We use faucets a dozen times a day without ever really thinking about them. That’s not a big deal until there’s a problem and we need to get them fixed. Knowing a little bit about how faucets work puts you in a better position when a problem arises. Sometimes you can fix them on your own and sometimes you’ll need to call a professional plumber; knowing which way is the route to go can help save you both time and money. Normally you just turn on your faucets and the water comes out, but do you understand how that happens? A better understanding can help your learn how to fix your home’s faucets when they leak.
First you should be aware that there are two main types of faucets, which are identified by the number of handles. Two-handle faucets are commonly seen in bathrooms where there is a hot and cold handle but the water comes out of one spout. Single-handle faucets have only one handle to control the hot and cold water; kitchen faucets are frequently single-handle faucets. Once you’ve identified whether you have double or single-handle faucets, you can start getting into the guts of your faucet equipment. The next thing you should know is that there are four different kinds of faucets.
• Compression. If you remove the handle of your faucet (it should unscrew easily) and see a washer, you have a compression faucet. All of the other types of faucets are washerless faucets. Compression faucets work by squeezing (compressing) the washer to stop the water flow.
• Ball. Some Single-handle faucets rotate on a ball without a washer. You can easily see the ball when you take apart the faucet.
• Disc. Single-handle faucets may instead have a cartridge which contains ceramic disks inside; these slide against each other to control water flow. This is the latest in faucet technology.
• Cartridge. The cartridge is usually made of plastic. In some cases, it may be called a “stem” instead of a cartridge; usually stems are made of plastic also but some may be made of brass. The cartridge allows little effort to turn the water flow on or off.
If you need to repair your faucet, use parts from same name brand that it was built with. Delta, Elkay, Grohe, Kohler and Moen are five of the most common names to look for when replacing faucets. In some cases, you’ll want to replace the entire faucet with a new faucet; in that case, you can choose the name brand of your preference.
Faucets are something that we need to use every single day in our homes. Doesn’t it make sense to have a basic idea how they work so we can repair them if something goes wrong?