When the mixer fails, you should not go in search of a new one. It is enough just to change the cartridge in the tap. Moreover, the cost of this small detail is several times less than the price of a new mixer.
The principle of operation of a single-lever mixer
Unlike designs equipped with two valves (for cold and hot water), single-lever mixers have a single handle, with which not only the temperature, but also the pressure power is smoothly regulated. Such devices are often called ball, articulated or joysticks.
Water is mixed in such devices using cartridges or ball mechanisms:
- ceramic disc cartridges. Consists of several perfectly ground ceramic discs with three holes; one for cold, the second for hot water, and the third for the exit of the final jet; liquid mixing is carried out in the upper compartment; when the crane lever is turned, the disks are displaced, while the holes may partially or completely coincide; a special plate is used to adjust the pressure;
- ball mixer: its insides look like a carefully polished hollow ball with three holes; with the help of a lever, the ball is displaced, while the holes overlap, due to which the water inflow and its output power are adjusted;
When ball devices fail, they most often cannot be repaired. Plus, because of the mixing inside the ball, it quickly becomes clogged with scale, which is the most common cause of breakage. In such devices, rubber seals also wear out quickly. Replacing a disc cartridge in a kitchen or bathroom faucet is not a problem.
Causes of cartridge failure
First of all, the process of wear of this equipment is significantly affected by impurities contained in water — sand, rust, as well as salts dissolved in it. When they get between the discs, the friction is much more intense, the ceramics gradually wear out, and the cartridge begins to leak.
When the cartridge is clogged with rust and lime salts, the temperature and water pressure may also decrease. In this case, it is enough to clean it. Cheap Chinese faucets often have a small inlet, and no amount of cleaning will help here. It will only help to replace the device with a better one.
Weak water pressure can occur when the faucet strainer is clogged. In this case, to fix the problem, it is enough to remove the mesh at the end of the gander and clean it well. Poor water supply is also possible when water pipes are clogged. You can check this by shutting off the valves for its supply and removing the mixer, and then opening them slightly again. If water enters the pipes without problems, then the problem is in the mixer itself.
The reason for the low pressure may also lie in the damage to the rubber gasket. Having shifted from its place, it is able to block the flow of water. The noise of the crane may appear with a sharp pressure drop. To eliminate it, it is enough to replace the sealing gasket.
When purchasing a low-quality faucet or long-term operation of the product, cartridges often jam due to the appearance of cracks or displacement of disks. At the same time, the crane handle starts to move jerkily or stops moving altogether. In this case, the cartridge cannot be repaired — it will have to be changed. Due to such a defect, water leakage from under the mixer lever is also possible.
Advice! Only the collapsible cartridge can be cleaned and lubricated. If this part is non-separable, there is only one way out — its replacement.
Recommendations for choosing a new cartridge
Products even from the same manufacturer, designed for different models of mixers, may have small differences that are not immediately evident. Even if you can still insert an unsuitable cartridge, the tap will creak, hum, and the handle will not turn well. And yes, this product won’t last long. Therefore, when buying, be sure to check all the parameters.
In specialized stores, sellers are usually very familiar with the range of their products and are able to choose the right product for you. For ease of comparison, it is better to take the old cartridge with you. Finding a cartridge for a cheap Chinese faucet can be difficult. Standard cartridges may not fit them.
- First, we look at the shape of the cylinder and its seat, the order of the holes, as well as their size. Models for kitchen faucets and bath mixers are always very different in appearance;
- All grooves and protrusions must also match. Otherwise, it will be simply impossible to fix the part;
- If these parameters match, we measure the diameter of the cartridge, as well as its height with and without a stem (leg). Standard diameters 28, 32, 35 and the largest 40 mm;
- You should pay attention to the length or width of the stem itself — for some types of mixers, this parameter may turn out to be fundamental.
Advice! When buying a mixer, it is better to immediately purchase a replacement cartridge. Otherwise, in the event of a breakdown, you will have to run around more than one plumbing store in search of a suitable model.
It is easy to disassemble the mixer and replace the cartridge. To do this, you need only a few tools:
- adjustable wrench or pliers with a narrow working part;
- hex key;
- straight or Phillips screwdriver;
Cartridge replacement steps step by step
- Naturally, before starting work, hot and cold water must be turned off;
- In order for the remaining water to flow out of the tap, it must be opened briefly;
- The shut-off screw of the tap is always hidden by a decorative cap. It must be removed by carefully picking it up with a screwdriver or knife;
- Depending on the type of screw slot, it is unscrewed with a suitable size hex wrench or a screwdriver with a straight or Phillips blade;
- Next, the large main nut is unscrewed. In order not to damage the faucet coating, first wrap the key with electrical tape or a cloth;
- Now the insides of the mixer can be easily pulled out. Carefully inspect the removed cartridge. If it is collapsible, and all parts are intact, it may not be necessary to replace it — it is enough to clean it well. A non-separable cartridge will need to be replaced;
- He should stand exactly, exactly in his seat. Therefore, it is better to remember in what position the old one stood;
- Now the whole process should be repeated in reverse order, reassembling the mixer.
Advice! If the cartridge is stuck, it is not always possible to remove it immediately. In order not to damage the fragile plastic, when trying to pull the part, treat it first with machine oil. After about five minutes, it will spread over the surface, and the extraction process will be facilitated. You can get rid of rust with the help of a special liquid WD-40.
Masters recommendations. Common Mistakes
In the repair and replacement of faucet cartridges, there are some subtleties that you should familiarize yourself with:
- Before installation, be sure to clean the faucet and free it from accumulated debris. Otherwise, salt deposits and rust will not allow a new cartridge to be hermetically inserted;
- To clean the scale, some experts advise warming up the device over an open fire. Doing this is not worth it exactly in order to avoid damage to the eccentric;
- If the faucet is still leaking even with a tightly twisted lamb, unwind it again and check if all the grooves and protrusions are completely aligned;
- The cause of the leak may lie in the sealing gasket. If it is damaged and the sealing of the joint is broken, water may continue to seep even if the device itself is in good condition;
- If the mixer often breaks down, the problem may be systemic. After all, ceramic plates can quickly collapse under the influence of water hammer. In this case, it is worth checking the pressure in the water supply and installing a pressure regulator.
Faucet Tips to Extend Cartridge Life
Even expensive mixers can quickly fail ahead of time if the product operation rules are violated:
- The ceramic cartridge requires regular lubrication. If the handle starts to stick, this means that the old grease has been washed out with water and needs to be renewed;
- Do not put too much pressure on the faucet when opening/closing it. A light pressure is enough;
- Most manufacturers of expensive plumbing warn that faucet warranties are valid only if they contain fine filters. Under no circumstances should they be removed.
- There is an opinion that when filters are installed, the water pressure slows down. However, high-quality fine cleaning products are not able to influence the pressure level. In case of blockage, it is enough to open the valve, and the garbage itself will go into the sewer;
- Although modern mixers are already equipped with a filtration system, the arrangement of an additional barrier to collect large inclusions will not hurt. At the entrance to the apartment, install at least the simplest coarse filters. After all, the main reason for the failure of plumbing equipment is the quality of tap water.
Do you want your faucet to function flawlessly? Purchase products from trusted manufacturers in specialized shopping centers. Make sure you have the certificate. Also check the documentation — it should indicate that the product has been tested at an elevated pressure of 3.5 atm.