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to_dave007

Leaky Taps - 1/4 Turn Ceramic Cartridge - Limestone Scale

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to_dave007

Built my house in 2013/2014 and installed all the water taps in early 2014, so 4 years ago.  Since them I've learned that all the taps I installed have a 1/4 turn ceramic cartridge inside to actually turn the water flow on/off.  I had never seen these before, as all the taps I ever worked with back in Canada used the black rubber washer.  So when the tap leaked, simply open it up and replace the black washer and put it back together.  15 minutes and presto..  leak fixed.

About a year ago the lower taps (at bucket level) installed in my showers (both CR) were leaking.  It was at that time that I started to learn all about these damn ceramic cartridges.  Lesson 1 -  They are ALL different, and you need an exact match, and good luck finding an exact match in the Philippines.  There are literally 100's of different designs, each with different dimensions.  My solution at the time was to replace those taps with completely new ones, since I could unscrew those from the fitting that's embedded in the tile wall without issue,.

Now the other taps (shower on/off) are leaking in both CR.  Pulled one apart and as there is 1/4 turn ceramic cartridge inside,  This time I can't replace the fitting without busting a tile out of the wall.  Don't know the part number for the cartridge. Don't know the vendor for the fitting.  Can't remember if I bought it at Ace or Wilcon.

From what I read these ceramic cartridge water taps are supposed to last a long time.  Some are even warranted for life.  But !!!..  I live in rural Philippines and have a deep well..  in a limestone area..  so I have lots (and I mean LOTS) of limestone scale.  Add to that occasional sand particles in the water..  and I just don't think the ceramic cartridge is right for this environment.  We've shifted to rainwater for most of the year now, with a filter, but deep well water still needs to be used occasionally.  When I pull these cartridges out they are thoroughly discoloured with scale.

Anyone else having same experience?

Suggestions?

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M.C.A.

Every 1 - 4 years I have to replace my water faucets a real pain, sure wish I'd put quality ones in my Balikbyan Box with parts, everything is junk, made in China.  Even fake Germany products sold, they won't last.

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Aerosick
2 hours ago, to_dave007 said:

When I pull these cartridges out they are thoroughly discoloured with scale.

Anyone else having same experience?

Suggestions?

We soak these in vinegar + water solution. Scrub out the inside of the taps with a toothbrush to get rid of all the deposits. So far this has saved our 11 y/o taps. We're on Cebu City water.

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to_dave007
56 minutes ago, Aerosick said:

We soak these in vinegar + water solution. Scrub out the inside of the taps with a toothbrush to get rid of all the deposits. So far this has saved our 11 y/o taps. We're on Cebu City water.

thanks..  I tried that with the first ones I took out a year ago..  with vinegar..  didn't scrub with toothbrush..  but when I put it al back together it leaked as bad or worse then it did before.  To me it seemed that the cartridge wasn't properly seating on the seating flange within the fixture.  No amount of fiddling could stop the leak, so eventually replaced the whole faucet.  But like I said it was easy with those first faucets because I could just unscrew the whole faucet and screw a new one in.  Not so easy with the shower tap.

With the shower taps it doesn't help that we positioned the tap directly under the shower head, so that drips from the shower land directly on the tap handle.  So over the past 4 years there was aa continuous building of limestone on the outside (which we can clean off) and on the inside of the handle..  in the splines where the handle fits on the ceramic cartridge. Welded together with limestone.  When it came time to remove the handle it was damn near impossible, and when it did come off it took the splined part of the cartridge with it..  so no longer any means to put the handle back on.

So.  for the shower tap I have 2 choices:

  1. Find a replacement cartridge.  To do this I must FIRST find a part number to buy.  I see online references to what amounts to a catalog of these cartridges, with dimensions. It seems I must match the dimensions of the cartridge I have in hand with one in the catalog, and then try to source that part number.   Generally speaking the hardware stores are completely useless on this subject, as they don't stock the cartridges (and there are so many so how COULD they even if they wanted to).
  2. Bust out a tile, and replace the entire tap, which means cutting into the pipes.  Ugh..  want to avoid if I can.  Though at least I have 5 left over tiles..  for just such a situation.  But before I cut into the tiles I want to have way of resolving this that guarantees I don't need to cut into tiles in another 4 years..
Edited by to_dave007
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to_dave007
2 hours ago, M.C.A. said:

Every 1 - 4 years I have to replace my water faucets a real pain, sure wish I'd put quality ones in my Balikbyan Box with parts, everything is junk, made in China.  Even fake Germany products sold, they won't last.

do you have these ceramic cartridges in yours as well?

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lopburi3

Here in Thailand have found most are indeed the same size and easy to replace - expect larger mom & pop hardware stores used by contractors may indeed have valves available and able to match if you provide yours.  I also make sure all taps are external - should not be any need to break any tile to replace if it comes to that - but do not use mixer valves or fixed shower heads as find point of use heaters and one water source hand showers much easier and effective to use and a whole lot cheaper. 

The problem is unclean water (grit) which makes a scratch and it is forever leak once that happens.  A good house filter system between well and tap might make life a lot easier, and cleaning of fixtures and tile a lot easier.  They do require some maintenance (back flow and change of filter materials) but should be worth the effort.

Edited by lopburi3
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to_dave007
40 minutes ago, lopburi3 said:

Here in Thailand have found most are indeed the same size and easy to replace - expect larger mom & pop hardware stores used by contractors may indeed have valves available and able to match if you provide yours.  I also make sure all taps are external - should not be any need to break any tile to replace if it comes to that - but do not use mixer valves or fixed shower heads as find point of use heaters and one water source hand showers much easier and effective to use and a whole lot cheaper. 

