New federal law requires lead-free faucets

Federal law states all potable water products must be lead free.

We drink from our kitchen sink almost everyday, but if your faucet rusts or breaks, there are a few things to keep in mind before you replace it.

As of January 1st, a federal law states all plumbing businesses must sell customers a specific type of faucet.

"That, that's the way the law read, anything that uses, has potable water go through it, has to meet the new low lead law," Quincy Plumbing and Heating Distributors owner Ted Siebers.

All stores that carry products for potable, or normal drinking water, have to sell products that are lead free.

Siebers sold all of his faucets before the 2014 deadline. But he said many other distributors weren't as lucky.

"The difficulty has been that the law went into effect and if you had inventory, you still had to basically, basically, you couldn't sell it for potable water anymore," Siebers said.

Since lead free products cost 15 to 25 percent more than the old brass faucets, some plumbing companies have purchased brass products from distributors at a discounted rate.

That's caused a problem for people building new homes, because some plumbers have decided to make extra money by installing non-lead water systems.

Quincy construction company owner Kevin Hamann said plumbers who get caught installing non-lead products could be in big trouble.

"If you did get caught you would be tearing all the plumbing out and you would be redoing it," Hamman said. "There maybe fines and penalties along with that like losing your license."

Hamann said you can avoid getting stuck with the wrong faucet by performing a background check on your plumber before he installs it.

"Just have the homeowner get references of the people they're going to hire, word of mouth travels around town," Hamann said.

One way to check if you're purchasing the right type of faucet, look for a label on the outside of the products box marked lead free.