Archive for November, 2009

Selecting Bathroom Hardware Fittings

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

I was standing in the bathroom fittings department of a large building supplier, and was pondering why one shower mixer cost $99 and another $347. Surely this could not all be down to the design elements – incidentially, the design of the $99 fitting was better than many at around $200.

So I asked the sales person and struck gold – he was so knowledgeable and willing to put in the time, even after I told him I was just in the scouting phase.

I was in a dilemna. One of my shower mixers had stopped working – the hot water would not come through. I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in a fitting that may only be in use for 6-9 months, yet I wasn’t ready to commit to buying a complete matching suite of fittings for 2 bathrooms + 2 cloakrooms. Until the full building price for the rebuild was more ‘reliable’ – which is probably after we are halfway through the rebuild’ I didn’t know whether I would be able to complete the bathroom refits during the rebuild or at a later date.

This is what he shared with me:

Shower Mixer – The cheaper fittings generally have the same functionality as that more expensive fittings, however the copper used is a cheaper grade, and not as durable. In addition, the warranty on lower cost options were on a 12 month ‘return to store’ basis. This means if something goes awry, you have to dismantle the shower, take it back to the supplier, who in turn send it to the manufacturer. In the meanwhile, you are without a shower for a few weeks. More expensive items are sold on a 5 year ‘on site repair’ basis – no fuss. The supplier arranges for the manufacturers remediation crew to fix or replace the unit at your house.

Shower Heads – these are designed for either pressurized or mains pressure systems. The way you can tell which system you are on is by turning on a shower. Now turn on another tap in the house. If the pressure in the shower reduces significantly, then you are on a pressurized system. In a mains pressure system there will only be a slight drop.

Also watch the layout of the holes. Some have a ring of holes on the outer rim, then another close to the center – this ends up giving a very uneven flow of water. More modern heads have a ‘rain water’ system where a double hole is used so that the two streams of water collide to reduce their speed from needly piercing velocity. If you like to use your shower to massage your shoulders – get a pulse system, but make sure the layout of the holes is not compromised.