Shower head

When It Pays to Shop Name Brand

I have spoken many times about shopping generic can save you money.  In this previous post, we discussed how the price differences on many things, and when generic is perfectly fine.

I do mention that for some things, it is better to shop brand name. There are times when you paying more for a higher quality product is best. You’ll get longevity, durability and perhaps even have it more effective.

Here is a perfect example of when it pays to shop name brand. Replacing your Faucet Cartridge Assembly for a Delta Faucet in your shower.  

“Here is a perfect example of when it pays to shop name brand”

This was so crazy… First, I’d like to express that in no way am I a plumber, and would attempt any complex plumbing work without a certified contractor to complete the work.  However, I had to replace a leaky shower faucet cartridge, and it was simple enough. I head to my local home improvement store, and I have two options:

  • A third-party replacement cartridge for $26.22 
  • A Name Brand Delta replacement cartridge for $50.73

You probably know where this story is going… 

I hold up my old cartridge to the package and compare and it was simple, this generic looks like it’ll fit, and says it an equivalent part replacement for my old model number. Best of all, it is roughly half the price of the name brand one.  

I continue to install the cartridge into my faucet, and I do struggle a bit, but I get it installed we were done. I tested it, and it works, but need to adjust the Cold & Hot water mix. 

Things appear to be okay, and I put away my tools.  I was about to chalk this up as another home improvement / fix-it project in the can.

…(I’ll) start knocking holes in the walls and ceilings looking for the loose pipes”

Plumber Contractor

Ohhhhh, but it was not.  Shortly after this project was done, I was noticing some noise coming from the pipes. Similar to a water hammer.  This phenomenon commonly occurs when a water valve closes suddenly at an end of a water pipe system, and a pressure wave propagates in the pipe. Think of when you open a faucet and water is running hard, at full pressure, and you shut the water off. You then hear the water hammer. This is the water pipes moving and rubbing against interior construction like holes where the water pipes are passing through walls or floors.

I had thought okay, maybe something came loose where I had disassembled the shower faucet, or I did something wrong with the installation. 

I double checked the installation, and everything appeared to be fine.

This “water hammer” continued periodically over the course of the next few weeks. During this time, I continued to look for where the pipes were loose. I tried to locate where the noise was specifically coming from.  A quick explanation, and some of the ways I attempted to resolve this over here:   

This was driving me absolutely crazy.  Another few weeks go by. I have others, like my uncle and my friend listen with me and try and track down the source of the water hammer. During this time, I also call a recommended plumber. After explaining over the phone, the plumber says, “I’d do the same thing you’d be doing, and then start knocking holes in the walls and ceilings looking for the loose pipes” Ummm what? 

After another week or so, I call another plumber. This plumber comes to my home, and we both spend about thirty minutes running the faucet, listening, and feeling pipes. Upstairs, downstairs, in the utility room. 

In the end, the Plumber said, the sound or noise is a little different than a typical water hammer.  He said, it may be something loose within the faucet cartridge, that is allowing water to travel through the cartridge. Otherwise, we narrowed it down to where the pipes were knocking. He recommended if we replace the cartridge and the problem persists, I’ll cut a hole in the ceiling of my downstairs bathroom to investigate and hopefully secure any loose pipes. 

The plumber was great and didn’t even charge me for the visit. He told me what he’d do, asked if I’d wanna pay him $260 to replace the cartridge or do it myself. 

I head to the store a purchase the new cartridge. This time opt for the MORE EXPENSIVE, NAME BRAND one. 

Wait for it…..Upon installing this new one it was a breeze, fit like a glove! Like I could tell just installing it was meant for this, and it was easier to install and the overall fit was perfect! 

I turn on the water and test. The shaking pipes and water hammer noise IS GONE! Eureka! This was kind of a long post to help illustrate sometimes it is absolutely the best path to use genuine, authentic, name brand parts 🙂

Thanks for reading, and would like to hear about any of your similar experiences.  What are some things you don’t compromise on in shopping generic? 

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