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Understanding the components of fixtures in your home is beneficial in many ways. For example, it will give you a better understanding of how they work, making it a much easier task to fit or carry out minor repairs.
Knowing how your plumbing works will help you pinpoint potential issues and ultimately save money by being able to carry out work yourself without the expense of calling out a plumber.
This post will take you through what the different parts of a faucet are called and what they do.
Types Of Faucets
There are many types of bathroom or kitchen faucets available for you to choose from. The different types of faucets may have various parts of a faucet that others don’t have.
Here are some of the most common designs:
- Pull down kitchen faucet – Pull down kitchen faucets have a spray wand as a spout. This offers great flexibility and maneuverability for cleaning everything from dishes to pets.
- Pull-out kitchen faucet – This is similar to the pull-down faucet but differs as the body curves down. This offers 360° use.
- Single handle faucet – The single handle faucet uses one handle to control the temperature and pressure of the water delivered. This is done by lifting the handle and moving from side to side. You do sacrifice some temperature control with this option until you get used to it.
- Dual handle faucet – The dual handle faucet has separate hot and cold water handles and will require individual connections.
- Commercial style kitchen faucet – Commercial style kitchen faucets offer a modern look and are commonly found in professional kitchens. It will typically have a long flexible spot connected by a hose offering flexibility. This type of faucet is also regularly used in dog grooming.
- Separate spray kitchen faucet – Separate spray kitchen faucets offer the best of both worlds. You will find a traditional, fixed spout as well as a different spray that can be used by squeezing the trigger to divert the water flow.
- Pot filler kitchen faucet – Pot filler kitchen faucets are not as common as previous options but can be perfect for professional kitchens or people that regularly cook. They feature an extending arm that allows the spout to be moved further from the sink, making filling pots or buckets easier.
- Motion detectors – Motion detecting faucets deliver a flow of water when the sensor picks up movement below the spout. This is great for handwashing when you don’t want to get dirt on the fixtures or filling heavy pots when you don’t have a spare hand.
Parts Of A Faucet
The vast majority of people will have used a bathroom or kitchen faucet countless times without thinking about the components that make it work.
By looking at all the components that make your faucet, you will better understand how it works and how to diagnose specific problems with your plumbing system.
The first part we are going to look at is the aerator. This fits at the end of the faucet spout and is used to regulate the water flow. It mixes air into the stream and creates multiple small streams, reducing the volume of water needed without sacrificing pressure.
An aerator will help to improve efficiency and reduce your water bill. Regular maintenance and cleaning are required to ensure it does not get blocked or clogged up. There are different sizes of faucet aerators depending on what faucet you have.
An aerator is made of the following parts:
- Outer Casing – The outer casing of an aerator is threaded and can be attached to the faucet spout.
- Inner Housing – The inner housing of a faucet aerator fits in the outer casing, is usually made of plastic, and houses the smaller components.
- Aerator screen – Small mesh screens will stop grit, sediment, and mineral deposits and help to mix air into the water flow.
- Screen bushing – This secures the small screen in place.
- Rubber washer – The rubber washer helps to secure the bushing in place and secures the inner components.
- Mixer – Water passes through holes in a small disk, buffering the water and helping to protect the screen.
- Flow restrictor – The flow restrictor reduces and concentrates the water flow. This allows the same level of performance with less water wastage. Here’s a guide on how to remove the flow restrictor if you ever need to know!
The spout is probably the most noticeable and distinctive feature of the faucet. This is the part that the water flows from, and there are numerous designs of kitchen faucets that can complement any style or suit andy need.
Here are some of the more popular bathroom and kitchen faucet designs:
- Standard spout – A standard spout is the most commonly used and will be pretty straightforward in design. They typically rise a little from the base without any spray mechanism. Though they have a relatively basic appearance and straight spout, they are great value for money and perfect for anyone shopping on a budget.
- Gooseneck spout – Gooseneck spouts are also known as long loop faucet spouts and have a long spout that can swivel. This offers greater flexibility and allows you to fill pots more easily. They are often quite an eye-catching design that can add a bit of style to your kitchen.
- Pot filler spout – Pot fillers are a unique option that comes with an extendible spout, making it easy for you to fill large pots without having to try and maneuver them into your sink.
