What You Really Get When You Buy Inexpensive Plumbing Fixtures

How Investing More in Materials From Your Plumbing Professionals Saves You Money in the Long Run

Pipes and wrenches
When we install new fixtures as part of our plumbing services, we sometimes have clients request to supply their own materials as a way for them to save money. Inevitably, these materials come from big box chain stores. We are definitely not out to slag any brands or companies, but we do feel strongly about educating our clients on how to ensure that the dollars you save at the till won’t be paid for in multiples in later damage. Unfortunately, due to slack regulations and inferior materials or manufacturing, we have seen this to be the case countless times — a lower grade faucet or toilet supplied by the client and installed by us fails, and our client is left dealing with a flood and an insurance claim. They saved $50 upfront but are paying into the thousands to address the damage.

Are Your Fixtures Up to Code?

Every piece that is used in your home, including plumbing fixtures and components, must meet specific standards and regulations set by the Canadian government and meant to ensure your safety and the durability of your home. As consumers, we assume that anything we can buy in a store will meet these standards. The unfortunate truth is that a lot of skirting of these standards and regulations goes on. Think about all the news stories we hear about consumer goods that have been recalled or never made it to shelves due to blatant disregard for consumer product safety standards — cases such as melamine-tainted dog food; baby paint that contained unacceptable levels of lead; or asbestos-laced drywall that was imported into Vancouver — and you can imagine that there is a lot more of this going on than we likely realize. Unfortunately, plumbing materials and fixtures aren’t immune to this.

Items such as low-lead compliant supply pipes can be expensive, a fact that we are very aware of. The truth is, some lead content gives metal a malleability that keeps it from being brittle and snapping. This means that low-lead compliant piping requires quite a bit of extra engineering, and this translates to a higher cost for the consumer. As plumbing professionals, it’s not optional for us to follow regulations and ensure that the work we do in your home is up to code.

This issue also applies for toilets, faucets, water softeners, you name it — when you buy the lowest priced option at your favourite big box store, how can you be sure that the item has been tested to standards that you are comfortable with? Assessing the risk of subpar manufacturing is more than worth the extra bit of thought upfront.

Investing in Integrity

Another piece of the puzzle is looking down the road to what will happen if a component ever does fail. It may not just mean a dripping tap or a toilet that plugs constantly. We see the worst case scenarios as well — a toilet that cracks, a metallurgical failure in the supply pipe to your faucet — and the worst case scenario is flooding. Depending on where the break happens and whether you’re there at the time, the financial impact of the damage can vary widely.

In one unfortunate case, a client who had asked us to install a faucet she provided later experienced a serious flood in her home. The insurance company sent the faucet for testing to find who was at fault and the culprit was indeed the faucet she had supplied — it had suffered a metallurgical failure. What had begun as a way to save $50 became an insurance claim numbering in the tens of thousands, and we were ruled not at fault. Even worse, the manufacturers of the faucet — a small, overseas company — couldn’t be tracked down and the customer was left on the hook.

On the flip side, reputable companies (we work with Grohe, Moen, Delta, Toto and more, and these are great examples) stand up and are accountable for their products. In the same way, we stand behind our workmanship with the guarantee that it will not fail and if there are problems, we are responsible for them. This includes our work and the components we use.

Pay For Quality Once

There’s a saying we like here at Instant Plumbing: “You only pay for quality once.” Cheap, low quality goods appear more affordable upfront but they carry hidden costs; they require replacement sooner, and when they fail they can cause damage that costs far more than a high quality component would have in the first place. The added bonus of investing in quality is the peace of mind you get from knowing that you have supported a company that puts in the time and money required to engineer and test a safe and reliable product. You are keeping ethical companies in business rather than giving your money to a less than savoury company who is willing to compromise your wellbeing to make a quick buck.

If you would like to know more about the brands we work with and our quality guarantee, call us today.