Due to the high level of use, kitchen faucets can wear out and develop issues such as mineral deposit build-up, rust, and leaks. While it’s possible to replace parts of the faucet to extend its life, repeated repairs may indicate the need for a new faucet. Additionally, some people choose to replace their faucet for aesthetic reasons or to upgrade to a new style. To ensure a successful purchase, it’s important to research faucet products and consider various features and factors. In this article, we will explore how to buy a kitchen faucet.
Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Kitchen Faucet
If you notice a leak, non-stop drip, or mineral buildup on your kitchen faucet, it’s important to investigate the cause of the problem to determine whether to repair or replace the fixture. In some cases, replacing the O-ring or cartridge can fix a leak and is a less expensive option than replacing the entire faucet. However, if the faucet continues to leak despite replacing these parts, it’s better to replace the fixture. Mineral buildup is often caused by hard water in the home, and replacing the faucet won’t solve the underlying issue. To prevent mineral buildup on a new faucet, consider installing a water softener before replacing the old fixture.
If you want your kitchen faucet to last for a long time, approximately 15 to 20 years, proper maintenance and care are necessary. To make the best decision, it’s crucial to understand the different product features and factors that can affect your choice, including the finish, sink configuration, and flow rate.
Flow Rate (GPM)
When searching for a new kitchen faucet, it’s important to consider the flow rate of the fixture. Flow rate, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), refers to the amount of water that flows through the faucet within a minute. In the past, older faucets had a higher average flow rate of about 2 GPM, but with water conservation efforts, most faucets now have a flow rate of 1.8 GPM or less.
It’s essential to check your local building codes to determine if there are flow rate limits in your area before buying a new faucet. Some areas require the installation of a low-flow faucet with a maximum flow rate of 1.5 GPM. Although low-flow faucets take longer to fill up pots or buckets, they can help reduce your water bill.
The location where you will install the faucet is almost as important as the faucet itself. If you are installing a new sink, you can select the appropriate sink configuration while searching for a faucet. However, if you already have a sink, you must determine the sink’s configuration before choosing a new faucet.
Sinks may have one hole for both the hot and cold water line, or they can have over four different holes for the cold water line, hot water line, faucet bracket, soap dispenser, or an independent hole for a pull-out sprayer. To find a suitable faucet, examine your sink to determine how many pre-drilled holes it has. Additionally, keep in mind that many faucets come with covers or faceplates that can be used to hide extra pre-drilled holes in the sink. It is not recommended to drill additional holes in the sink to accommodate a faucet if the sink does not have enough holes.
When searching for a new faucet to match the current style or improve the kitchen’s aesthetic, there are a variety of faucet finishes to consider. Chrome is a popular choice because it is easy to clean and complements the sink’s color, making it a good option for most kitchen aesthetics. Stainless steel is often used in refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and even toasters, making it a good choice if you want a finish that matches your appliances. For those who want a standout kitchen faucet, premium finishes such as nickel, platinum, pewter, or matte black may be preferred.
Kitchen Faucet Types
Faucet types vary not only in finish but also in style, with different numbers of handles and varying spout sizes and shapes. There are several options available, such as single-handle, double-handle, touchless, stationary spouts, pull-down spouts, pull-out spouts, straight spouts, and gooseneck spouts.
- Single-handle faucets: Single-handle faucets are advantageous in that they occupy less space than double-handle faucets and usually require fewer pre-drilled holes in the sink. However, adjusting the flow and temperature of the water with a single handle faucet can be more challenging than with a double-handle faucet.
- Double-handle faucets: Double-handle faucets offer better control over the flow and water temperature as they allow the user to adjust the hot and cold water separately. However, they require more space compared to single-handle faucets and aren’t compatible with sink configurations that have only one pre-drilled hole.
- Touchless faucets: Touchless faucets eliminate the need for users to turn a tap or lift a lever to activate the water flow, which is particularly helpful when hands are dirty. While this feature is convenient, touchless faucets are often more expensive than other options.
- Stationary spout faucets: Faucets with stationary spouts can swivel horizontally, but they do not have a sprayer that can be pulled down or out. Instead, these types of faucets may come without a sprayer, or they may have a separate sprayer that is mounted to the side of the faucet.
- Pull-down spout faucets: Faucets with a pull-down spout have a sprayer built into the fixture that can be pulled down from the faucet head on a hose. When the sprayer function isn’t being used, the spout acts as a stationary spout. After use, the hose retracts back into the faucet.
- Pull-out spout faucets: Pull-out spout faucets are comparable to pull-down spout faucets, but they have a longer hose and shorter spouts. Like pull-down spout faucets, they have a built-in sprayer that can be pulled out from the faucet head, or it can be used as a stationary faucet when the sprayer isn’t needed.
- Straight spout faucets: Faucets with straight spouts have a horizontal extension from the faucet body. Their length varies, making them suitable for either small single sink configurations or larger double sink setups.
- Gooseneck spout faucets: Faucets with gooseneck spouts feature a vertical extension from the body of the faucet that curves downward, resembling the neck of a goose. While these faucets have a unique look, they require more clearance above the sink due to their high arc design. If you have low-hanging cabinets, this style may not be the best option for your kitchen.
The cost of installing a new kitchen faucet can differ substantially, based on whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional plumber. If you possess the necessary skills and tools to set up the kitchen faucet, your only expense would be purchasing the faucet, which can range from approximately $50 to $2,000.
If you lack the skills or tools to install a faucet yourself and are looking to minimize installation costs, it is suggested that you consider a basic stationary straight spout faucet with a chrome or stainless steel finish.