Taps are one of the most important fixtures in your home, and you use them daily. So, it’s only natural that they will eventually show signs of wear and tear, often implying the need to replace some of the components.
Now, if you have a leaking tap, that’s a tell-tale sign that the cartridge needs replacement. But sometimes, it’s not that easy to tell when your ceramic cartridge needs to be swapped out for a new one, often leaving us wanting to know more about the lifespan of ceramic cartridges.
So, how long do ceramic cartridges last? Well, let’s find out!
How Long Do Ceramic Tap Cartridges Last?
A ceramic cartridge can last anywhere between 5 to 10 years, but it really all comes down to how well you take care of it, the quality of the cartridge itself, and the hardness of the water you are using.
The lifespan of a ceramic cartridge isn’t definite. It depends on a variety of factors. A case in point is the frequency of the tap usage. More frequent usage means higher chances of the cartridge wearing out sooner.
For instance, if you have a single-lever mixer tap in your kitchen that gets used several times a day, then it’s likely that the cartridge will need replacement sooner than one in a bathroom that’s only used a couple of times a day.
Another factor is maintenance. It’s generally essential to make sure that you regularly clean your taps, both inside and out. That will prevent the buildup of limescale, which can shorten the lifespan of your ceramic cartridge.
In addition, the lifespan of your ceramic cartridge depends on the hardness of the water. If you live in an area with hard water, then it’s likely that your cartridge will need swapping more often than someone living in an area with soft water.
You see, hard water causes limescale to build up more quickly, leading to the deterioration of the ceramic discs, and that means you have to replace the whole cartridge and not just the discs.
What is a Ceramic Disc Cartridge?
A ceramic disc cartridge is a type of valve used in taps. It consists of two ceramic discs – the bottom disc and the top disc – held together by a metal sleeve. The discs control water flow, while the sleeve ensures that the discs stay aligned.
The bottom disc has a hole in the center, while the top disc features a series of small holes around the edge. When you turn the tap on, the water flows through these holes out through the spout.
However, when you turn the tap off, the cartridge has rubber O-ring seals, mechanisms that seal the two discs together. That prevents any flow of water through the faucet.
So generally, the primary work of a ceramic disc cartridge is to control the flow of water through the tap. It does this by opening and closing the gap between the two discs, which regulates the amount of water passing through.
But again, in modern mixer taps, ceramic disc cartridges go to the extent of controlling how cold and water mix in the faucet.
How Do You Remove a Ceramic Cartridge From a Tap?
You will need a special tool to remove a ceramic cartridge from a tap. In most cases, you will require a flatbed screwdriver, an Allen key, and an adjustable wrench.
Removing a cartridge from a tap seems like a straightforward task, right? And yes, it actually is! Only be careful when removing a cartridge from a tap. Otherwise, you may do more harm to your tap than good.
Follow these five simple steps to remove a ceramic cartridge from a tap safely;
Step 1: Remove The Hot/Cold Button
It’s the initial step. You will need a flatbed screwdriver for the job. The button is generally located on top of the tap, although you can also find it somewhere else. It all depends on your tap’s make.
Step 2: Remove The Bolt Holding The Top Section
Once you are done removing the hot/cold button, it’s time to eliminate the bolt that holds the top section of the tap. For this step, you need an Allen key. Just ensure that you get the right size to avoid stripping the bolt.
Step 3: Work On The Brass Nut
After undoing the bolt, you should notice a brass nut. For its removal, you’ll have to use an adjustable wrench. Hold the top section of the tap with one hand to avoid it from moving. With the other hand, use the wrench to loosen the brass nut.
Step 4: Remove The Brass Circlip
When you remove the brass nut, you should see a brass circlip. You can remove it by hand or use a pair of pliers. If you want, you can consider cleaning the inner side of the tap using a descaler or any other product that does the job.
Step 5: Pull Out The Cartridge
The last step is to take out the cartridge. Just pull it out carefully and inspect it for any damage. If everything looks good, you can clean it and reinstall it. However, if the cartridge is damaged, you’ll have to replace it with a new one.
