Faucets: Six Things to Know Before You Buy

May 05, 2014

Faucets: Six Things to Know Before You Buy

Installing a faucet can be a complete wash if you don’t take a few things into consideration when buying one. Whether you’re looking for a kitchen or bathroom faucet, familiarize yourself with these must know facts and your faucet set-up will look and operate like a pro installed it.

1. Count the Holes

Counting your sink’s existing faucet holes is paramount when replacing a faucet. For flawless installation, note how many openings are already there.

In the kitchen:

If your kitchen sink has more than three holes, you can choose from a two-handled centerset kitchen faucet or two-handled widespread kitchen faucet. Two handles are a plus because they give you more control over the temperature of your water.

Even if your sink has one opening, you still have choices. A single-handled kitchen faucet with one-lever that regulates temperature and flow works for this configuration, as well as a two-handled single hole faucet where the two handles are connected to the spout of the kitchen faucet. If you prefer a set-up with a spray, look for a pull-out/pull-down spray kitchen faucet. With this type, you simply pull the spray head from the spout.

If your kitchen sink has two or three holes, look for a single-handled kitchen faucet with side spray. These set-ups with side sprays are less expensive than the ones with a pull-out/pull-down spray and provide the same great reach around your sink.

In the bathroom:

It’s the same deal in your bathroom; you have to pay attention to what you already have.

If your sink has three separate holes, look at widespread faucets where the spout and handles are separate. Keep in mind that the space needed can vary between 8” to 16”.

Centerset faucets can come with one or two handles to control temperature and flow and are made for bathroom sinks with one opening.  With the centerset, the spout and handles are on a single base. With a standard spread of 4”, this type of faucet is perfect for smaller sinks!

2. Add Some Flair to Your Bathroom and Kitchen

Even with something as functionary as a faucet, you can express your sense of style. Faucets come in a variety of styles and finishes to coordinate with other decor.

If you’re into a modern look, shop for faucets with smooth sleek curves or geometric shapes.  Chrome and satin nickel finishes will also lend a clean, contemporary feel. Want to add warmth to your decor? Choose from brushed nickel, antique bronze, polished brass, oil-rubbed bronze or antique copper faucets. Or how about a pewter finish faucet that has a weathered, aged look of pitted metal for a vintage look? Cross handles are also an easy way to add a cool, vintage touch. Traditional touches can also be achieved with detailed faucets.

3. Ease of Use Let’s You Go With the Flow

Before buying a faucet, consider who will be using it. If you have children or elderly family members, choose a single-handled kitchen faucet. This type allows the user to control the temperature as well as flow adjustment with just one lever, and it’s easy to grip and turn. If you cook a lot, a lever handle faucet comes in handy, because you can easily turn it off with your elbow when your hands are covered with cooking ingredients.  For ease in the kitchen, look for tall, curved handles. They make it easier to fill pots with water

Touch-sensitive faucets are terrific for ease of use. Whether they have single or double handles, the water flow can be switched on or off with a single touch along the outside of the faucet spout.

4. No More Bottles

Save money on bottled water and separate water filtration systems. Kitchen faucets exist with a built-in water filtration system that makes it easy to filter your water and save you money in the long run.

5. Valve Facts

Compression valves have been used for a long time on faucets. You may remember the rubber or silicone washers that needed to be replaced every few years, because dripping would occur once the washer was worn. Fortunately, ceramic discs have pretty much replaced rubber washers and are less likely to fail and leak.

Some faucets use ball valves. These are washer-less so there’s less maintenance, and they’re also inexpensive and easy to replace.

A cartridge faucet operates with a movable stem cartridge that moves up and down to regulate the flow. These valves have a much longer operating life than other types.

6. Save Water

Spouts are either aerated or non-aerated. Because aerated spouts mix air with the water, the flow rate is lower than a non-aerated spout and less water is used. Look for faucets featuring the WaterSense® label. These faucets follow specifications set up by the EPA.

Touchless electronic faucets are also fantastic when it comes to saving water, because they automatically turn the water off when you move your hands away.

Installing a faucet may not be as simple as turning one on, but once you know a few facts, the water in your home will be flowing effortlessly.  


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