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Resources for Repairing Faucets August 25, 2008

Posted by FaucetMaster in Repair.
Tags: , , , , , ,
8 comments

The faucet leaks, has an annoying squeal, you broke the refill bottle on the soap dispenser – How can I answer all of these questions best?  Best way to start is listing out the top manufacturers or other resources I know available online for repair.  Think of it as a directory listing for where to look next to get your answer. If I miss something on here – leave a comment and I’ll try to answer and/or update this post.

Manufacturer Resources
Those that brought the faucet out of the ethers (or at least brass & finish vapours) and manufacturered it, know best about what makes it tick..  Or pour.  Ticking faucets are bad.

They usually have a staff of tech support agents to help you find: A. What model you have and B. What part you need to fix that model.  Those are the two big steps in fixing any faucet.

** Tip!  If you have or find out the model number of your faucet, store or download & print your instruction manual and parts explosion and keep it in a ziplock bag under your faucet sink.  Should you need it again, you need not go through much trouble.  And if you sell your house, the buyers will think you are awesome :).

Delta Faucet Co.
Delta faucets are one of the most popularly used.  Good for expense, but they range in a selection of durability.  They are also well known for using the “seats and springs” (part number RP2993) technology.  They’ve always had great tech and warranty support.  I recommend the website and phone support.
Website: www.deltafaucet.com
Phone: 1-800-345-3358
Email: customerservice@deltafauct.com
Purchase parts directly?  – No
Alternate Online Parts Website: deltaparts.faucetdirect.com

 

Moen Inc.
Moen has a wide variety of faucets, not to mention matching accessories (called CSI – no, not the show!).  Moen also is known for having only three main shower valve types: Positemp (no volume control), Moentrol (w/ volume control), and ExacTemp (thermostatic – temp only, needs seperate volume control).
Website: www.moen.com
Phone: 1-800-289-6636 (BUY-MOEN)
Email: Unknown – http://www.moen.com/contact.cfm?location=TopNavCustomerSupport
Purchase parts directly?  – Yes: http://www.moen.com/buymoen/buyparts/index.cfm
Alternate Online Parts Website: http://moenparts.faucetdirect.com

Price Pfister
Part of the Black and Decker family, along with Baldwin Hardware (door locks), Kwikset, Dewalt, etc.  Decent selection of faucets, but a touch more economical (IMHO).  Also, often used as builder models in past.  I have these in their triple-handle shower variety in a 1960’s house.
Website: www.pricepfister.com
Phone: 1-800-732-9238 (PFAUCET)
Email: Unknown – (really long link that wouldn’t fit)
Purchase parts directly?  – No
Alternate Online Parts Website: http://pricepfisterparts.faucetdirect.com

Kohler
Oh-la-la!  Nothing says ‘shiek’ (or expensive) like Kohler.  They have a huuuuuuge selection of everything from faucets to fixtures (tubs, toilets, sinks) to furniture, accessories – even generators!  If you want the entire bathroom to be in one matching line by a single manufacturer, you’ll probably go Kohler.
Website: us.kohler.com
Phone: 1-800-456-4537 (4KOHLER)
Email: Unknown – http://www.us.kohler.com/general/contact.jsp
Purchase parts directly?  – Yes: http://www.kohlerserviceparts.kohler.com/
Alternate Online Parts Website: http://kohlerparts.faucetdirect.com

Well, these are the big 4, but there are tons of others.  Comment if you need someone else, and I’ll hunt them down and add them to the post for future browsers.

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Deposits On Your Faucets? August 24, 2007

Posted by hipster in Lavatory Faucets, Repair, Shower Systems.
1 comment so far

Calcium deposits, white flakes on your beautiful finish; what can you do? Well the answer is fairly simple.  Vinegar.  The vinegar is acidic enough to eat through the white film but not your finish. You are going to need:

·        Water

PH Scale·        Vinegar

·        A soft bristled toothbrush.

 

You need a mild acid to get rid of the calcium deposits.  Soap would be a good choice, because it has a low pH of 6.  The problem is soap actually chemically reacts to the minerals in the water and is the cause of that film. Vinegar’s pH is usually between 2 and 3.5.  Water has a pH of 7 and the lower the pH the more acidic the product is.

 

Now you aren’t going to scrub straight vinegar onto your faucets.  You’re actually going to dilute it down to about a cap full for a cup of water.  If you want to do a really thorough job, use filtered water. Also, don’t forget to test the mixture on a concealed part of the faucet, and its better your mixture be too weak than too strong.