How Do You Clean Ceramic Cartridges?
To clean your cartridge, you will need warm water and vinegar solution. You’ll also need a toothbrush to scrub any buildup both on the cartridge and the inside of the tap.
Let’s look at the steps:
- Remove The Cartridge. You can refer to the steps above.
- Dip the cartridge in a vinegar concoction in a bowl. You can consider mixing vinegar and water at equal ratios.
- Leave it for 10 minutes. That’s to allow the vinegar to do its work.
- Scrub the inside part of the tap. You will need a toothbrush for this. An old one should work just fine. But ensure that you don’t use the brush again for your teeth.
- Scrub the cartridge. You can still use the same brush. It will help you remove any buildup of mineral deposits.
- Rinse the parts. Use clean water to rinse the pieces. Make sure that you remove all the vinegar residue.
- Dry the parts. Use a clean towel or cloth to dry the parts before putting everything back together.
Do Ceramic Taps Wear Out?
Yes, ceramic taps will wear out with time and cause dripping and leaking. Even so, ceramic variety lasts longer than other types, which generally have a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years.
When your ceramic tap starts to wear out, you will need to replace the cartridge. You can do it yourself if you have some basic plumbing skills and the right tools. Otherwise, you can hire a professional plumber to do it for you.
Replacing the cartridge is generally a straightforward task that takes about 15 minutes.
One thing to keep in mind is that ceramic cartridges are not universal. That means you will need to buy the right one for your tap. To do this, you need to know the make and model of your faucet. Alternatively, you can take the old cartridge with you when buying a replacement.
Can Ceramic Taps Be Repaired?
You can repair ceramic taps, but it’s generally not worth the effort or cost. Ceramic taps don’t damage easily, so when you notice that your tap has begun to leak, that’s often a sure sign that the ceramic cartridge has served its time.
Ceramic taps will last longer than other options. However, when you notice any problems, it’s generally best to replace the cartridge rather than try to repair it.
Replacement is a relatively straightforward task that anyone with basic plumbing skills can do. Just ensure that you have the right tools and replacement parts, and you should be good to go.
Ceramic Disc Taps Advantages And Disadvantages
Ceramic disc taps have many advantages over other types. Perhaps that’s why they are becoming increasingly popular in homes and businesses. Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these taps.
Advantages of Ceramic Disc Taps:
One of the main advantages of ceramic disc taps is that they are very durable. In fact, they can last for many years without giving you any problems. This is in contrast to other types of taps, whose lifespan ranges from 2 to 3 years.
2. Easy To Maintain
Another significant advantage of ceramic disc taps is that they are straightforward to maintain. You don’t need to do anything special to keep them in good condition. Just ensure that you clean them regularly, and they should serve you well for many years.
3. Quick To Install
Ceramic disc taps are also very easy to install. You can do it yourself if you have some basic plumbing skills and the right tools. Otherwise, you can hire a professional plumber to do it for you.
Ceramic disc taps are also very cost-effective in the long run. Yes, they may be a bit more expensive than other types. However, they will last much longer, so you won’t need to replace them as often.
Disadvantages of Ceramic Disc Taps:
1. They Are Not Universal
One of the main disadvantages of ceramic disc taps is that they are not universal. That means you will need to buy the right one for your tap. To do this, you need to know the make and model of your tap. Alternatively, you can take the old cartridge with you when buying a replacement.
2. They Are Not as Common
Another downside of ceramic disc taps is that they are not as common as rubber washer taps. However, they are slowly gaining popularity because of their durability and easy maintenance.
3. You Might Need Professional Help To Install Them
If you don’t have any basic skills in plumbing, then you might need to hire a professional plumber to install your ceramic disc tap. This can add to the overall cost of the project.
Ceramic cartridges generally have a longer lifespan compared to other types. With proper care and maintenance, they can last for many years without giving you any problems. However, they are not universal, so you need to get the correct replacement part. Overall, ceramic disc taps are excellent for any home or business owner.