How to Repair a Ceramic Disc Valve That Drips

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One of the most durable faucets on the market, a ceramic disc faucet may still develop a leak at its base. Ceramic discs are very hard and rarely wear out; rather, the tiny crevices of the disc may become clogged with debris, the lubricating grease inside the faucet base may have worn out or the rubber O-rings may be worn. Usually a thorough cleaning and O-ring replacement will fix the leak, and your faucet will be working like new again.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean rag
  • Towel
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench set
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Old toothbrush
  • White vinegar
  • Silicone grease
  • Turn off the water supply to the sink. Most water shut off valves are in the cabinet below the sink. Turn the two valves in a clockwise direction to shut off the water.

  • Turn on the faucet to allow residual water to flow out of the pipes. Place a rag in the drain to prevent small parts and tools from slipping down the drain. Lay a towel in the sink to protect the sink surface from scratches as you use the tools.

  • Unscrew the small screw that holds the handle onto the base. In most cases, the screw is located on the underside of the handle or the base of the faucet. Some faucet screws are easily removed with a phillips screwdriver; other faucets require an Allen wrench. Remove the handle of the faucet from the base. Lift the cover of the faucet base to expose the ceramic disc inside.

  • Unscrew two small screws holding the ceramic disk to the base of the faucet. Lift the disc out with your fingers or needle nose pliers.

  • Use the needle nose pliers to remove the small O-rings on the bottom of the ceramic disc.

  • Clean the ceramic disc with an old toothbrush and white vinegar. The vinegar will remove any calcium deposits and accumulations of grease.

  • Take the disc and the O-rings to the local hardware store or plumbing supply store to purchase exact replicas.

  • Dab a clean finger in the silicone grease and rub a thin coating of grease onto the new O-rings. Insert the new O-rings back into the ceramic disc.

  • Reinsert the ceramic disc cartridge into the faucet base. Replace the screws to secure the disc cartridge into the base.

  • Replace the base cover. Replace the faucet handle and screw on the faucet handle.

  • Turn on the water supply and test the new parts. If the faucet still drips, remove the faucet handle, base and ceramic disc cartridge. Replace the cartridge with a new cartridge and reinstall the base and faucet handle.

Tips & Warnings

  • Professional plumbers usually recommend that you replace the entire ceramic disc cartridge rather than replacing smaller ceramic disc components such as the O-rings or washers. Ceramic disc cartridges are inexpensive and usually when one small part begins to wear, additional parts will most likely wear in the near future.
  • Some ceramic disc cartridges contain other replaceable parts besides the O-rings, such as rubber cartridge seals and a plastic plate. If your faucet has these parts, replace them as well.

References

  • "Ultimate Guide to Plumbing: Complete Projects for the Home"; Merle Henkenius; 2006
  • "The New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual"; Reader's Digest; 1991
  • "Popular Mechanics Complete Home How-To"; Albert Jackson and David Day; 2009
  • "Renovating a Bathroom"; Fine Homebuilding; 2003
  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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