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The heart of a faucet spray is a mechanism called a diverter or butterfly valve located inside the faucet in a chamber just below the base of the swing spout.

This valve normally permits water to flow freely through the spout when the spray attachment is not in use. When the thumb-controlled valve on the spray is open, an imbalance of water pressure is created to operate the valve.

A piston-like piece snaps down, shutting off most of the water supply through the spout and diverting it through a hose which leads to the spray head.

This valve cannot be put into any faucet which was not originally made with a chamber for the valve.


Aerators are attached directly to the faucet to prevent water from splashing in the sink.

Stationary aerators create a steady flow of water in one direction; movable aerators aid in directing water flow into the sink and supply either fine spray or a steady flow.

Twisting or up-and-down motion on the movable aerator determines the type and direction of the water flow. Aerators adapt to both inside and outside threads.

A snap fitting is used in place of an aerator as a snap-action hose fitting for quick connection to portable washers and dishwashers.

Self-cleaning aerators are available. They automatically clean themselves whenever the faucet is turned on and off.


Washers are one of the most basic plumbing accessories- and the heart of many home plumbing problems.

Nylon or polypropylene washers are not recommended because they will not seal under cold-water conditions. Urethane washers will seal under hot or cold and are said to outlast rubber.

Leaking faucets are usually caused by washers that have been damaged by rough faucet seats that allow foreign particles to embed themselves in the washers.

Washers in most faucets include top bibb, faucet and cone or “O” ring washers. The faucet washer is located in the spout; bibb washer under the stem, and “O” ring or cone washers in the handle stem.

A coupling washer is used in swing-spout faucets inside coupling nuts between the swing-spout body and adjustable arms. Faucet aerators also have washers between the faucet and aerator.

Sometimes faucets require repacking. Packing material comes in string and washer forms. Graphite string packing is wrapped around the stem of the valve under the cap nut. Washer packing consists of preformed cone-bonnet packing, which fits over the stem of the valve. Tightening the cap nut forms a permanent seal.


Industry sources say that toilet seats are changed on an average of every three to five years.

Better products have high-quality plastic or kiln-dried hardwood seats and lids with tongue-and-groove fitting. Nylon hardware is sturdy and non-rusting; metal hardware should be solid brass with chrome-plated nickel finish.

Some toilet seats have “easy-on, easy-off” hinge posts, which facilitate installation by the homeowner. These hinge posts also make it practical to remove the seat for thorough cleaning.

Many toilet seats are made entirely of hard plastic, which can be colored or patterned. Better-quality plastic seats are manufactured so that color or design is part of the plastic rather than a coating that can chip or wear off. Many decorator toilet seats are the so called “soft seat.”

Residential Plumbing System

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.