My rant against faucet manufacturers

I’m going to continue my plumbing theme … or perhaps I should say my frustration with the manufacturers of faucets and handles. Bear with me!

shower faucetThis is a photo of the handle in my shower stall. It’s pretty typical of what builders install. I would like to replace the knob with a lever. It would seem that I could just remove the knob then buy a lever and put it on. Not true. There are “universal” levers but they don’t fit this Kohler unit. Why don’t manufacturers make the unit such that handles can be interchanged? That seems like a simple request!

In order to get a lever handle here’s what has to happen:

  • I must buy a completely whole new unit including a cartridge – $$$.
  • A plumber must cut an access hole in the wall opposite the faucet. (In my home that wall is slightly visible from my living room.)
  • Then they replace the cartridge that connects the 2 water pipes. (Cartridges are unique to each faucet style. WHY?)
  • Then the plumber replaces the new fixture and lever onto the new cartridge.
  • The plumber will place a plastic access panel over the hole but they won’t do the drywall work. I would have to do that or I would have to figure out how to conceal the panel by hanging a picture or mirror.

In order to get a $25 lever I would have to spend well over $200 plus drywall work (which I can do). As I joked with the plumber, I’m convinced the manufacturers are in cahoots with the Plumbers Union to make these units such that an ordinary do-it-yourselfer can’t make minor repairs. Plus the manufacturers make more money on a complete faucet versus just a handle.

I would like to have bronzed faucets like the one I just put in the half bath. But that’s out because the separate tub with chrome fixtures does not have an access panel either so ceramic tile would have to be cut to access it’s cartridge. I don’t even want to think about THAT mess! Guess I’ll just live with chrome and ball handles!

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