Incredibly bad designed Grohe kitchen faucet. Help!

ChinaskiMarch 2, 2011

I am finishing up full remodels of two bathrooms and my kitchen. I went with an entire Grohe plumbing package for all plumbing materials. Everything installed fine except this ridiculously poorly designed and very expensive Alira 32999S kitchen faucet.

My contractor's plumber has 40 years experience and after messing with it for almost an hour just can't get it to operate properly. The problem is (and I found others have the same problem on Amazon reviews on a search today) is the pullout hose will barely move in and out when off, and when water is on and the hose pressurizes it's completely locked.

I read through the reviews and called Grohe this morning. Grohe's tech support is a joke, and the only thing he could think of for what is a known defect to their design is I should file down the hole on my granite countertops. This was his best "guess" that it "might" be catching at the edge of the granite. Beyond that he had no help. After speaking with him I looked through the instruction diagram and see that the collar that comes with the damn thing would cover that edge of the granite anyways so filing down and risking damage to expensive granite is a complete waste of time.

Before I start the fight with Ferguson to get this returned without massive restocking fees I thought I would check here to see if anyone might have some better suggestions. I certainly don't want to run up a heavy bill with more plumbers to tinker with this thing. If someone knows a surefire way to fix this please let me know. My other question is suggestions of similar replacement models. Thanks

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Can I ask if the spring was installed on the hose correctly?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 6:46PM
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Yep, spring installed correctly.

I got the authorization to return it and a Hansgrohe faucet is on it's way.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 11:08PM
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I'm not surprised. While I keep hearing glowing comments on Grohe, during my installs of their products I often encounter some sort of annoying design flaw.

Here's a couple at random:

Wide mouth, low flow lavatory faucet. After the install we kept thinking we had a clogged line or cartridge (yes, the supply lines were cleared). Nope! That's how it was, even after getting a new cartridge and confirming excellent water pressure at the stops. BTW, replacing the cartridge was an absolute nightmare. Following their picture instructions was useless.

Trim plate of a shower diverter: This was a twist & turn option to hide trip plate screws. No matter what you did, the Grohe gasket behind the plate would push the plate off the wall too much. And I can assure you it was all installed properly otherwise (no, the diverter was not sticking out the wall too much or anything like that).

Adjusting their pop-up drains is a major pain, and when you adjust it properly to receive the lever arm, you're close to the end of the threads of the pop-up. Who designs these things?!

Note, there have also been flawless installs, too. It's just a mixed bag depending on what you get.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2011 at 8:26AM
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I purchased a grohe kitchen faucet and had it installed which was not easy with the instructions that came with it and the online help was a joke-- I knew instantly that it was not the faucet for me. The handel was on the right and difficult to reach and operate from the left sink which I use the most, also the sprayer did not hug the fuacet base tight and you could see the silver hose. Not what i expected for $900 + ! We tried to install the matching soap dispencer and my plumber refused--the threads were on the outside of the bottle but it didn't screw onto anything--slipped onto the pump but I doubt it would ever hold a full bottle of soap. I called our dealer and they didn't want to know anything but suggested I call grohe--which I did and I was suprised to get a respones of "we don't deal with customers only wholesalers--you should call them". I am stuck with an over priced poorly designed and unservicable faucet--I hope I can save someone the same expensive mistake of buying a grohe--"the no customer service company"

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 9:51PM
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There's another general problem I've seen a few times. The single-handle kitchen units (not just Grohe, but Hansgrohe and others), where it's installed so the lever is oriented sideways, often don't have enough clearance to operate the lever fully if you have a curb-type backsplash. If you push the lever fully toward the wall (hot water), it may hit. I recently swapped out a kitchen faucet and had to install it with the lever at an angle (we turned it 30 degrees) to get the clearance. In other homes, I've seen them installed with lever facing the sink, which I find strange since the hot and cold are reversed in that configuration (cold-left, hot-right).

