|Source • Brands||
Price • Origin
White's Plumbing Supplies, Inc.
589 Boston Post Rd.
West Haven, CT 06516
The Whitehaus Collection
Including utility fsucets
(Far Below N. American Standard)
This Company In Brief
White's Plumbing Supplies, Inc. is an importer of faucets manufactured in Italy, Israel and China that it distributes under the Whitehaus brand primarily to internet retailers. The faucets are stock faucets out of the manufacturers' standard catalogs and not custom faucets designed by or expressly for Whitehaus. The faucet are of good quality, but the warranty supporting the faucets is far below the North American standard limited lifetime warranty.In 1923 Samuel White started a small plumbing supply wholesale business in West Haven, Connecticut. It is still a going concern, now under the third generation of White Family management. The company created the Whitehaus Collection of faucets, sinks, tub, showers and bathroom furniture and accessories starting in 1995. It markets extensively through internet plumbing supply sites such as Blue Bath, Build.com and Vintage Tub and Bath, but also through general retailers like Amazon, Wayfair and ATG Stores.
The company also sells at Ferguson, a brick and mortar plumbing supplier with stores nationwide and at Standard Plumbing Supply, a distributor that serves nine western states. In Canada, the faucets are available on line from Wayfair of Canada and Lowes. For sales of high end faucets and faucets with special finishes, the company focuses on kitchen and bath designers through its website, Facebook page and on Pinterest. It features profiles of "spotlight designers" on its Kitchen & Bath Trends blog.
The Whitehaus Collection is what it says it is: a collection assembled from sanitary wares, fitting and furnishings manufactured by several companies located in different countries of the world. Sinks from Turkey; vanities and consoles from Spain and faucets, showers and tub fillers from China, Israel and Italy. The known suppliers of Whitehaus faucets are:
• Hamat Sanitary Fittings and Castings, an Israeli company that makes its own line of excellent It formerly sold Hamat faucets in the U.S. and Canada, but has largely withdrawn from the North American market.
• Foshan Shunde Nokite Plumbing & Sanitary Product Co, Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer that makes some of the company's kitchen faucets. It makes the same faucets for Astimi, Ltd. in England, supplies some of the same kitchen faucets to theThese are not faucets designed by or for Whitehaus. The faucets are selected from the of the manufacturers that make them. The collection is stylish. It ranges from traditional to very contemporary, but avoids the angularity of many modern faucet styles for a softer, less industrial look. The faucets are arrayed in collections that include sinks, showers, accessories, even medicine cabinets in some instances.
The faucet cartridges are supplied by the faucet manufacturers. These are good cartridges from Hungary and Italy. So, the quality of the cartridges is not suspect. Any Whitehaus faucet should give a lifetime of lead-free performance.
Nine basic faucet finishes are available on most faucets (see chart above). Many faucets are also available with special finishes (antique bronze, antique copper, polished copper, polished silver, speckled brass, silver pearl, titanium, weathered bronze, and weathered copper( which are not displayed on the company's web site. The only place to view these finishes is in a showroom. The color consistency of special finishes may be a problem. In its catalog, the company warns that ". . . all special finishes within Whitehaus Collection’s product offering may vary due to the nature of raw materials during finishing process. All special finishes will blend but may not be exact." We interpret this interesting language to mean that two items with the same special finish may not be an exact match, especially if they are made and finished by different manufacturers.
Whitehaus does none of its own electroplating or other finishing. So, the specific finishes available on a faucet are limited to the finishes available from each actual manufacturer, and will vary. Hamat, for example, offers 15 standard finishes, of which Whitehaus has selected nine as standard finishes and the rest as special finishes. Some kitchen faucets, notably those made by Nokite, are made from stainless steel rather than brass, and are only available in stainless steel finishes — brushed and polished.
The company website, completely redesigned in 2014, is well crafted with fairly intuitive navigation. There are some obvious errors, however, indicating a site that is still a work in progress. At the bottom of every page under the "INFORMATION" heading, "Where to buy" is listed twice. It is also listed under the "Info" tab at the top of the page. Looks like Whitehaus wants to make triple sure you can easily find where to buy its products.
Some drop-down menus don't stick in the Firefox browser. Sticky menus hang around long enough for you to click on a menu item. These often don't. In all browsers, if you hover over a drop-down menu long enough perusing its contents, an annoying pop-up announcement is displayed, which, when closed, also closes the menu — even more annoying. Obviously some fine tuning is called for.
More important than minor glitches in website mechanics is the paucity of information about the company's faucets. There is insufficient information about each faucet to support an intelligent buying decision. Only one image is presented for most faucets, a 3/4 or side view. Multiple views would help in visualizing the faucet or, better still, a 360° viewing feature such as is used by faucets, that allows the mouse to rotate the faucet to any viewing angle.
Descriptions of faucets are often too abbreviated to be useful. On most faucet web sites, downloadable specification sheets usually contain more detailed information about each faucet. But, the Whitehaus sheets are typically nothing more than a dimensioned drawing. There are no exploded parts diagrams, installation instructions, cartridge identification or warranty information, all of which is very useful and a common feature of other faucet sites. We would particularly like to know the origin of a faucet's cartridge so we can judge whether it is from a reputable manufacturer, and thus unlikely to leak — especially as the warranty on cartridges offered by Whitehaus far below par.
