When you think of plumbing fixtures in your home, your faucets are probably one of the first things that comes to mind. For as long as our homes have had running water, they’ve needed something to control it, and that’s exactly what faucets do—provide you with a reliable flow of water when you need it, and then keep it contained and waiting when you don’t.
Today, there are many different types of faucets, with different technology enabling us to create fixtures that match nearly any aesthetic design, functionality, or other quality that you’re looking for. However, despite the fact that there may seem like a potentially infinite number of faucets on the market, the truth is the overwhelming majority can be easily classified into one of four primary types. In this blog, we’ll explain them, including how to identify them and how they work.
Ball faucets are a type of single-handle faucet that’s easily identifiable by the handle sitting on top of a ball-shaped cap on the top of the faucet spout. The single handle moves side to side to control the temperature, and lifts up to control the water flow. It’s this ball assembly, which has slots, O-rings, and spring-loaded rubber seals, which makes the faucet work. Because these faucets generally require a greater number of parts, including rubber parts that are prone to wear and corrosion, they do tend to require more maintenance and frequent repairs than other types of faucets. They do also tend to leak more, which means it’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure they remain in good condition.
This is the newest and perhaps the best type of faucet technology. Generally identifiable by their single-lever control and wide, cylindrical body, a disc faucet controls the temperature of the water with two ceramic discs at the bottom of the chamber inside. In this chamber, the hot and cold water mixes together, with the proportion of each being controlled by the side-to-side angle of the control lever. These are arguably the most reliable type of faucet you’ll find today, requiring very little maintenance and infrequent repairs. That being said, repairing the issues these faucets can have is tricky, and it’s generally advised that you trust a professional to get it fixed properly to ensure it continues to last.
Cartridge faucets and compression faucets are generally indistinguishable from one another until you feel how they work. Cartridge faucets are generally much smoother to operate than a compression faucet, with a consistent and smooth feel all the way across the twisting axis. A half-turn brings the faucet from off to the fully-on position, and then turns back off again without any added pressure or effort. Thus, a cartridge faucet generally has lever-style handles that are easy to grasp and turn as opposed to round, valve-style handles. They’re also generally lower-maintenance and more reliable than compression faucets, due to their cartridge design.
Compression faucets are also double-handle, which means the hot and cold water lines are controlled through their own handle to the side of the water spout. However, a compression faucet is usually pretty distinguishable in that they feel less pressurized as they turn on, and more pressurized as they close. This is because they function by using a glorified screw that pushes against a rubber washer to form a seal that shuts off your water. This is also why they’re frequently found with round knobs that are easy to turn a longer distance than the handles on a cartridge faucet. This is arguably the oldest faucet technology on this list, and one which has become easy to find and inexpensive. However, it’s also one that does wear out quickly and need repairs, as they start to leak rather quickly.
Got a faulty faucet? Let our Memphis plumbers get it fixed! Call Smith’s Plumbing Services at (901) 290-1110 today to request your appointment!