The Kitchen Faucet Evolves From Hardware To ‘Smart’ Design Feature

Kitchen Faucet | Waukesha WI | Schoenwalder Plumbing
A dark finish, gracefully-curved spout and pull-down spray make faucets like this one popular in both modern and traditional kitchens.

While the kitchen faucet remains a very basic tool, design and engineering elevate its performance beyond delivering water to the sink. When kitchen remodeling Waukesha WI your faucet options number in the dozens. You have everything from basic, old-fashioned models to the latest high-tech. Touchless on/off and Smart WiFi-linked control are available.

When you visit Schoenwalder’s Showroom you’ll be amazed at the number of faucets, their sizes, shapes and colors. Sorting through the options, modern faucets fall into several categories:

  • Pull-down faucets – these extremely popular models have tall necks, detachable spray heads and long hoses.
  • Pull-out faucets – very similar to the pull-down versions, these have shorter spouts and shorter hoses. Best suited for small secondary sinks or small kitchens.
  • Traditional fixed-neck faucets – considered “old-fashioned” by some, these offer pivoting spouts but no extension. Often coupled with and additional spray nozzle.

Kitchen sink faucets with extension hoses are popular because they make cleaning and rinsing the entire sink easier. In addition they make filling large pots or cleaning buckets possible.

Faucets are broken down further according to their control designs:

  • Single handle – a handle moving one way for hot water and another for cold.
  • Double-handle – separate controls for hot and cold water.
  • Touch on/off – using high-tech to turn the water on with a tap of the faucet.
  • Touchless faucets – featuring motion sensing technology. Or, in recent years, adding Smart technology to turn water on/off using voice commands.

Kitchen Faucet Favorite Features

Kitchen Faucet | Waukesha WI | Schoenwalder Plumbing
Let your imagination loose and bring the latest technology and design into your kitchen with a unique, glamorous yet functional faucet.

Cleaning and rinsing dishes before putting them in a dishwasher is a major use for any kitchen faucet. On top of that, providing plenty of water for efficient use of a garbage disposal is a priority. Pull-down and pull-out faucets have multiple spray configurations – from a steady stream to concentrated spraying action. Spray features provide extra pressure for rinsing while a steady flow is ideal for any filling chores and flushing the disposal. Thumb controls all triggering the spray only when it’s needed most – saving water.

The latest touchless fixtures have an automatic shutoff feature that closes the water flow after a prescribed time to save water. Technology improves these popular choices all the time, providing more sensitive sensors and better response to avoid accidental activation. Preventing an inquisitive cat from turning on the water is usually a plus.

Are touchless controls really necessary in your kitchen? How often do you turn on/off the faucet at your kitchen sink? If you’re health conscious, not having to touch the surface of the faucet is a benefit. If you are using the sink to repeatedly fill large cooking pots, consider adding a pot-filler fixture near your cook surface.

When it comes to control, single handles are the most advanced. They do two jobs at once. In addition, double handled installations are better at controlling water temperature mixing. However, the temperature difference is so slight, most people go to double-handle fixtures for looks rather than performance.

Not long ago a chrome faucet was the thing to have. It is still a popular finish, along with brushed stainless steel. However, unique colors and special metals have become popular throughout the kitchen. Your imagination sets the stage. There’s likely a fixture to match every décor theme.

Look Inside A Kitchen Sink Faucet

Inside each faucet a cartridge controls water flow. It is the single most important mechanical component. The cartridge, or stem, opens and closes to pathway for water flow. These vital pieces break down into two categories:

  • Single-function cartridges
  • Mixer cartridges

Single-function cartridges accept one water line each – either hot or cold. They are common in both single- and double-handle faucets that have just one water inlet. Inside them are either ceramic discs or compression presses. Ceramic discs are the most modern and efficient. Presses are relatively outdated and found mostly in retro and vintage designs.

  • Disc Cartridges – hold a pair of ceramic discs fitted to each other. When on rotates gaps on the other open to allow water to flow. These are sometimes called “quarter-turn” handles because they only rotate 90 degrees. The discs are precision-crafted to reduce friction and seal properly. Ceramic doesn’t wear out so these installations last a long time. While they don’t wear they are vulnerable to debris in water. Even the tiniest residues damage brittle discs.
  • Compression Cartridges – common in faucets with knob handles tightened to apply pressure and seal off water flow. They use traditional washers – which have to be replaced more often than and ceramic disc.

Dual-function, mixer cartridges control two water lines at the same time with just one lever. Unlike more common cartridges a mixer has a chamber that allows hot and cold water to blend before entering the spout. The two most common versions are:

  • Ceramic discs – working the same as in single-line systems except the discs have two openings; one for hot and one for cold water.
  • Ball valves – a similar design to discs they use multiple pieces. Some use plastic while high-end use more reliable brass. With multiple pieces they wear faster and are harder to replace.

Hard Water Takes A Toll On Kitchen Fixtures

Water in southern Wisconsin is considered “very hard.” That’s because minerals like calcium and magnesium are plentiful in the rock formations from which water is drawn. Hard water doesn’t, by itself, represent a threat to people or pets. But it does represent problems for hardware. Scale build-up, residue on fixtures and stress on hot water heaters to name a few.

Technology applied to creating high-tech faucets also addresses hard water. There is such a thing as a “hard water faucet.” High-tech faucets for kitchens plagued by hard water use ceramic sealed  surfaces to protect against residue and crusting.

The installation of a water softener goes a long way to protecting fixtures, appliances and plumbing throughout the house but a specialty faucet is an advantage in the kitchen. Check with your water treatment specialist at Schoenwalder Plumbing for the best game plan to take on hard water.

Select The Right Kitchen Faucet For Your Lifestyle

Most kitchen sink faucets are crafted from stainless steel or brass. They come with many finishes from powder-coated enamel to gold plating. Typical finishes are still chrome (high-gloss, satin or brushed) and antique brass. In addition, specialty finishes like gold plating and enamels in colors including white, black red and gray are gaining acceptance.

Plated metals often come with a factory-applied protective clearcoat to reduce tarnishing and stains. It makes cleaning and polishing easier, too.

Remodeling your kitchen is a big step. There are many variables to consider and decisions to make. When you’re ready to make a major change to your kitchen, contact Schoenwalder Plumbing – call, email of drop in. We have a showroom filled with examples of fixtures of every shape and size to make your dream kitchen a reality. Our skilled, licensed plumbing professionals are ready to help with planning and installation. We’re ready to provide the perfect kitchen faucet to put an exclamation point on your kitchen remodel in your Waukesha WI or Lake Country home.

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