- Tub filler spout – The tub filler spout is the perfect design for bathrooms with bathtubs. The spout is the most common bathroom faucet choice, and the hot and cold water can be controlled by one or two handles depending on the model.
- Waterfall bathroom spout – A waterfall bathroom spout provides a thicker water stream and eye-catching design that is ideal for anyone looking for a more decadent look to their bathroom.
- Roman faucet spout – The Roman faucet spout can extend over the bath or rise like a gooseneck spout and is installed onto the tub surround rather than the tub wall.
Faucet spout assembly will differ in difficulty depending on the style of faucet you have chosen, as well as the brand and model.
Faucet Lever / Handle
The faucet handle or lever (also known as a tap) is how you will be able to control the temperature of the hot and cold water, as well as the pressure.
Individual handles or taps can be turned to allow the flow of water. The more they have turned, the more water comes out. Hot and cold water can be mixed to create the temperature you require if the water comes out of one spout. Individual hot and cold fixtures will not offer as much control in regards to temperature, and the water would then mix in the bathtub or basin.
A faucet lever will allow you to move it from side to side to dictate the temperature and lift it up and down to control the pressure.
Cartridge valves are used to control the flow and temperature of your water. The entire valve mechanism is contained within a cartridge, making it easier to replace.
Cartridge valves are not universal, so ordering from your faucet manufacturer is advised. They can be made of plastic, ceramic, or metal.
The faucet body is where the cartridge valve will be found. In mixer faucets, the hot and cold water is mixed in the body before flowing through the spout.
There are also bridge designs with two separate valves joined by a pipe that mixes the hot and cold water.
The last option would usually be found beneath a counter and has a wide body that needs three holes. It then mixes the hot and cold water like the bridge design.
The escutcheon is the mount used to attach your faucet to the countertop. This is designed to cover any holes and finish the overall look of your faucet. Escutcheons can be made of zinc, copper, brass, and steel and match the faucet material. Check out our full guide to know more: What is an escutcheon on a faucet?
The spray hose is found below your counter and supplies the water to the faucet. Moveable faucets and double sink bowls benefit from the moveable, flexible pipe as it allows your faucet to be moved as and when it is needed.
There are some common problems with pull down spray faucets that you should be aware of!
Read more: How to disconnect a Delta faucet hose
The mounting nut is a large nut that secures the faucet in place. If you find your faucet has become loose, it can be tightened below your sink.
The O-ring, gasket, or Adjusting ring ensures the faucet’s joints are fastened and fitted.
A washer is a small flat ring with a hole in the middle that creates a watertight seal between the kitchen faucet stems and the aerator.
Shut-out valves will typically be part of your cartridge valves controlling the water temperature and flow.
The hose guide protects the hose from being scraped and stops it from getting caught or stuck.
The sprayer allows you to spray water in order to clean with strong pressure and more flexibility.
The compression coupling connects fixtures or valves to two pipes.
The cold water supply system allows cold water to be diverted to where it is used. This can be to either an individual spout or, in a mixer, mixed with the hot water supply to create the perfect temperature.
Hot water supply
Like the cold water supply system, the hot water supply lines are diverted to where it will be used.
You will have a few choices when deciding on the material your new faucet will be made of. The style you want, as well as your budget, will also play a part. Here are some of the common materials used to make faucets.
A brass/lead alloy is quite common as it can make the fixture easier to cast. Though they look great and are long-lasting, lead can contaminate water.
You will not be able to purchase faucets in the US that contain any more than 8% lead by law. If you do choose a brass/lead alloy, running your tap for a few seconds before use is usually enough to flush it.
Stainless steel is another high-quality, long-lasting choice, but it can be expensive. Some fixtures go for a stainless steel finish but are actually brass-covered models. Always be sure to research the fixtures that you plan on buying thoroughly.
Plastic is a much cheaper option and can be designed to look like other materials but is much lighter.
Like plastic, zinc is a cheaper material, so it is ideal for anyone on a budget. They can be designed to look like they are made from more expensive materials.
Always remember, you might be able to save money in the short term by purchasing cheaper fixtures, but you may end up paying more, in the long run, replacing them.
Knowing bathroom or kitchen faucet parts will benefit anyone looking to understand a bit more about their plumbing system.
Even basic knowledge will help you to maintain your fixtures, diagnose potential problems, and decide when you will be able to fix a problem yourself or if you need to seek the expertise of a qualified plumber.