College Of Product Knowledge: Residential Faucets
The College Of Product Knowledge ran in Supply House Times for three years and resulted in a reprint manual that sold for many years to follow, totaling thousands of copies. It became something of an industry classic. Much of the original training material is still applicable to the products sold today -- but there is also much in the wholesalers' product mix that is new since then. The purpose of this updated series is to look at what has come along since the first edition.
Faucet MechanismsDuring the last 20 years, we've seen a shakeout in terms of faucet mechanisms used in this country. The types of valving most popular back then are still the leading ones today, but several lesser technologies have dropped from the scene. Among the surviving types, the division of market share has shifted somewhat, with the most significant gains being made in ceramic categories. (Ceramic's biggest gains have come in replacing discontinued technologies.) A bit of terminology confusion has evolved in this department, with washerless often used as a category separate from ceramic. Sometimes it seems to imply the specific technology of rubber seal shearing types -- sometimes the broader range of "everything that isn't compression or ceramic." Logic would seem to say that ceramic would fall under a term like washerless as well, but why should we start letting logic dictate our plumbing-speak now?
Here's what the common options in faucet valving look like today:
Kitchen Faucet ModelsOur focus on specific faucet models will be the kitchen varieties, where we have seen more innovation than anywhere else in the home.
The primary advantage of this concept involves more than just a cleaner, more compact look. A conventional separate spray provides only that: a spraying device on the end of a flexible hose. The integrated approach offers one more function: the choice of a spray or an aerated stream. The latter offers "splashless" rinsing as well as the ability to fill containers beyond the reach of a conventional spout. Another advantage over the conventional side spray is the function of "hands-free" rinsing while the sprayhead remains in its receiver.
Faucets To Serve Drinking Water NeedsAs water filtration has become more popular in the home, several trends in water delivery have emerged.
(1) Faucets With Dual Delivery: This type features an extra handle or button for delivering water from an undercounter filter. To accomplish this, it is made with a "spout within a spout" to keep the two types of water separate right out to the point of discharge. Containing no filtration component of its own, it can be used with any undercounter filter or reverse osmosis system. Proponents of this approach cite the advantage of flexibility of filtration technology (using any system desired), as well as higher capacity for less frequent changing of elements.
(2) Faucets With Integral Filter: This type of faucet goes one step further by including an integral filter cartridge in the spout or base. Typically, these models have a button located toward the end of the spout for delivering drinking water through a small discharge nozzle separate from the regular aerator outlet. Producers of this type will tell you that in addition to providing a clean and compact solution to the functions provided, it allows quick and convenient servicing of the filter cartridge.
Commercial-Style Kitchen FaucetsThe growing popular use of commercial equipment in residential kitchens has carried some plumbing items along.