As with nearly every product-based industry today, it may seem like there’s a nearly endless number of manufacturers. Whether those be the major box stores, buying directly from an installer or the many e-commerce sites selling that particular product, sifting through all of these can seem daunting (and time-consuming!).
All of this methodology is no different when it comes to the plumbing world. If you read our blog post from a couple weeks ago that detailed different piping material used, you know that the plumbing industry has seen gradual advancements over the years. Some of the materials, like copper piping, have stuck around because they continue to prove their worth! On the flip side, we’ve learned of materials, such as lead and polybutylene, being capable of causing health risks and major headaches for homeowners! Nonetheless, the underlying message revolves around technological advancements. As innovation presents itself, the entire industry learns how different products or installation techniques create a better experience and one that lasts longer for homeowners.
Having said all of this, I wanted to approach this week’s blog post by analyzing when you should start considering fixture replacements in your house. At the same time, just knowing “when” is half the equation. You also need to be aware of where you can go to buy fixtures that fit your needs. A lot of this is dependent on how long you see yourself staying in that particular house! Without further ado, let’s get started with the “when.”
Signs Your Home Needs New Plumbing Fixtures
Making major replacements to your home is typically not one of the more enjoyable parts of owning a home in Kansas City. There’s a financial cost to it and not everyone gets as excited about unwrapping a sharp new Delta faucet as we do! In any case, understanding when you’re ready for new fixtures can save you more money than you’d think. The reason behind this is the fact that a faulty fixture can quickly cause a number of issues, including water damage. To stay prepared, be on the lookout for these signs that could signal a need for fixture repair or replacement:
If your fixtures aren’t efficient, then you’ll find yourself paying more on your monthly water bills. Even without having seen them in-person, I can guarantee this! More often than not, the reason for inefficient plumbing fixtures is solely a result of their age. As you might’ve guessed from the opening statement, an efficient plumbing fixture means it is using more water than it should need to. Luckily for homeowners, there have actually been laws passed to minimize the frequency of this occurring. Most notably, the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992 set “minimum efficiency standards for all toilets, showers, urinals and faucets manufactured in the United States after 1994. For example a low-volume toilet flushes at 1.6 gpf as compared to 3.5 gpf that was common for residential toilets” before this time period. To further press the issue, some states have taken it upon themselves to heighten the standards.
All in all, as a homeowner, it’s best to just take an overview of all your fixtures. Has your bathroom or kitchen been in need of an update? Does your water bill seem higher than it should be? If yes, it might be time for water-efficient plumbing fixtures!
Cracking or Rusty Fixtures
An easy tell-tale sign of a plumbing fixture that’s nearing its end is the actual physical state. Any time you have a fixture that may have a crack or showing considerable signs of rust, you’re looking at a future headache. For one, this is an easy way to spot a potential leak and secondly, this leak could quickly lead to future issues elsewhere. In short, if the physical state of a plumbing fixture isn’t good, get it replaced ASAP!
Water Pressure Issues
Before I get deeper into the topic of water pressure issues, it’s important to note that low water pressure can arise from a variety of sources. It isn’t always a result of faulty plumbing fixtures, although that’s a perfect place to start your investigation! Essentially, when you’re witnessing low water pressure, there is something blocking up the pipes preventing the full pressure from coming through. Hard water and mineral deposits usually contribute to this! An easy DIY way to tell whether or not you’ll need a fixture replacement is to take a careful look at it. Look underneath the spout to see if there’s any clogs. Sometimes, a proper cleaning is all it really needs! If this doesn’t resolve the issue, a replacement may be needed!
Where to Buy Your Plumbing Fixtures From?
Now that you know what the signs of faulty plumbing fixtures are, it’s time to break down where you can purchase some of these. After all, the last thing you want is to end up in the same position a year or two down the road, working on the SAME fixture you just replaced! As briefly alluded to in the introduction, you’re faced with three options: buy from a major box store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.), hire a Kansas City plumbing professional to purchase and install the fixtures, or order them from an e-commerce site. There are pro’s and con’s to each option. Some of them depend on how long you see yourself staying in the house, while others depend on your budget for the project.
Major Box Stores
There’s a reason why major box stores, like Home Depot, have been able to grow so big. They supply many name brand products that are more than capable of getting the job done. The only caveat is that these products are clearly made for mass production. Typically, these are made with plastic components, as opposed to the brass components that are featured in professional-grade products. For most, this will do the trick and can likely work perfectly fine for years. However, others might be in need of professional-grade products!
If you choose to look elsewhere from major box stores, your other option is to hire a plumbing professional or order directly from the manufacturer. This route is likely to come with a higher price tag than a box store, but it also is the perfect fit if you’re installing in your “forever home.” These professional-grade plumbing fixtures are built to last for the long haul and essentially change the entire look of your new kitchen or bathroom. One quick tip to keep in mind though is where the manufacturer is located at. With some European imported products, it can take over a month to have repair parts shipped in! If this is a deal breaker, it may be best to look for fixtures produced in the states. For more faucet-specific information in regards to manufacturers, check out our 2019 Faucet Guide here.
Need a Plumbing Professional in Kansas City?
My main goal behind this blog post was to educate current and future homeowners on what you should be looking for on your plumbing fixtures. In the long run, the investment of a water-efficient plumbing fixture is going to save you more than a faulty one creating water damage! If you ever have any questions about plumbing fixture repairs or replacements, don’t hesitate to give me a call at 816-348-3481. Whether that be just for advice on which fixture to purchase or need a free quote, we’re happy to help!
Our plumbing technicians have worked with a variety of manufacturers and can surely find a product that fits your needs! Stine-Nichols Plumbing works all throughout Kansas City and the surrounding cities!