Bathroom faucets, like anything mechanical, will fail over time due to wear and failed components. When considering whether to repair or replace the faucet, you should take several things into consideration.
- Expected lifespan
- Current codes
- New technologies and innovations
- Personal preference (sometimes we just don’t like something)
Over the last 20 years the debate over repair vs. replace has become more relevant, as the overall quality of bathroom faucets has declined. The age old standard use of brass by manufacturers first switched to ceramic and now to plastic (nylon).
Some people are comfortable making these repairs themselves, while others would prefer the work be done by a plumber.If the bathroom faucet is plastic you are always better off replacing it with a high quality brass unit. If it’s a metal faucet with brass internal parts, it’s definitely worth repairing.
Delta makes high quality faucets but they will begin dripping after several years due to worn seats and springs. These are designed to be easily replaced, and for the most part Delta faucets all use the same spring and gasket kit. These can be acquired at the local hardware store for about $5. It is for this reason that we highly recommend Delta faucets.
Moen faucets and shower valves tend to drip after several years. In this case the entire cartridge generally needs to be replaced. If it’s a shower valve you will need a proprietary tool made by the manufacturer to remove and replace it. Since the tool adds to the expense of the repair and because most showers don’t have a separate shutoff valve, we recommend calling a plumber for shower repairs.
Price Pfister, American Standard, and Kohler will all eventually fail. You should be able to find many replacement parts available at your local hardware store.
Kohler, more so than all other brands tends to warranty all components of their faucet for a longer period of time, sometimes for the life of your faucet. Champion Plumbing has had good experiences contacting Kohler, explaining the failure, and receiving the repair parts free of charge. Many times, the replacement cost of said parts would have been over $100.00. We have always been pleased with Kohler for that reason, and recommend them over other brands in certain situations as the result.
One choice you will face when purchasing repair parts is whether to buy an OEM or generic part. There are many instances where the generic part will suffice, but several where they will fail in a short amount of time. It’s best to consult a plumber if you are not sure.
When replacing the valve stem on older 3 handle tub/shower valves, you will need to measure the length of the stem, and match the specifications in the book at the store. You will also need to match the appropriate spine with the corresponding letter to which it has been assigned. Following these steps will save you from making multiple trips to the store.
We do not recommend ever using any component described as “universal”, as they tend to fail at a much faster rate. This especially applies to handles which prematurely loosen and strip the threads.
If you’re struggling with leaky faucets give Champion Plumbing & Drain Cleaning in Canton, GA a call, and we’ll have them fixed in no time.