Tap ceramic cartridge hell

20 May 2015
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United Kingdom
There's a leak from the kitchen tap from the hot water side. Very subtle but there's a few drops on the sink over the course of the day. Being the clever clogs I am, I decided to have a go at it. Figured watching a couple of youtube videos would help. They're fine if things are straightforward but don't tell you what to do when you run into problems.

Turning off the supply and removing the taps themselves was easy. Then came the pain. First off, I tried using an adjustable miniwrench. Should have used a socket to remove the cartridge. Cold water cartridge wouldn't budge. Was going to give up but as I screwed the tap back on, it moved around. I rotated it round and ended up somehow removing the cartridge (with the tap still attached!). Unscrewed the tap and now have a cold ceramic cartridge.

Thought I'd attempt the hot water tap. Called on the powers of Greyskull and it budged. But then I removed not just the cartridge but the washer thing that attaches the cartridge to the tap, so now I'm left with this:


How do I get that ring thing off?
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Try popping off the circlip, the main nut should then unscrew releasing the ring.
Try popping off the circlip, the main nut should then unscrew releasing the ring.
I did that and all it allowed me to do was remove the innards of the cartridge.
Your problems have only just started...
Tell me about it. I popped to B&Q, found one that looked the same in terms of size and replaced the cold tap since that was one that I could replace. Put back the old hot water tap cartridge, tightened everything up and opened the feeds. The tap started pouring a small amount of water. Despite making sure both cartridges were in the closed position. If I turned them open, the water would flow like it normally would (both hot and cold taps).

So I swapped the new cold water cartridge for the old one. Now the leak is worse. I guess I must have done something to the cartridges when I removed them? What's gone wrong.
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Probably but at the moment I need the tap to be working.

I played around with the supply. If I turn off both hot and cold feeds, the leak from the spout stops. If I turn on the cold feed, there's no water from the spout unless I turn the cold water tap on (ie normal behaviour). If I turn on the hot feed (irrespective of whether cold feed is on/off), hot water comes out of the spout. This is when the hot water tap is shut. If I turn on the hot water tap, more hot water comes out.

The hot water cartridge is the one that has the washer/nut thing attached to it. I've tried swapping the innards with the old cold water cartridge with no change.
Old post I know but a few facts to help people out.

There are approx 2000 different types of separate hot and cold ceramic disc cartridges installed in taps in the UK.
This is a list of what changes:
  • height from shoulder to top of splines (22-120mm)
  • size of cartridge (1/2", 3/4" 3/8")
  • Number of splines (15-56)
  • Length of splines (5-12mm)
  • opening direction (cw & ccw)
  • shroud thread or not
Tap manufacturers DO NOT want you to repair the tap cos it a lost sale. The cost of manufacturers replacements reflect the lost margin of a new tap. There are a finite amount of tap exteriors but almost an infinite amount of interiors. Many taps are identical outside but you will NEVER be able to guess what's on the inside. This is why most plumbers sigh and recommend replacements. As it then becomes a distress purchase cheap is fitted and the endless cycle of needless waste continues.
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