality. Proper maintenance can prolong the lifespan of a faucet. Constate repairs can mean replacement is needed. However, faucets now incorporate style and function, which often means faucets are replaced well before replacement is needed.
Faucets can encounter many problems. The most common is a leaky faucet, but many people don't pay this issue much attention. However, faucets have many parts, and the condition of each part correlates with another.
How Do I Know If My Faucet Cartridge Is Bad?
Older faucets had valves with rubber seals that anyone could DIY-replace themselves. However, today's modern faucets generally no longer have such valves. Instead, there's a ceramic insert that performs the function of the former seals.
The cartridge's primary purpose is to mix hot and cold water streams and regulate their supply's intensity and ensure sanitary equipment's uninterrupted operation.
Water with limescale leads to greater damage to plumbing. Minerals accumulate around drains, faucets, and various joints and damage them, requiring a change in most water installations and cartridges.
You can tell if a faucet cartridge is bad by checking whether the water is dripping from the faucet. When a faucet cartridge goes bad, it becomes difficult for you to adjust the water temperature, and cold water can enter the hot water outlets.
The cartridge has gone bad if water spills under the nut, the handle, or the valve. In these situations, the lever is unlikely to move correctly; most of them will become stuck in an undesirable position. Another sign is the jet isn't strong enough with normal water pressure in the system.
Anyone with handy skills can fix this. First of all, be sure to close the water supply off and plug the drain to prevent smaller parts' loss down the drain. Remove the caps from the top of the faucet with a screwdriver. You will find a screw under the caps that hold the faucet in place. Unscrew the screw and take off all parts that come off easily.
Under the spout is a cylindrical faucet which is surrounded by two O rings. If you find leaks around the spout, you should also replace the rings. Once everything is off, you should see the top of the cartridge. Pull out the cartridge with a pair of pliers.
Inspect it. If it's smooth, it means that the problem was with the rings. If the cartridge is damaged or clogged, it needs to be replaced. Take the new cartridge and slide it into the faucet body. Reassemble the faucet. Turn on the water and test the water flow.
How Long Does a Faucet Last?
Most faucets usually last for 15 to 20 years. The way we maintain them depends on their actual lifespan.
First, the faucet's lifespan is often dictated by how well it is made and maintained. When having a faucet installed, make sure to find an experienced and qualified plumber. You should never leave cement or adhesives on surfaces to avoid damaging their protective coatings. You should also remove dirt from the pipes and the faucet.
Don't use too much force when opening the tap, as the water flow pressure is far greater than the tap can withstand. In the event of a leak, repair the faucet immediately. Quality faucets seal well when put in place.
However, since the ceramic seal is sensitive to hard impurities such as sand and gravel in the water, the sealing surface easily becomes worn and scratched. Hardwater can quickly lead to dripping and leaking. Once a drip starts, it will continue to increase, creating a flow line, which means you need to fix a leaking faucet as soon as you notice the leak.
Also, it's best to install an automatic water-saving device with constant pressure and flow. After installing the water-saving device, the faucet can maintain an optimal and stable flow rate under high water pressure.
Besides that, you should regularly clean the faucet to prevent the buildup of limescale and dirt, which can cause a lot of damage. The best option is to clean the faucet's surface with a soft cotton cloth (wet it a little, if necessary). Even gentle wiping removes most contaminants without damaging the material. Do not use aggressive sponges, brushes, or even microfiber cloths.
Limescale mostly builds up in the corners and on the joints. Use a mild citric acid-based cleaner to remove this buildup. Do not apply the concentrate directly to the tap, but onto the cloth, you use to wipe the tap. Rinse the faucet thoroughly with clean water; clean both the sink and spout immediately.
You can easily remove the aerator for cleaning. Cleaning the aerator is always necessary when the water jet is irregular. In most cases, you only need to clean the aerator cartridge before you can replace it.
The aerator is unscrewed with a fork wrench and disassembled, then the limescale and accumulations are removed from the cartridge by soaking and rinsing the aerator. When you immerse it in warm water with a little detergent, the deposits will separate after about ten minutes.
Will Replacing a Faucet Stop It From Leaking?
A leaky faucet does not always need replacement, so it isn't necessary to run to the store and buy a new one straight away. It's better to start by understanding the problem. You'll likely only need to replace either the seal or some other part of the device in most cases. A thorough understanding of the problem can save a lot of money.
For example, if your newly installed bathtub faucet is malfunctioning, it may be of low quality. If the installed faucet has started to leak or stopped diverting the water from the tub spout to the shower after it was purchased and installed, this most often indicates that the device is of low quality. Your best option here is to replace it with a better one.
If the faucet is older, the parts and materials are probably obsolete. Older faucets most likely have failed rubber seals. These seals fail quicker than those made of silicone, although water quality can also directly affect the faucet's lifespan.
If you're handy and well researched, it's entirely possible to repair a faucet yourself – you need the right parts and tools. Remember, the lifespan of a faucet is from 15 to 20 years. If your faucet is older than that, you may want to change it.
The limescale has created a film on the lifter rubber, meaning the spring doesn't return all the way or the seat is compromised, so the rubber can't close all the way. If the eraser is cleaned or replaced, the faucet will operate normally.
It would be best if you also determined where the faucet is leaking. If you find the problem, you can decide whether you want to fix it or replace it altogether. Water can leak from different parts of the faucet; if it leaks from under the valve, this usually indicates that the rubber seals are worn. You can locate the seals under the handle of the faucet.