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 9:09AM
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Hmmmm... I've installed three Grohe faucets in my home, over the past 15 yrs - including a shower. All work well haven't needed any major repair parts.

I have granite counter tops, with an Alira faucet - problems with the hose.

From my experience I have found them to be a superior product. For instance the valve bodies and faucet bodies are heavy machined brass. The shower valve has built in shutoffs!

They are more complicated to install than the 'junk' from HD. I read over the shower balancer installation instructions a couple of times, and then I did a 'dry run' - reading the instructions and identifying all the parts and procedures.

IMO a skilled plumber could surely install / troubleshoot. But a guy who wants to rip open the package, not carefully read, slap it in 5 minutes is going to have problems.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 1:53PM
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The quality of the valve bodies, etc, has nothing to do with poor engineering elsewhere on some of their models. Same goes for troubleshooting if the model is flawed.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 5:40PM
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I casually dropped in here, and saw "Grohe".

Since I had several good experiences with their products (including customer service) I thought I'd pass along my thoughts.

The point that I think is most important is that you have to read and reread their instructions very carefully. I have found (as a computer scientist) that many people don't read carefully. And thus have a bad experience or are frustrated.

Homebound, your response really put me off. I'm not here to defend Grohe, I wanted to give an opinion. I see no reason why you have to respond with a critical thought about my opinions, or Grohe's products - except for the fact that you need to have the last word.

I used to visit the Garden Web many years ago. It seems now many of the forums have their own petty tyrants who desperately try to assert and reassert their opinions. For what reason?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 11:53AM
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Actually, you put me off. Your "casual opinion" seemed to discount the other comments and suggest that the problem lies merely in not reading the manual, etc. I think the comments were fairly descriptive to rule that out. And then spouting off about tyrants, having the last word, etc. after my one response, well that really takes the cake. I'd say you wanted the last word.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 1:12PM
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An opinion that is different from others does not 'discount' the other comments.

For instance, one person said that the faucet handle interfered with thier installion, another said they had problems with the Alira hose (since there must be 10,000's of Alira faucets out there, it musten't be a problem for many others), yet another person had concern because Grohe wouldn't honor the warranty without a receipt (seems logical).

If I 'discounted' their comments - then I would have said they should have researched the product better, got a competent plumber, or saved the original receipt. But I didn't.

Instead, I offered my positive experience. With an aside that I thought the products were well constructed.

Let's face it, nobody starts threads about great products. They mostly start them about a complaint.

You shouldn't feel put off. IMO you're overbearing. BTW take that cake and.................

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 2:26PM
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Nothing like a pretentious, overbearing engineer offering trivial bits and thinking they are bestowing wisdom. Reminding us to read manuals, hire competent plumbers, etc. Thank you, genius. Thanks also for sharing that you think they are good, well-made products. I'm glad you think so. And I especially enjoy your feigned outrage and pre-emptive insults. Nice touch. You would do well on some cable news shows.

You are now 3/3 with insulting comments. Keep up the good work!

(Psst...your feathers are ruffled.)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:16PM
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You are the one who is discounting.... Attacking me for having an engineering degree? My advice is trivial? Bestowing wisdom - just my opinion.

I've never said one critical comment about anothers' experience.

Such a novice 'put down artist' doesn't deserve my further attention.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 3:28PM
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I appreciate the irony. You mix assumption with comprehension. You continue to call me the things that you demonstrate in your posts. Think about it. Who started the personal insults? (You.) So what if I wrote a flat comment about thoughts on valve bodies? Did it really bother you that much that you went off on me and the forum? Seriously? Calling me overbearing after your rant was another good one. And now you're talking about "put down" artists, which is where you basically began with each comment.

As for getting the last word in, you would presumably deny that applies to you, but it doesn't seem the case. When you make inflammatory comments, expect some pushback.

Enough. Feel free to have the last word again.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 4:05PM
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