Q: A friend is building a new house, and he told me that on his kitchen sink he will have "two" faucets — one manual faucet for normal sink use, and one faucet for "special use." I feel this is overkill, having two faucets on one sink. What's up with this plumbing trend?
— Billy, Vermont
A: Believe it or not, two faucets on a kitchen sink is a new trend that is starting to catch on. What's more surprising is that it makes a lot of sense, because it can actually save a lot of water. Before you say, "Ed, you're crazy," let me explain how adding an extra faucet can improve your kitchen efficiency.
Let's start from scratch with a normal two-bowl kitchen sink with a standard kitchen faucet. This setup will not change and will be your primary kitchen faucet for normal day-to-day use. What is special is the secondary faucet that can be added with just one hole in the kitchen sink. The secondary faucet is a touchless-type faucet. All you do is place your hands in front of the faucet to turn it on. We've used these types of faucets in public restrooms, but some manufacturers have redesigned them for residential use. A secondary, touchless kitchen faucet will only run water when something is in front of it. So, for things like rinsing vegetables or washing dishes, water use can be cut drastically. Also, if you're working with raw foods, you can now wash your hands without touching a faucet handle, and that can mean a cleaner kitchen. See, I told you I wasn't crazy; adding a second faucet head can catch on. And the old saying may be true: Two heads are better than one.
Q: Read your article with interest about looking into "ice dam wire kits" for the roof to help prevent ice jams that can lead to roof leaks in the winter. I need to hire someone for this job. Whom should I call?
— Erin, New York
A: Like with any home project, a licensed and insured contractor should be called. Any good professional contractor will be pleased to present his local license number and certificate of insurance. Remember, since approved ice dam wire kits are primarily an electrical project and need to be installed as per your local codes, your best bet is to call a master electrical contractor. However, you should call your local building inspector's office for approval and permit information.
Side note: As I mentioned in the article, I have had ice dam problems with my own roof. But once my ice dam wire kit was installed, that put the "freeze" on all my winter roof leaks!
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and for hosting TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. For information visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.