If a leak is seen from the nozzle, it means that the handle box has worn out and its edges have stopped blocking water flow. In this case, replace the part of the handle that failed.
Types Of Faucets
There is a diverse range of faucets, but most differ only in external parameters. All can be divided into several larger groups: purpose, type of construction, method of attachment, material, and performance.
Kitchen faucets are designed for installation above the sink. The specificity of the room places unique demands on the quality of the plumbing. Because the kitchen faucet is used regularly, plumbing fixtures must be durable and reliable, made from wear-resistant materials.
Bathroom faucets are designed to be placed above the bathtub or sink. Structurally, these are both more complex and more expensive. Plumbing fixtures in the bathroom are also used regularly but have an additional factor that affects the wear rate. Increased levels of humidity in the room. Thus, the possibilities that arise in designing bathroom faucets are far more expansive than for the kitchen.
Shower faucets are significantly different from ordinary faucets. These have complex devices and capabilities that come with a high price. There are also variations of the standard hand shower with flexible hose and interchangeable nozzles as with other faucets. These required a quality cartridge that directs water to the desired element with one turn of the regulator.
Bidet taps are part of the bathroom for intimate hygiene. Intense pressure is not required here, but it is important to regulate the water temperature accurately and quickly. The device is characterized by a smooth adjustment of the head, the ability to change the jet's direction from the spout, and an aerator's major presence. The function of the aerator is to spray water.
Furthermore, faucets can be divided according to their exterior design. There are classic faucets with one or two separate handles but hot and cold water coming from the same faucet. Equally, some taps contain a cap for cold water only – such faucets cannot heat and do not consume hot water.
Modern sensor faucets contain a sensor that activates with movements. Such taps may also include a handle for mixing hot and cold water. Thermostatic faucets have become very popular for installation in shower enclosures, as they maintain the same temperature during the shower and thus save water and energy. Such a faucet limits the water temperature, thus avoiding potential damage to the body due to too hot water.
Should I Repair or Replace a Broken Faucet?
You can solve many issues with faucets, often in a cost-effect manner, by replacing individual parts. If your faucet is leaking, this means that the internal parts have worn down. However, that doesn't mean that the faucet needs to be replaced immediately – it usually means that you need to replace the O ring or clean the valves.
If you have an irregular water flow, there's a problem with an aerator or the cartridge. In most cases, you can call a professional to inspect the problem and quote the cost of fixing it. Low water pressure could also indicate a problem with an aerator or the cartridge.
You might want to replace the faucet if it's too old. It's also most cost-effective if you've done many repairs and it's still causing problems. After all, getting a new, quality faucet can save you from future costs.
How much does faucet repair cost?
The cost of repair depends on whether you want to do it yourself or plan to call out the plumber. A plumber usually sets their price based on labor and materials. The average cost of repairing a faucet is around $200 for heavier repairs. This price also depends on the problem, how many faucets you need to repair, and how long ago the problem appeared.
The most common problems are clogged drain, broken pipes, dripping faucets, and sink surface problems. Each one of these problems carries different factors to be considered in the repairs.
If your drain is clogged, most plumbers set the price from $150 to $200. Clogged drains usually occur in bathroom and kitchen sinks, so you might want to try fixing it yourself first using boiling water, baking soda, or a plunger. Don't use harsh chemicals, as these can damage the drain and pipes.
Repairing the pipes can cost around $150. Most plumbers set the cost at an hourly rate, often around $60. The most expensive pipe repairs occur when the pipes between the wall and the sink are damaged, where you have to cut through the wall to access the pipes.
To stop a dripping faucet, the average cost for a plumber is around $100. This price can be higher depending on the cause of the drip. As this problem is so common in most households, you may want to fix it yourself. Replacement parts also vary in price. Aerators, for example, can cost from $5 up to $20, depending on quality. If you can, buy the highest quality parts, as they can last a lifetime.
How Much Does a New Faucet Cost?
If you plan to call out the plumber, the cost of installing a new faucet can go up to $300. Most plumbers have to account for the cost of both labor and materials. Some will charge $200 just for the labor, meaning that the materials add to this cost. Materials, such as certain parts for the faucet, cost around $50 – but when buying quality materials, plumbers can spend up to $200.
The price of the parts also varies depending on the quality. If you call a plumber, you'll want high-quality materials to replace the originals. For example, cartridges can range from $40 up to $200.
The most expensive cost is when installing a kitchen faucet. For labor and materials, this cost can range from $260 to $480 if you don't need upgrades to your plumbing. Kitchen faucets are usually more extensive and more expensive than bathtub faucets, but they also usually have more features.
The price depends not only on the quality of the faucet but its design. People with deep sinks have opted for a pull-down faucet, a built-in hose that allows them to pull the faucet deeper into the sink. This type of faucet typically costs between $150 and $200. Simple faucets with knobs and levers, as you see in bars, are the cheapest; they come in at between $50 and $100.
Bathroom faucets are the cheapest to install. The price for labor and materials ranges from $100 to $150. Again, this is the average price if you don't need additional work done on the plumbing. Installing the kitchen faucet and the bathroom faucet can take 30 minutes up to one hour, plus the half-hour it usually takes to remove the existing faucet.
Bathroom faucets can have knobs, levers, and crosses. These are also the cheapest types of faucets. Faucets with knobs or levers cost from $100 to $150, but the crosses cost around $200. Joystick faucets have become popular because of their modern design. Most are priced very high, between $400 and $600, but some joystick faucets cost around $200.