Faucet cartridges can last several years, but will eventually need to be replaced. Over time, they experience general wear and tear, corrosion, and become covered in hard water mineral deposits. This causes the faucet to function improperly, commonly leading to water leaks and difficulty operating the handles. Generally speaking, when you start to experience water leaks when the handles are in the off position and the faucet handles become difficult to turn, this is when you should replace the cartridge.
What is a Faucet Cartridge and How Do They Work?
A cartridge faucet was the first single-handled mixing faucet, invented by Al Moen after he was scalded by hot water too often. Since then, modern cartridges have become more complex and elegant than Moen’s original design. However, they all follow the same basic principle.
Before the cartridge faucet was invented, the double-handle compression faucet was the only model around. With these faucets, one handle controls the cold and one handle controls the hot. Each valve has a screw threads that tighten a washer onto the water inlet in order to stop the flow of water. However, as these faucets get older they become very unreliable. The valves rust, become more difficult to turn, and you could easily open one too far and get burned.
This is where cartridge faucets come in, which typically feature a single handle attached to a valve housing that has inlets for both the hot and cold water. The cartridge is found inside of the housing and is connected to the handle. Its purpose is to block water from both inlets when the faucet is turned off. It also features deliberately placed holes for allowing both the hot and cold water to flow when turned on.
By rotating the handle in one direction, these holes will allow for hot water to flow and rotating the handle the other direction will allow cold water. Therefore, the cartridge allows you to control both the water temperature and the flow rate.
Single Handle vs. Double Handle
Cartridge faucets may be either single handle or double handle. Most bathroom faucets that are outfitted with two handles are cartridge-style. This means that instead of one cartridge, each faucet handle has its own cartridge – one for hot and one for cold. In most cases, regardless of which handle style you have, the cartridges are plastic and are held in position with a metal retaining nut.
If you notice that your two-handle cartridge faucet is leaking, you’ll need to determine which side the leak is coming from. To do this, feel the water temperature to figure out which cartridge needs to be replaced. In some cases, however, both sides may be leaking.
When Should I Replace My Faucet Cartridge?
If you know that your faucet is several years old and you’re noticing any of the following symptoms, it is probably time to replace one or both of your faucet cartridges:
- Leaks when the handle is in the off position
- Faucet handle is hard to operate
If you need to replace one of the two cartridges – hot or cold – we recommended that you replace both of them at the same time. Having an issue with one, most likely means that you’ll need to replace the other one in the near future. Replacing both faucet cartridges at once will save you money, time, inconvenience, stress, and labor costs down the line.
Santa Cruz Faucet Replacement and Repair
Whether you have a leaky faucet or faucet handles that have become challenging to turn, look no further than Anytime Plumbing for all your faucet replacement and repair needs. While you might assume that you can repair a leaky faucet and replace a sink cartridge yourself, one wrong move and you could end up with a bigger problem than when you first started.
Fortunately, our professional plumbers have years of experience in repairing and replacing faucets in Santa Cruz County, and beyond. Our wide array of services come at affordable rates and will effectively take the hassle and worry out of any of your plumbing related concerns. We are available 24/7 to assess the problem and find a quick, convenient, and affordable solution.
Anytime Plumbing is locally owned and operated, so you can count on us for all your plumbing needs – whether it’s a clogged toilet, sewer line repair, drain cleaning, or a faucet replacement. Our pricing is always up-front and we offer a 100% service guarantee.
Don’t hesitate to give Anytime Plumbing a call today at (831) 431-6593 to receive an estimate and start scheduling your faucet repair in Santa Cruz County!