The annoying rubber washer found in older faucets is becoming a thing of the past. Ceramic disc faucets are much tougher, better able to deal with extreme temperatures, and can go for years without needing repairs or replacing.
You can tell a ceramic disc faucet at a glance. They use one lever on top of a broad cylindrical faucet body, and you can operate them just by giving the lever a quarter-turn.
Rubber washers harden and degrade over time, and ceramic disc faucets are gaining ground in the market partly for this reason. These faucets have a pair of slotted discs stacked on top of one another and placed underneath the water supply pipe. The lower disc stays fixed in place while the upper one rotates above it controlling the water flow. The discs align to allow water to flow, and moving the discs out of this alignment stops the flow of water. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of this style of faucet:
- Because they are very hard, ceramic discs aren’t subject to the same wear that traditional rubber washers experience. The ceramic is strong enough to resist cracking and stand up to extreme heat and cold. The ceramic discs also protect the metal of the valve from erosion.
- The older style of faucet needs two full turns of the handle to activate the flow, but low-friction ceramic valves allow the faucet to operate with just a quarter-turn of the handle. This means that you aren’t screwing the handle into a washer every time you use the faucet.
- Because it’s so easy to turn the water on and off, ceramic disc faucets are suitable for people with disabilities or health conditions that restrict their grip. These handles never jam and you don’t need to crank them off tightly to avoid leaking. A simple touch of a finger, wrist or hand is enough to fully start or stop the faucet.
- Often, ceramic disc faucets include cartridges that allow you to set the water temperature. This protects you from being scalded by extremely hot water or chilled by very cold water.
- Flow-adjustable cartridges allow you to regulate the water flow, too. If you’re concerned about conserving water, this is a feature you’ll be happy to have.
- If you’ve got a little basic plumbing knowledge, it’s not hard to dismantle the cartridge and discs for cleaning and maintenance whenever you need to.
- Because there is water flowing between the discs, over time the ceramic discs will get eroded. However, this is a slow process and most discs can go for several years without needing to be replaced.
- Ceramic discs can be negatively impacted by hard water, making them less durable. If you’ve got hard water, it’s best to fit an in-line filter into the ceramic disc faucet. A filter of this type will remove some of the minerals and foreign particles, protecting the discs from corrosion and damage.
- The small turn and the lack of friction may take some time to get used to. At first you might find yourself turning the handle too forcefully, unleashing a huge gush of water. If you force the faucet too hard, you may even break the discs inside the cartridge.
- If the discs break, erode or become damaged, you will have to replace the whole cartridge, as you normally can’t buy the discs separately. The good news is that these cartridges come in standard sizes, making replacements easy to find.
- One final disadvantage of ceramic disc faucets is that they tend to cost more initially than the faucets that use rubber washers. Still, in the long run they are no more expensive because the discs last longer and need less maintenance.
Once you weigh all the advantages and disadvantages, it seems that ceramic disc faucets are less trouble, and they are more cost-effective over long periods of time.