The replacement and installation of a kitchen faucet are now within everyone’s reach thanks to technological developments that have led to the introduction of single-lever faucets, that is to say, operated by a single mixer, which has almost completely replaced the old double-lever taps (i.e. equipped with two separate knobs for cold and hot water).
If the installation of the latter requires the intervention of a plumber, this is not the case for single-lever faucets: the operation is simple enough to be carried out successfully even without specific skills. Besides technology, the design has also made great progress: the number of styles, shapes and colors from which we can choose is vast and offers a suitable solution for any furnishing,
It is clear, however, that we cannot rely solely on style when choosing our new kitchen faucet. There are certain aspects that we must take into consideration that are directly related to our desires, our habits in the kitchen: kitchen and the features of our sink.
As trivial as a faucet may seem, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone is doing the same things, because they are not. A valve can have several characteristics that allow it to perform certain specific functions.
In recent years, a trend borrowed from professional kitchens has been to integrate a sliding shower into kitchen faucets.
From a stylistic point of view, this translates into different solutions: the hand shower can be an integral part of the faucet, so that there is only one water outlet, or it can be an element: separate, the second outlet in addition to the fixed outlet.
The usefulness of the hand shower is revealed in washing dishes, or the sink itself, or fruits and vegetables: thanks to it, we can bring water comfortably where we need it, instead of bothering to run dishes or vegetables under the stream of water.
Some high-end models, called thermostats, are distinguished by the presence of a temperature limiter. You will certainly burn your hand if you put it under the hot water jet: a thermostatic tap is used to prevent this.
The temperature limiting system consists of a special thermostatic valve that allows you to set the desired maximum temperature: in fact, on these kitchen faucets, there is usually a graduated button dedicated to temperature selection.
Jet Airplane Regulations Another great feature is the water jet setting. We are not, of course, referring to the ability to adjust the intensity of the water flow that all faucets have, but rather to the ability to change the jet itself.
Some models, in fact, in addition to the normal homogeneous or column jet that we are all familiar with, include the possibility of switching to a shower jet, that is, separated into several finer jets.
The spray setting is again useful for washing vegetables and fruits, especially the softer and more delicate ones.
In general, a faucet receives and mixes (hence the alternative name of “mixer”) two water pipes, one cold coming directly from the waterworks and one hot from the boiler of the house. If, however, we have installed or want to install a water purifier, we will need a kitchen faucet designed to handle three lines: the two standard lines plus a third from the purifier.
It allows you to choose when to use water taken directly from the system and when to opt for purified water: this is useful especially if we live in a place where the water from the aqueduct is not drinkable (a rare case in fact) or is particularly hard, that is to say, rich in lime deposits.
One aspect that can come to be underestimated and then regret is the size of a kitchen faucet. This is especially true for the height, which must be taken into account especially if our sink is installed under a window. The linear distance between the base of the faucet and its spout should not be overlooked either: given the size of the sink and the distance between the base and the sink itself, we will need a faucet with a spout. Is neither too far forward nor too far back from the middle of the tub.
When the kitchen sink is installed just below a window, the problem of the interaction between the faucet itself and the window frames can arise. A particularly tall faucet can in fact obstruct the opening of the window and, to remedy this, choosing a very low faucet can considerably limit the freedom of movement of objects in the sink.
Angled kitchen faucets is particular but efficient solution is the angled faucet. In these models, the mixer can indeed “extend” on the side as shown in the photo above so as not to interfere with the window and not forcing us to choose a lower and therefore less comfortable model.
Another elegant solution for under-window sinks is that of recessed faucets. These models can indeed fit completely into the kitchen worktop so that they flatten completely leaving only the arm with the beak outside. It is possible, if desired, to lock the vertical rod at the desired height.
Are materials important?
