Faulty Faucets and How to Handle Your Warranty Claim

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Many people are familiar with appliance warranties. If your one-year old refrigerator breaks under warranty, the repair person will arrive and fix it for free. The manufacturer foots the bill. What many don’t realize is that their faucets and other plumbing hardware probably have warranties, too. Let’s look at what to do if there are issues with your faucet while under warranty.

Check the Warranty Period

Before you do anything, verify that the plumbing has a warranty and that it is still in effect. A few companies have offered lifetime warranties on their plumbing hardware like showerheads and faucets. Some companies have lifetime limited warranties. This type of warranty will drop to five years if the plumbing is installed in a rental home, hotel or commercial business.

If you bought the home from someone else, the lifetime warranty doesn’t count because it generally isn’t transferable. You can still call the manufacturer if the leaking shower head is advertised with a lifetime warranty, just in case you can score a free replacement. In some cases, the warranty will only be recognized if you have the original receipt. If not, then you’re out of luck. This is where having the premium products that offer a lifetime warranty for anything with their brand name have a distinct advantage.

Verify the Rules Regarding the Warranty Work

A fair number of faucet manufacturers have a limited warranty that excludes faucet finishes, cartridges and leaks. This makes a lifetime warranty meaningless, because there is nothing left to fail. This is a common gimmick on cheap faucets. The lifetime warranty is a selling point but they know people will end up buying a cheap replacement faucet rather than exercise the warranty. Electronic faucets have separate warranties for the electronics. In general, the electronics are covered for five years. Your warranty is typically void if you bought the part online as-is.

Most warranties will only pay for replacement parts to get the faucet or shower head working again. Shipping them to you is often at your expense. Very few warranties will cover the labor costs to remove the faucet, replace the defective parts and reassemble it all. Then again, if you install your own faucet and it leaks, they may say that it is due to poor workmanship, not a manufacturing defect.

Opt for reputable professional plumbers to do your next bathroom faucet installation like Edward’s Enterprises, for instance. If the new faucet leaks, they should come out and fix their work instead of charging you for a second visit. And they’ll make sure that the unit is installed and handled in a way that won’t void the warranty. The warranty on your new plumbing fixture could also mandate having the installation done by a professional for the warranty to remain valid.

Warranties aren’t going to compensate you for the loss of the use of a fixture while they take a week or a month to send you the replacement part. If you call a professional plumber, they may be able to provide the replacement part out of their inventory. What gets interesting are the warranties that say the product is under warranty until discontinued. When the manufacturer no longer sells the faucet, it isn’t under warranty. In these cases, you’ll simply have to buy a replacement faucet.

Note that if you use non-OEM or original equipment manufacturer parts, you’ve almost certainly violated the warranty. In the case of shower heads, you can readily get replacement parts, but they’ll send you a whole shower head kit even if it is the shower holder that breaks.

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Read the Warranty for Guidance on Quality Problems

A dirty little secret of the plumbing industry is that companies will have the shortest warranty on what is most likely to fail. A company that will not apply its warranty to the cartridges has told you that this is likely the source of your leak. If they have a five-year warranty on their finish, you should know that it will start to flake or corrode soon after that, assuming it was properly cleaned and maintained. If the faucet’s electroplated finish deteriorates before then, you may be cleaning the faucets the wrong way. Conversely, the things that void the warranty are a clear warning of what not to do with your faucet.

If the warranty is only for several years and the plumbing fixture is older than that, the warranty information suggests the best choice is to replace the fixture.

Contact the Manufacturer

Suppose your plumbing fixture is still under warranty, and the warranty isn’t void. You can call or email the manufacturer to start the process of filing a warranty claim. Be ready to answer questions about what is wrong with the product and provide pictures to back up your claim. If they accept the warranty claim, they’ll ship you the appropriate replacement parts. You should have the items installed by a plumber so that those parts remain under warranty.

Plumbing warranties seem to have as many holes as your shower head. However, there is a chance it can result in a free replacement part to replace the failing one. Make sure that you understand the warranty top to bottom and work with professionals if you have any doubts.