Touchy About Faucets

Published 12 years, 2 months past

As part of last year’s renovation, we redid our kitchen, which means a new sink and faucet.  We traded up from an overmount single-bowl sink to an undermount double-bowl sink, both aspects of which we’d long wanted.

There was one thing we had to fight a bit to get, though, which was a garbage disposal for each sink bowl.  The plumber didn’t want to do it on ground of it adding weight to the sink.  Our response was, in effect: “We’ll have the sink remounted in ten years if necessary, but put in two disposals.”  So he did, and we’re really glad.

The replacement faucet, however, does not make us nearly as glad.  We decided to get a touch-activated faucet, settling on a Delta Addison single-handle faucet.  The touch activation was because many are the times we want to wash off hands that have just handled raw meat, and being able to touch-on the faucet with a forearm seemed like a great idea — and it is!  The problem is that nearly the entire faucet body, including the temperature/flow adjustment handle, is touch-sensitive.  The exception is the pull-out head, which is inert.

Thus, if you reach past the faucet and brush it by mistake, the water starts flowing.  This is true even if you bump the base of the faucet, which is annoying when you’re trying to wipe down the countertop around the faucet.  Even worse, changing the temperature or flow rate means using the touch-sensitive handle.  There’s evidently logic built into the faucet that’s meant to prevent the water from cutting off if you adjust the handle, but it only works about half the time.  So sometimes you make an adjustment and the flow cuts off, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Frankly, the inconsistency is more maddening than the unwanted cutoffs.  For example, I’ve developed an expectation that the flow will cut off after I use the handle.  So I’ll adjust and then immediately tap the faucet again so it cuts off and then comes back on tap.  Except if it didn’t cut off, then my tap cuts it off before I can stop the impulse and then I have to tap again.

Of course, any touch-sensitive faucet is a total luxury, and fortunately it’s easy to disable the touch feature — all we have to do is pull the batteries from the battery pack and it becomes a regular faucet.  The drawback there is that there are definitely times when you want to be able to turn on the water flow without smearing whatever’s all over your hands on the faucet.  (And with three kids, one of which is an infant, there are some things you definitely want to avoid smearing.)

The really incredible part is that these problems would be completely solved if only the neck of the faucet were touch-sensitive.  If the base, which is a separate part from the neck, and the adjustment handle were inert, easily 90% of our frustration would just vanish.  We could start the water flow by touching the neck and not worry about weirdness with the adjustment handle or when brushing the base.

If you’re thinking of installing a touch-sensitive faucet, I can’t recommend this one, unless of course a future version of it fixes the problems plaguing this one.  And I have no idea if there’s a better touch faucet on the market; for all I know, they’re all like this.  Definitely do your homework, and if at all possible play with a functioning model before taking the plunge.  The touch feature doesn’t add a ton to the price of the base faucet, but it’s enough to be annoying when you’re seriously considering disabling it.

Comments (15)

  1. Eric, I couldn’t agree more. We just completed our kitchen reno in February and while the touch-sensitive faucet seemed like a great idea, it has caused our share of frustration as well.

    Our frustration is compounded by the fact that at the back of our sink, we have a “breakfast bar” type arrangement. We’re constantly passing food through/over the sink area to hand to the children. I can’t count the number of times I’ve soaked a sleeve by simply brushing the faucet while handing the food over. Thankfully, I haven’t scalded myself yet. Yet.

  2. We have the same island setup, Derek! Scalding isn’t a danger for us, as we’ve set the water heaters to 125ºF/52ºC due to having (very) small ones in the house, but sleeve-soaking is an ever-present threat.

  3. Looks like Delta decided to implement a :hover mega-dropdown on their plumbing, with real-world results as disruptive as the web equivalent.

  4. This article is so right. When remodeling our kitchen a touch faucet was in my plans. After a month, I was sick and tired of rinsing dishes with the water going on and off at will. Thought I had removed the batteries once before and the whole unit quite working. Like a lot of things I was wrong :) I removed the complete battery unit and we will now trial the faucet without the function and see if we like old style again…

  5. Hello everyone!
    We have a Delta Dominic Touch 2 O. You tap the metal sink and it turns on. Tap the faucet and it does not work. Any suggestions? (Plumber installed.) Faucet not isolated from metal sink?

  6. Make sure the faucet is turned on before removing the batteries

  7. Are there any clear instructions anywhere on how to disable the touch activation on these faucets?

  8. I liked my Delta faucet very much but every time we go out of town, when we get home it doesn’t work. It takes 2-3 days for us to get it going again. I would like to just disconnect the touch function permanently because right now I have no running water in my kitchen. Any ideas how to disable the touch function?

  9. Above comment KEY –if you are going to disable the touch function the faucet must be ON when you remove the batteries. If you don’t do that then the faucet does not work at all. Thank you to the poster who shared that advice. This is a very frustrating faucet. My battery box no longer stays connected with the lid – bad design.

  10. This was the worst part of our new house. I tried taking out the batteries, and it didn’t work. Should have read above first, but as an alternative, I took out the valve and drilled through the in and out ports on both sides and got most of the rubber valve out and it works perfectly.

  11. Thank you so much to “Sc” for your comment on removing the batteries while the water is running.
    We now love our faucet again. Works perfectly 😊👍🏼

  12. Sincere thanks to SC (leave the faucet running while removing batteries) our problem is finally solved!
    We really liked the touch factor, but were frustrated with it’s temperamental nature and Derek you were not the only one with wet sleeves. Now, can anyone advise us on how to break the tap habit?

  13. Thank you for letting us know to remove the batteries first. Now my sink runs when I want it too. Yay!!!!

  14. Yup – everything you said. Having purchased a Delta touch faucet in 2019 I’m sad to say they didn’t take your advice to make only the neck (not the handle or base) touch sensitive. After love/hating it for 6 months I finally ran out of batteries one too many times and gave up. Thanks for the tip about leaving the faucet running while taking out the batteries to deactivate the touch feature. Unfortunately, I had to buy new batteries to get it running again so I could then take out the batteries!

  15. We have had our Delta touch faucet about a year. I am in a love/hate relationship with it. I love the convenience but hate that sensitivity of the touch feature. I have read comments from 2012 discussing the same issue. Wish I would have found these reviews before we bought!

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