What Is A Cartridge Faucet?

Although you might not be familiar with the term cartridge faucet, the chances are excellent that you are pretty intimate with the product. If your home has a kitchen or bathroom faucet with only a single handle to control both hot and cold water, you own a cartridge faucet. The claim to fame is that these faucets are less likely to scald with too much hot water. The one handle regulates the mixture of hot and cold water, rather than relying on you to open two valves in unison.

How The Cartridge Works

Inside a cartridge faucet, there is a single valve housing connected to one handle. The cartridge blocks both the hot and cold water supply when the handle is in the off position. As you move the single handle, the cartridge turns inside the housing to line up two carefully placed holes. These holes control how much hot and cold water flows out of the faucet. When the handle rotates to one side, only the hot water channel lines up, and you get only hot water. When you turn the handle in the other direction, only the cold water channel lines up. 

Old VS. New Cartridges

When Al Moen first created the cartridge faucet, the cartridges were made of metal. New models have a plastic cartridge. But neither of these materials is capable of creating a water-tight seal. That job is left to rubber gaskets in the valve seats and the rubber O-rings around the cartridge. When you discover that your single handle faucet is leaking, the issue is typically in the rubber parts and not the cartridge. That makes the repair process much less complicated.

Fixing That Drip

YouTube will be your best friend when it is time to fix that dripping cartridge faucet. Numerous videos show DIY fans how to remove the cartridge from their faucet and replace the worn-out rubber gaskets and O-rings. Your biggest challenge might be getting the correct parts for your brand of faucets. If you can see the Moen name anywhere on the tap, you know it is a cartridge unit because that is the only type of single-handle faucet they make. Other common brands like Delta and American Standard use a ball valve or disc valve that requires a different repair when leaking. But a little time on google and YouTube is sure to answer your questions about parts and replacement processes.

The Success Stories Of Single Handle Faucets

Many homeowners are happy to stay with their old standard two-knob faucets. And if that is your favorite, then stick with what you know and like. However, if you are open to trying something new, there are many advantages to the single lever faucet.

In the kitchen, a single lever faucet is ideal for the messy cook or baker. Turning the water on with the back of your hand has never been easier. It avoids a handle covered in raw food or other contaminants. The lever is also great when you are rinsing something under the water you can’t place in the sink. Off and on with one hand allows you to carefully rinse fish or meat without the fear of raw meat getting on the faucet handles. A single handle is also perfect for a utility sink where you wash dirty hands and don’t want to cover the handle with dirt, mud, or grease. For professional help upgrading to single-handle, lever faucets in your home, call (530) 244-9727. The licensed plumbers at Steve Beaton Plumbing are here to get the job done quickly and cost-effectively.