Many popular faucet manufacturers, such as Grohe and Moen, produce exceptional quality faucets for the tub and shower using a cartridge system. The cartridge system relies on a single cartridge that mixes hot and cold water when you manipulate the faucet handle. The cartridge in a cartridge system is intended to be replaced every three to five years due to significant build-up of calcium and lime deposits. Failure to regularly clean or replace a cartridge can result in a loss of water pressure or leaking.
1. Shut off the water main to your tub and shower faucet. The water main is located under the sink or hidden inside cabinets. The water main is one or two rotatable handles connected to solid copper piping or flexible metal tubing. Turn the handle(s) 1/4 turn to the left (counterclockwise) to shut them off.
2. Insert the Allen wrench into the star shaped aperture located in the center (or underneath) the faucet handle.
3. Turn the Allen wrench counterclockwise four to six times in order to loosen the faucet and faucet handle. This should loosen them enough to be easily removed.
4. Remove the faucet and faucet handle. This will expose the cartridge system and cartridge.
5. Grasp the cartridge with your adjustable pliers, turning the cartridge clockwise until you hear a clicking sound. Once you hear the clicking sound, remove the cartridge by pulling it straight out of the wall using the pliers.
Ceramic, composite and metal cartridges can be cleaned and reused in most cases, greatly extending their life. Inspect your cartridge for visible dents or chips, if you discover any, replace the cartridge. Undamaged cartridges should be soaked in a mixture of clean tap water and vinegar (10%) for several hours. After soaking, scrub the cartridges with an old tooth brush or soft bristled brush to remove the excess calcium build-up.
Plumbing tasks often require you to open up or access water lines that are typically under extreme temperatures (capable of burning human skin) and incredible amounts of pressure. Failure to shut off a line while attempting a plumbing task can cause serious injury to yourself or damage to your room.
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