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NEW PLUMBING TRENDS

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CHECK OUT THE REVOLUTION IN FAUCETS AND FIXTURES

When Arizona homeowners remodel their kitchens, it’s because they want an updated space with the newest, quality features and fixtures. When it comes to their faucets, it’s a safe bet that they will install a “touch” faucet.

A very popular product at Central Arizona Supply, according to Jeremy Smith, who manages the company’s eight showrooms, is the Brizo touch product from Delta: “It’s water-saving and easy to use. You just tap the faucet and you can stop or start the water.”

Customers also want bigger, taller kitchen faucets with a commercial look. “The kind of thing you used to only see in restaurant kitchens,” Smith says.

High quality touch faucets will cost from $700 to $900 with some costing as much as $1,300. “You can still buy a faucet for $100,” Smith said, “but it won’t look great and it won’t last long.”

McKenzie Dickman in sales support at Expressions Home Gallery in Gilbert told us that you can get a Moen “wave” faucet for about $500. The waves are faucets that turn on and off when you “wave” your hand in front of them.

Waves are still selling well, even though a lot of homeowners prefer the newer touch mechanism. Prices for all these products can vary because of discounts. 

Most faucets have batteries inside that control their functions. So, if the battery wears out, you can’t use the touch or the wave, but you can still operate faucets manually until you replace the battery.

When it comes to kitchen sinks, those are also changing as well. Installing a double sink with two “bowls,” including one used for washing dishes is out of style. Instead homeowners want just one very large sink with an “apron” front – just like the farm sink Grandma used to have. It’s hard to confuse the Scottsdale-Phoenix area with dairy country in Wisconsin or Minnesota, but this throwback sink style has caught on.

The bigger-size sinks have beautiful finishes and are much better for handling large pots and pans than the out-of-date double sinks. “And all the dishes and glasses go into the dishwasher anyway,” Smith said.

These sinks are usually undermounts. In bathrooms, undermounts are popular, too, mainly in white porcelain. “We’re seeing a lot of rectangular sinks and fewer ovals,” Smith says.

When it comes to bathroom faucets, black sells better now than bronze, while “golds” are returning. Polished chrome and nickel are still popular; in fact, chrome seems to be getting more popular.

Perhaps the biggest change in bathrooms may be the “commodes” – better known as toilets. All the newest toilets are extremely low flow.

“We have one that is 1.28 gallons a flush, and we also have a 1-gallon flush,” Smith said. “There are more contemporary styles with skirts so you can’t see where any of the toilet mechanism is located. We also have a top of the line Toto that is a toilet combined with a bidet seat.”

These combos are called “washlets.” The priciest Toto washlet ($10,000) has heated water, an air-drying system, and a UV light inside the toilet that can help kill bacteria. Less complex devices go for $300 to $1,500 for a washlet. You can also buy a “washlet” device to install inside your current toilet.

SHOULD YOU REPAIR OR SHOULD YOU REPLACE YOUR LEAKY FAUCET?

If your broken faucet is 10 years old, you’re better off replacing it than you are repairing it, some plumbers told us. After all after 10 years, the finish on your faucet starts looking bad. Many times a good faucet can cost about $250, while repairs can often range from $159 to $250.

A leak in a faucet is usually the result of a problem with the cartridge mechanism inside. Cartridges cost about $25 each and can last 20 years or more — a lot longer than the 50-cent washers that used to be inside faucets. You can install a new cartridge yourself, but it’s a trickier job than it was once upon a time. When you take the old cartridge out, be sure to take it with you to the hardware store so you can buy the right replacement.

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