Review & Rating
8395 Riverbend Court
Burnaby, BC V3N 5E7
(800) 460 7019
Footnotes:1. "For as long as the original consumer/purchaser/owner owns his or her home"
This Company In Brief
Sustainable Solutions International, Inc. (SSI) is a Canadian company owned by David Morris and Douglas Spoule that sells high efficiency bathwares under the Fluid™ brand and is also the North American distributor of Caroma sanitary wares.
Caroma is an Australian company, founded in 1941 by Charles Rothauser. It is now part of GWA Group, Limited, Australia's largest domestic bathwares company. At one time GWA was a manufacturer and most of its manufacturing was done in Australia, but it closed its last Australian factory in 2014 and now contracts all manufacturing to Chinese factories.
Fluid bathwares are also manufactured in Asia. Known manufacturers of Caroma and Fluid vitreous china products include:
Fluid faucets are manufactured in China by
Fluid faucets are striking but fairly typical Chinese designs reflecting many standard Oriental design motifs. The Emperor faucet line (pictured above), for example, invokes the "Enperor's Coronation Crown" theme, a popular design form in China. Similar styles of faucets are available from a variety of Chinese sources. The faucet is manufactured by Yatin as the Power faucet. It is an award-winning design created by Yatin's in-house designer Yu Qing, that won the prestigious German IF design award. The judges observed that:
Power conveys the Oriental spirit, synthesizing fashion with science. The simplest curve creates a harmonious appearance — a classic fusion of East and West.
It is sold by as the Unicus faucet. It was at one time sold by as the Seven faucet, but has now been discontinued in favor of the Yatin Loong faucet sold by Isenberg as the Wing.
Similarly, the Fluid Fan faucet series (now discontinued) is based on an oriental design pattern that is very common throughout Asia on clothing, jewelry, household articles and in architectural decoration. The faucet is made by Yatin and also sold by as the Fantasia faucet.
Fluid's Viola faucet is an interpretation of the "wave" theme in Asian design, and, again, is a very common motif. The Sino-Japanese "swan's neck" motif is represented in the Fluid Sublime series as well as the Kraus USA Illusio faucet. Similar designs are available from several Asian importers.
Fluid faucet cartridges are all ceramic. They were formerly sourced from Hydroplast, a well-regarded ceramic cartridge manufacturer located in Italy. The company now features Kerox cartridges made in Hungary. Kerox makes a well regarded faucet cartridge that has become the preferred cartridge of many European faucet manufacturers. Faucets sold in North America known to use Kerox cartridges include
The quality of the faucets we examined was good to very good. We especially like the extra long risers (the flexible tubes that connect the faucet to the shutoff under the sink), which makes installation easier. Our plumbers had no difficulty installing the faucets and rated the installation "Easy" on a five point scale from "Very Easy" to "Very Difficult"
The faucets are available in polished chrome and brushed nickel. Fluid faucets are part of collections that typically include tub fillers, shower fixtures and accessories, all available in the same finishes, for a nicely coordinated look.
Fluid faucets are all flow-limited to a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) — below the legal North American maximum flow of 2.2 gpm — through a flow-limiter built into the faucet's Neoperl® aerator. Neoperl is considered one of the world's best faucet aerators. Aerators used to be simple devices that merely added a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink. Today, however, they are also used to limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws.
A decade ago a 1.5 gpm flow rate was considered high efficiency. But, in the intervening years the perception has changed. All of Europe and most of Asia now requires a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gpm. Most Watersense®-rated faucets flow at a maximum of 1.5 gpm, some much less and California's new Title 20 regulations require not more than 1.2 gpm in bathroom lavatory faucets and not more than 1.8 gpm in kitchen sink faucets.
A great many domestic faucet companies now offer low-flow and variable flow faucets. In ordering a for example, it is often possible to specify a flow rate just as you would specify a faucet finish. Most aerators can be easily replaced by a lower-flow device to save water (and money). Bathroom faucets can have aerators that restrict flow to 1.5, 1.2, 1.0, or even 0.5 gallons per minute (5.7, 4.5, 3.8 or 1.9 liters per minute).
Average flow rate will probably get much lower over the next few years. As a result of Executive Order B-29-15, codified under California's Title 20, California requires a maximum flow rate of 1.2 gpm in bathroom sink faucets as of 2016. As California goes, so goes North America. Expect 1.2 gpm to become the new standard during the next decade. An SSI spokesperson indicated that the company commonly sells faucets with very low flow rates for special projects, and will will have no trouble meeting the new California flow limits.
Because the water delivered through sink faucets is often heated water, reducing flow rate not only reduces water consumption, it also reduces the energy used to heat water, which can mean a substantial energy savings and a reduction in greenhouse gases. But lower is not always better. At some point, the water flow becomes so slow that it ceases to be useful. Flow rates in restroom sinks, for example, are limited by law to 0.5 gpm in North America, barely a trickle, and too slow to be practical in a residence.
The company's web site is intuitive and easy to use. The search function is accurate but does not include the fuzzy search capability built into Google-based search algorithms. Fuzzy search allows the search routine to correctly interpret a search on a term such as "Em[eror" to mean "Emperor" and often comes up with the right answer even with misspellings.
Each faucet listing is accompanied by a specification sheet and installation instructions, both in .pdf format. The links, however, are displayed in very small light blue type that is hard to read and does not have any of the usual visual indicators of a link, such as an underline. Specifications include dimensioned drawings, the faucet's certifications, available finishes, warranty and features. The installation guide contains a sort of parts list that includes and exploded drawing and numbered parts, but a table listing and identifying the parts is not provided — strange! Despite this small shortcoming, however, we feel that the site provides more than adequate information to permit an informed buying decision.
Fluid faucets are widely available in the U.S. and Canada through on line retailers and a few brick and mortar home decorator and plumbing supply showrooms. The web site includes a useful dealer locator under the tab "Where to Buy".
The Fluid lifetime limited warranty is standard for faucets sold in North America. Support and warranty service passed our tests with flying colors. Our (purely imaginary) parts problems and installation issues were handled capably by bi-lingual representatives who were very well versed in the company's faucet products. The company has no Better Business Bureau file, which usually means that the BBB has never received a complaint about the company. SSI is not, however, a business that has been accredited by the BBB, and should consider becoming accredited.
Imported Chinese and Taiwanese faucets comparable to Fluid faucets include
With its top-line cartridge and generally good-quality construction by top-flight manufacturers, we judge the faucets to be a reasonable value for the price, and suitable for use in a busy bathroom. The faucet may be legally sold and installed in Canada, but, at present, Fluid faucets are not legal to sell in the U.S.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Fluid faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.