 

This trick can be used to clean your shower heads.  The scum and calcium build up is the number one killer of shower heads, so a regular soak isn’t a bad idea.  There are lots of little problems some vinegar water can solve.

What tools should you use? August 22, 2007

Posted by hipster in Lavatory Faucets, Repair.
1 comment so far

Be sure to begin your project on the right foot, by using the right tools. Here are a list of tools and why they help.

Pipe Wrenches: They are designed just for plumbing problems and are far superior compared to a normal wrench when dealing with plumbing. When you are using a pipe wrench take a towel and wrap it around the pipe you are working with. That way it won’t get scratched up.

Plumbers Tape: Plumbers tape or silicon tape is a tape you will wrap around the threads of your pipe. It will make sure you get a water tight seal on your connection. Pull and wrap the tape two to three times around the male threads of a pipe and then screw it into place.

Auger: What do you do if you have a leak? Use the right tools. An auger is more commonly referred to as a pipe snake. It removes and breaks up clogs in your line. Also, at about $30 for the basic auger, it might be a good idea to pick one of these tools up, just in case a punger can’t cut it.

Tube Cutter: It does what it name implies. It cuts tubes. If you need to adjust a pipe or cut a pipe, these little pieces will do the job. Sometimes designed shaped like a “C” you simply roll your hand over it and the tube gets cut. These cuts are always clean and straight if you use the tool correctly.

Detection Device: The big daddy. About ten thousand dollars will get you a snaking device that can help you detect leaks, clogs and all sorts of plumbing abnormalities. This is no do-it-yourself tool, but neat to look at anyways.

While you are using your tools remember safety. Always pull the wrench, don’t push, last thing you need is your hand in a wall. Also, don’t use a wrench to lift or bend a pipe, they have another specialized tool for that, it’s called a pipe bender.

One of the beautiful things about plumbing, especially when considering bathroom faucets is that it’s so easy. Anyone who has used a garden hose can fix a faucet for the most part. If you do get stumped though, don’t be ashamed; get a professional to help you out. That’s what they are there for.

How To Clean A Brushed Nickel Faucet July 13, 2007

Posted by FaucetMaster in Lavatory Faucets, Repair, Roman Tub Faucets, Shower Systems, Tub & Showers.
Tags: , , ,
227 comments

Kohler Devonshire Brushed Nickel Faucet 

With EasyOff and Sandpaper!  Err.. No.  I know it’s tempting, especially with those hard-water deposits.  White gunk so calcified it might look like a excavated fossil, not your bathroom sink faucet.  Or just all splotchy with finger and smudge-marks…  Why does brushed nickel show that so much?  Yech.

What to use? 

#1 – Avoid anything that you would use on the floor or oven.  If you have to get decked like you are going to be conducting chemical warefare with rubber gloves and a face-mask, you’re sure to ruin the nice finish (not to mention the warranty).  Also, some basin/tub cleaners are caustic or acid/ammonia-based, and can harm brushed nickel (read the bottom of this post for more).

#2 – Try a simple soap (dish-soap), a clean rag (not from the work-shop please) and water.  These are usually soft enough to remove finger-smudge marks, which Brushed Nickel is most prone to.  Avoid using scented hand-soaps as these might leave additives or have things like scrubbing-grit.

#3 – The drain parts of a faucet (called the “pop-up” drain) that have matching trim also often need to be cleaned.  Since these usually has water deposits, softer cleaners like Bon-Ami, Barkeeper’s Friend, Zud or Soft Scrub might be good.  Again – beware of anything that is made for harder substances like tile or flooring.

#4 – Do not use scratch-pad sponges like Brillo or steel wool.  These can take almost anything off of steel, but can take the finish patina or protectants – even the nickel, off the faucet.  Soft cloth please!

Why be so careful?
I’m glad you asked!  Most often decent big-brand faucets (like Moen, Delta, Price Pfister, Kohler) have “Lifetime” warranties on the faucet’s finish and function.  They will cover if the finish suddenly starts peeling, but only if a corrosive substance isn’t involved (Ooops, I used Liquid Plumber on the pop-up drain – not covered).  Using those will void that, and admittedly, most DO have a pretty decent warranty department.  Delta Faucet was one I dealt with frequently and they had a fast response.

