5 Tips for Replacing Plumbing Fixtures

A man replacing a sink faucet.

The right plumbing fixture can really make or break a room. Whether you're looking for a new kitchen faucet, a shower head, or a bathroom spout, finding the perfect fixture can be a challenge — not to mention expensive. Here are five tips on replacing plumbing fixtures to make the process easier.

1. Compatibility Matters

A man measuring a toilet seat.

Before you pull the trigger on that amazing fixture, double-check that it will actually fit where you need it. Start by taking measurements of the original fixture. This will help ensure you do not buy something too small or too large for the space. You should also look at the aesthetics of the new fixture. If you buy something a shade or two darker than its surroundings, you might be making another trip to the hardware store for a different model. You should also make sure the fixture’s functions work with your current setup to avoid future plumbing issues down the road.

2. Spend Wisely

The old adage that you get what you pay for holds true when it comes to plumbing fixtures. You should always avoid purchasing the cheapest fixture you can find as they generally tend to break down after short periods and do not have nearly as much features as the high-end models. Even worse, they have the potential to cause a lot of water damage when they break. Stick to the bigger brand names when buying plumbing fixtures. You may spend more money upfront with this approach, but it will save you in the long run.

3. Shop Around

A woman shopping for faucets in a showroom.

Upgrading the plumbing fixtures in your home can get expensive fast. Although it's easy to drive down to your local big box store and buy whatever you need, you can probably get a better deal elsewhere. If you are more concerned about quality than anything else, check with your local plumbing supply store as they will have the best quality fixtures on the market. They can also help you find exactly what you need. If you're looking to save a buck or two, try buying your fixtures online. If you're not in a rush, consider buying in the off season or around the holidays when a lot of companies offer their biggest savings.

4. Narrow Down Your Search

When looking for the perfect fixture, it's easy to get lost in all the options that are on the market. One method to narrow down your search is to determine what functions you want in the fixture. For example, if you're looking for a kitchen faucet, do you want a single or double handle faucet? Do you like faucets that feature a pull-out spout? In the bathroom, you may want a toilet with heated seats or a spout with a particular finish. Whatever your needs, listing them out should help you narrow down the competition and zero in on the models you really like. When you first start shopping, try not to worry too much about the budget and pick at least four or five models you think will work. Once you've narrowed down the search, use your budget as another filter to pick what fits best for your project.

5. Focus on Energy Savings

A faucet with coins coming out of it instead of water.

Energy outputs are often overlooked when replacing plumbing fixtures around the home. Limiting water use, however, has a lot of benefits and you should consider buying a high-efficiency fixture whenever you're doing a plumbing project. Not only does it help save on water supplies, but it will also save you a lot of money in the long run. A fixture with a good Energy Star rating uses less power and is just as efficient as traditional models. This includes high-efficiency toilets and low-flow faucets, both of which can save you loads of money in the long run.