The problem is unclean water (grit) which makes a scratch and it is forever leak once that happens.  A good house filter system between well and tap might make life a lot easier, and cleaning of fixtures and tile a lot easier.  They do require some maintenance (back flow and change of filter materials) but should be worth the effort.

Thanks..  The filter (5 microns) was installed last year, so grit should no longer be an issue in house.

Have visited several hardware stores both large and small, and so far what I'm finding is that they don't seem to have cartridges, even for the faucets and valves they sell..

We don't have central hot water (shower heater only..  off most of the time), so no mixer valves throughout the house.  And thanks.. I am already concluding that if I break into the tiles to fix this problem, the replacement tap must be external so I don't need to break in to tiles again. 

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M.C.A.
1 hour ago, to_dave007 said:

do you have these ceramic cartridges in yours as well?

I'm not sure what you mean by ceramic cartridges so I could be off on the issue, but I'm referring to the poor quality of the valves and leaks and hard water issues with water faucets I've purchased mine from at Ace, D.I.Y and other chained hardware stores and it's rare if they last more than 5 years, these faucets run about 1000 pesos each.  My outside water hose faucet is 250 pesos and has to be changed every 2 years, the hoses and cheap nozzles are another story.

Another issue is the shower head holes need to be cleaned at least every 6 months and it's almost better to replace them every two years, we aren't hooked up to city water yet because of our location so it's well water and an electric pump.

Toilet automatic flush and bidet all have to be cleaned several times I should clean those todaym, because of hard water calcium built up or with the bidet, low quality rubber hose that breaks (Toilet and bidet both made in Germany), I now use a motorcycle fuel line, seems to work well, if I ask for parts at a hardware store they'll tell me to buy another unit, I can't afford this kind of maintenance anymore.

Another issue when changing the sink faucet is the flexible line usually will need to be changed out also, been there done this so many times.

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Woolf

Lucky for me, none of my taps are embed in the walls

if a tap start leaking I just replace it with a new one

image.thumb.png.3b0c9146a0ed4c111c0480fd0e048557.png

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lopburi3
10 minutes ago, to_dave007 said:

Have visited several hardware stores both large and small, and so far what I'm finding is that they don't seem to have cartridges, even for the faucets and valves they sell.

Found most are the same size but shaft length may be different.  Would not find in chain/large places here but the larger private shophouse type hardware stores that service workers/contractors often have a large assortment of such items in the back/upstairs where only they can look.  Here we might ask a motorcycle taxi driver to look for one if have no luck ourselves.

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to_dave007
15 minutes ago, M.C.A. said:

I'm not sure what you mean by ceramic cartridges so I could be off on the issue, but I'm referring to the poor quality of the valves and leaks and hard water issues with water faucets I've purchased mine from at Ace, D.I.Y and other chained hardware stores and it's rare if they last more than 5 years, these faucets run about 1000 pesos each.  My outside water hose faucet is 250 pesos and has to be changed every 2 years, the hoses and cheap nozzles are another story.

Another issue is the shower head holes need to be cleaned at least every 6 months and it's almost better to replace them every two years, we aren't hooked up to city water yet because of our location so it's well water and an electric pump.

Toilet automatic flush and bidet all have to be cleaned several times I should clean those todaym, because of hard water calcium built up or with the bidet, low quality rubber hose that breaks (Toilet and bidet both made in Germany), I now use a motorcycle fuel line, seems to work well, if I ask for parts at a hardware store they'll tell me to buy another unit, I can't afford this kind of maintenance anymore.

Another issue when changing the sink faucet is the flexible line usually will need to be changed out also, been there done this so many times.

Seeing just about the same issues here....  we had 3 years of deep well water use and just moved to rain water a year ago..  so I am "hoping" to see less issues..  we'll see.

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to_dave007
2 minutes ago, lopburi3 said:

Found most are the same size but shaft length may be different.  Would not find in chain/large places here but the larger private shophouse type hardware stores that service workers/contractors often have a large assortment of such items in the back/upstairs where only they can look.  Here we might ask a motorcycle taxi driver to look for one if have no luck ourselves.

thanks..  I'll give that a try.. there are a few places like you suggest here. 

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to_dave007
16 minutes ago, Woolf said:

Lucky for me, none of my taps are embed in the walls

if a tap start leaking I just replace it with a new one

image.thumb.png.3b0c9146a0ed4c111c0480fd0e048557.png

Yes..  if I need to open it up, I am thinking to move in exactly this direction.  Thanks for the photo.

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A_Simple_Man

Thanks for this topic.  Now I know why I could not get a Philippine plumber to fix my taps.  He just said "need new ones" and I thought it was a language problem, but I guess that is what they do here. (EDIT:  These are 1,000 peso taps I am talking about.  I thought I DID buy good ones.  And they are only a couple years old.)

Well that is what they do with some exceptions.  The gf's relatives have fixed many water leaks for me with a bit of old inner tube.

Edited by A_Simple_Man
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Woolf

Most my taps have been replaced with ceramic plastic types

our deep well here is about 2 km from the sea and salt water is creeping in

got tired of changing taps because of rust

the one in the picture, no problem for 3 years

image.png.1f0d8ddc3303d1fb62c292d875487950.png

 

Edited by Woolf
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