So, there is the warranty to consider, but also the finish itself.  Each brand has it’s own special finish that they tout will last for “all-time”.  Delta’s is called “Brilliance“, Kohler is “Vibrant“, Moen’s “LifeShine“, and Price Pfister’s “Pforever Pfinish” (they like “Pf’s” – sorry, I’d link that one too, but their site doesn’t have the info). 

What it comes down to, is most of these have a cool PVD finish, which is Physical Vapor Deposition.  This is technobabble for the finish was put on atom by atom (ya, thats a tight bond).  Chances are it won’t PEEL (or crack, chip, etc).  But it might tarnish, fade, etc.  Most of these have a simple seal on them to protect against all the abuse that comes about on a bathroom sink.  Those harsh chemicals can take off that off that protective layer.

http://www.faucetdirect.com/index.cfm/page/product:display/productId/3026/manufacturer/Herbeau/categoryId/64/finish/Weathered%20BrassFaucets that have a vintage or or old-world look or finish be warned – These might have a “living finish”.  They are supposed to tarnish, patina, mottle or fade due to air/moisture exposure.  So cleaning them may take them back to the original base metal, but that may be up to you and you’re preferences.

Lastly, be careful of the internal parts.  Soaking the faucet with rubber or plastic corrosive chemicals can break down pieces that keep the faucet from going BLOOEY.  This includes the crunchy bits like seats (o-rings), valves, or even some basic silicone that may have been used for lubricant for smooth movement (I can’t use a pun here that wouldn’t get me in trouble).

So, you need to clean your faucet.  What do you do?  WHAT DO YOU DO?  If you have the instruction manual (yeah, right), that almost always has a “Care and Maintainence” section.  Failing that, most manufacturers have websites that have the info posted.  What it comes down to is you can use simple soap and water, but if you use something harsher beware of not damaging the finish, warranty and/or internal parts.

Update (9/29/08)
With the recent comments, I am updating this post with more info on specific cleaners to avoid, and things you can look for to see if that cleaner is safe.  NOTE: As most cleansers can change their formula, it’s hard to say “just use this!” so I’ll try to stick to those things that don’t really change, like white vinegar.

Chemicals/Cleansers to avoid using on Brushed Nickel: Delta Faucet states in their FAQ to avoid abrasives and polishes, including bleach-based cleansers.  They specifically state to avoid Scrubbing Bubbles, Lysol Basin Tub, Soft Scrub and Tile Cleaner (avoid on the brushed nickel – it probably works just fine on tile/tubs/sinks).  Beware product that say they “remove rust or tarnish” – those containing hydrofluoric, hydrochloric and/or phosphoric acids, anything with caustic agents (usually mentioned in the warning sections of the product). 

Kohler mentions to avoid anything with ammonia, bleach or acid.  Kohler also suggests considering Windex Original (has “Ammonia-D”?), Fantastic Antibacterial Heavy Duty (avoid the Bleach version!), Comet Bathroom Cleaner (Comet has citric acid – 6%). 

Moen doesn’t suggest anything specific other than 50/50 of white vinegar and water, and a soft cloth.

If I did not mention it before – never use a “Brillo” or other scratch-pad sponge.  It’ll get burnt stuff off the bottom of a pan and will remove any protectant if not the actual nickel off the faucet.

Bathroom Faucets at Last! July 13, 2007

Posted by FaucetMaster in Repair.
11 comments

Well, here goes :).  Writing about bathroom faucets – you know it will be a thrilling ride, lol.  Why am I doing this? Well, we all have questions and I find I often have a lot of answers in this area.  I’ve answered product questions, technical questions, repair questions, talked to manufacturers directly, been trained, even run a website dedicated to the sale of faucets.

 I freely admit I will even link to them. Many times. Oh so many.  Why?  Because I like the site, I know it, and every blog needs consistancy, right?  Sure..

 Anyway, I hope to be posting answers to peoples questions, solving those burning needs where people type in a question like “how to fix a leaking faucet” to Google, and my modest blog comes up.  That would kick butt, lol.  Will I make money off this?  Meh, maybe.  If I ever figure out how to put ads up (if I get to that point), maybe you’ll click on them?  Please?  Pretty please?  Well, I’ll beg later…

SO! Onto the wonderful world of Bathroom Faucets.  Please comment, question, mock, rant or otherwise comment on my ramblings.

-FaucetMaster (yes, it’s corney I know)