Our Philippine House Project – Plumbing: buying faucet sets

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While hardly a matter of earth-shattering significance, here’s a bit of advice for the Philippine homeowner shopping for faucets.  This is really a supplement to our original narrative about plumbing systems in the house we built on Panay Island in 2010.  We learned a few lessons and want to share them.

Kitchen faucet designed for "cold" water

CAE kitchen faucet – failed after one year.

In general our philosophy was to spend more to buy quality products.   When we shopped for faucets in Iloilo City there was a huge selection to choose from.  There were lots of lightweight, inexpensive faucets ranging from cheap all-plastic units to the modestly-priced (about P1,100) and very popular metal units from “Wassernison”, a brand name seemingly chosen to have a bit of European cachet.

This suggests the next category of faucet sets.  These sets are more expensive, more attractive and well promoted and are generally in the P2,000+ range.  We ended up buying one of these for our kitchen faucet.  The name was Italian, the display and packaging elegant.  The quality seemed good.  We paid about P2,400 ($60) for our cold water only kitchen faucet.  Despite the Italian branding, a bit of post-purchase research showed that the faucet was made by CAE, http://www.china-cae.com/en/Index.aspx a very Chinese brand.  Our lovely CAE faucet started leaking after about a year.  More on our futile search for a replacement repair cartridge later.

The third category of faucet sets available in the Philippines are those by the big American brands, such as American Standard and Delta.  These are expensive, some faucet sets more than P10,000 ($250).  However some American Standard units were reasonable.  We bought all American Standard lavatory and shower faucet sets.  They are made in Thailand and seem very well built.  After six years there has been no corrosion and no leaking in any of them.

American Standard cold water basin faucet

American Standard cold water basin faucet

That brings us back to our leaking CAE kitchen faucet.  We bought a Wassernison faucet set as a temporary replacement and then took the valve cartridge out of the CAE faucet so that we could get a replacement.  Those (Ace, Handyman, Moostbrand, Citi Hardware, AM Builders Depot, who had extensive displays of lovely faucet sets, had practically no faucet repair kits, except  for a few ceramic cartridges for some Wassernison faucets and a scattering of Delta repair kits.  There were absolutely no repair parts for the CAE faucets.  In fact, the Moostbrand store which displayed and sold a glittering variety of fancy faucet sets had practically no repair parts for any of them.

After checking with a dozen stores for a faucet repair cartridge for our CAE, we finally found a cobbled-together solution at the Handyman Hardware store in Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.  A Wassernison cartridge worked, but could not accept the CAE handle so we had to buy a new handle as well as the cartrige set.

So, what’s the lesson?  If you can afford it, buy top quality Delta faucet sets.  We wish we could also recommend American Standard, but I saw no repair kits for the brand in all of our shopping for the CAE repair kits.  If you want to save money, just buy Wassernison faucet sets.  The quality and design are not great, but then the price is modest.  Avoid the fancy faucet sets from brands you’ve never heard of.  They may look stylish but the underlying quality may be poor and parts are unlikely to be available, making for an expensive throw-away when the faucet fails in a year.

That brings us back to our leaking CAE kitchen faucet.  We bought a Wassernison faucet set as a temporary replacement and then took the valve cartridge out of the CAE faucet so that we could get a replacement.  Those (Ace, Handyman, Moostbrand, Citi Hardware, AM Builders Depot, who had extensive displays of lovely faucet sets, had practically no faucet repair kits, except  for a few ceramic cartridges for some Wassernison faucets and a scattering of Delta repair kits.  There were absolutely no repair parts for the CAE faucets.  In fact, the Moostbrand store which displayed and sold a glittering variety of fancy faucet sets had practically no repair parts for any of them.

After checking with a dozen stores for a faucet repair cartridge for our CAE, we finally found a cobbled-together solution at the Handyman Hardware store in Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.  A Wassernison cartridge worked, but could not accept the CAE handle so we had to buy a new handle as well as the cartridge set.

So, what’s the lesson?  If you can afford it, buy top quality Delta faucet sets.  We wish we could also recommend American Standard, but I saw no repair kits for the brand in all of our shopping for the CAE repair kits.   Avoid the fancy faucet sets from brands you’ve never heard of.  They may look stylish but the underlying quality may be poor and parts are unlikely to be available, making for an expensive throw-away when the faucet fails in a year.

Comments (3) Write a comment

  1. I buy cheap plastic faucets. They last longer then metal faucet. Only paid 60 pesos for plastic long neck.this was 3 years ago. Not a pretty as metal faucet but durable.

    Reply

    • You make a good point. Many of the metal faucets sold here, even fairly expensive ones, are of poor quality. If you are going to use metal, spring for good quality. We have three American Standard faucets. No problems in seven years. We bought a classy looking Chinese kitchen faucet for about $75. The ceramic valve went bad and no replacement was available. We ordered a Moen and shipped it from the U.S. It’s very nice but complex and I’m not sure how well it will work with our low-pressure gravity system, so it is not installed. We are using a very cheap Chinese no name kitchen faucet for now.

      Reply

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