The Whitehaus warranty is inexpertly drafted and confusing. It boldly proclaims at the top of the page that "Whitehaus Collection products carry a full warranty against manufacturing defects and workmanship" (presumably meaning defects in workmanship). But, on reading further. it turns out that this full warranty does not apply to faucets which ". . . carry a limited lifetime warranty to be free of manufacturing defects of material and workmanship." A limited lifetime warranty does not protect the buyer as completely as a full lifetime warranty (see How to Win the Warranty Game for more information).
But, even this limited lifetime warranty is not at all as it seems. It does not apply to "internal components" of faucets such as "diverters, O-rings, cartridges, side spray insert [sic], supply lines, and pull out hoses" which are guaranteed for just 5 years. Chrome and nickel finishes are likewise guaranteed for 5 years, a very short term in the faucet world but better than the 1 year guarantee for all other finishes and the 90 day warranty on . The warranty also does not apply to damage caused by ". . . normal wear and tear, dirt, limescale, aggressive air and water conditions . . ." (We don't know what "aggressive air" is, but it sounds rather ominous.)
After all the exclusions and limitations, there is not much left of the limited "lifetime warranty". According to a company spokesman, Whitehaus construes the lifetime warranty to apply only to the "body of the faucet and to protect only against casting errors and similar factory defects". Any part that can be detached from the body is an "internal component" to which the five year warranty applies.
This is what we call a Barnum Warranty in honor of the famous huckster, showman and philanthropist, Phineas Taylor (P. T.) Barnum, who reputedly sold a train car of canned white salmon by guaranteeing it would not turn pink in the can — something that white salmon cannot possibly do. A Barnum Warranty is one that appears at first glance to be generous, guaranteeing a lot, but, after analysis, is found to guarantee not much of anything. It's advantage to the company is that it allows its sales materials to advertise a "lifetime warranty" where, in fact, very little of the product is covered by the lifetime term.
This is not a serious warranty worthy for what is supposed to be a line of quality luxury faucets. The standard for residential faucet warranties in North America is a limited lifetime warranty that applies to all of the critical parts of a faucet for as long as the buyer owns it. This warranty is far below that standard. We consider it a 5-year limited warranty, at best, not at all redeemed by the lifetime guarantee on the body of the faucet — the part least likely to fail.
This warranty tells us two things, both of which are important buyer considerations:
1. The company does not have a great deal of faith in the durability or longevity of its faucets or finishes. It is not willing to bet its own money that they will last a lifetime(but it is more than willing to bet yours).
2. Company management has not yet figured out the marketing potential of a solid, lifetime guarantee of a product that is supposed by most buyers to last a lifetime.There are essentially two approaches to warranties in the faucet business. The first approach tries to minimize the cost of warranty service to its irreducible minimum and insulate the company as much as possible from liability for a failed product. This is the bean-counter approach, the tack favored by accountants, chief financial officers and other tight-fisted sorts. This is the Whitehaus warranty — the bean counter warranty.
The other, and much smarter, approach is to use the power of a good warranty to drive repeat sales — figuring (correctly) that the small additional cost of providing a first-class warranty will be more than offset by additional sales revenue that a top-rated warranty generates.
This is the Moen approach. Compare the Whitehaus warranty to a warranty and you will get a good idea of the difference between a first class and other class faucet warranty. Moen's limited lifetime warranty is an actual lifetime warranty. It guarantees all parts of its faucets for for as long as the buyer owns the faucet, including all "internal components" and all finishes without exception.
Moen, one of the first major faucet companies in the U.S. to offer a lifetime warranty on its faucets, figured out early that a good warranty and strong back-end customer support would substantially increase sales on the front end. It worked. Its warranty helped boost Moen from a little-known "also ran" faucet company in the 1940s and 50s to the one of the two largest faucet companies in the U.S., just behind Masco's by the 1970s. (The companies are now neck and neck for the number one slot, each having about 30% of the U.S. faucet market. Which one is ahead on a given day more or less depends on the current alignment of the planets and how the tea leaves fall.)
Post-sale warranty service by Whitehaus is, of course, limited by the scope and terms of the warranty. Agents are quick to replace defective parts covered by the warranty (after the customer jumps through all the hoops required to prove he or she is eligible for warranty coverage). But, the warranty period is comparatively short, and strictly enforced. After five years (or one year, or 90 days) the cost of fixing a broken faucet is all yours.
Imported faucets comparable with the Whitehaus Collection include faucets made by Hamat for other faucet companies such as
More than erasing the value of the wide range of finishes is the Whitehaus faucet warranty which is far below standard for faucets sold in the North American market. Many of the companies listed above offer lower prices, and a much stronger warranty on faucets of equal or better quality. Most offer a straightforward limited lifetime warranty, and most others at least a 10-year term. If you don't need an unusual finish, one of these companies may be a better choice.
If you have had an experience with a Whitehaus faucet, — good, bad or indifferent — that you would like to share, please contact us or leave a comment below.