Absolutely for several reasons. The first and main concerns health: the water flowing in the tap is largely intended for food, that is to say, it will be used to wash dishes and cutlery, to clean food or to boil them. It is therefore essential that the kitchen faucet is made of metal alloys free from lead and other potentially toxic minerals: the most common alloys are brass and stainless steel.
Recently, the use of silicone has also become widespread for certain parts of the faucet, such as the neck of any pull-out spray: this material is durable, economical, non-toxic and resistant to rust while adding a touch of colour to the furniture.
In general, it can be said that brass kitchen faucets are considerably cheaper than stainless steel ones, mainly due to the different treatment that these two alloys require. Also, brass kitchen faucets are more versatile in terms of shapes and finishes. Let’s make a final note about the materials when it comes to single lever faucets only: the “heart” of this type of kitchen faucet is what is called the cartridge, the internal unit of the mixer that regulates the flow of water. Water.
The buffers inside the cartridge must be made of ceramic: this material, in fact, in addition to being very durable, is also particularly resistant to scale encrustation and therefore allows to maintain the operation of the mixer unchanged in time.
Is the brand important?
From a design standpoint, it may seem like there is no difference between a brand name kitchen faucet and a cheap faucet, but it is not. What cannot be deduced from external observation is in fact the quality and composition of the internal components: it is impossible to understand whether the quality and durable materials (metal) or more fragile and poorer (plastic) have been used, it is not clear whether the thickness of the metal used is such as to guarantee the strength or not, etc.
If desired, a rule of thumb to assess these aspects is to weigh the faucet in hand: the heavier models most likely use metal parts on the inside and have thicker walls. If possible, it is also useful to consult the technical brochure for information on internal components.
So what are the highest quality brands? The list mainly consists of the following names: Grohe, Hansgrohe, Ideal Standard, Hansa, Kludi and Paffoni. The kitchen faucets offered by Franke also deserve attention, while among economy brands, there are no substantial differences in the quality of construction and materials used.
Does the price matter?
As is easy to understand from all of the above, the price has some relevance when it comes to kitchen faucets: never like this one does assume that quality pays off. The price variability is considerable: it ranges from around € 30 for the cheapest models to over € 1,000 for a high-end faucet. The differences between these two extremes all lie in the quality of the product and its functionality: a good brand faucet with an innovative design, with pressure regulator, temperature limiter and high-quality construction costs much more than a cheaper model but, in the end, much less durable.
Frequently Asked Questions: Kitchen Faucets
How to disassemble the kitchen faucet?
We mentioned that at least to take apart and install modern single lever kitchen faucets, you don’t need to have a plumber (which is different for dual lever faucets). So let’s see what the simple steps to remove our old faucet from the sink with our hands are:
- Please turn off the water: before any intervention on the house’s plumbing system, it is essential to turn off the main tap to avoid leaks.
- Open the tap to drain the remaining water.
- Place a bucket or bowl in the cabinet under the sink to catch any water that remains in the pipes.
- Using a wrench, unscrew and disconnect the two water pipes (cold and hot) from the tap.
- Unscrew the pin bolt that holds the faucet to the sink.
- Remove the entire faucet block by carefully pulling the pipes out of the sinkhole
The old faucet, if it is defective or in any case if we do not want to reuse it elsewhere, cannot be thrown in the household trash: it must be placed in a bulky waste collection area in the appropriate metal trash can.
How to install the kitchen faucet?
It is also quite easy to install a new single lever faucet. The preliminary operation to be carried out is a thorough cleaning of the surface of the sink, to remove any deposits of dirt and rust left after removing the old mixer. For the rest, we will have to proceed as follows:
- Close the main water tap
- Place the rubber gasket at the base of the mixer.
- Insert the two pipes for the water connection into the hole in the sink
- Place the mixer in the desired position, ensuring that the lever has full freedom of movement.
- Position the second gasket or flange at the base of the locking pin
Thread the bolt to the pin, tightening until the faucet is secure. It is important to make sure that the mixer does not spin on itself when tightening and does not lose its position.