Installers lament… (why plumbers are blamed)

Plumbers across the globe are blamed every minute of every day for taps having to be replaced rather than be repaired. We all have our faults, but the genuine irony of this blame is that we are entirely innocent for once; it’s not our fault !

Richard Parkinson of American Standard Inc (ASI) filed his original patent for the Ceramic Disc Faucet (tap) in 1972 and his idea was to eradicate all of the inherent problems associated with the first screw down tap patent of 1845 filed by Guest & Chrimes of Rotherham and make life easier for people. The valve we all today think of as an American Standard invention is actually a design patented by the Speakman Company in 1986.

By the 1980s the UK were installing these types of cartridges in quantities; today the Speakman design seems the universal default. Production has mostly moved to China where today they are churned out by the hundreds of millions each year at prices the West struggle to even buy the raw materials for. China apparently makes over 85% the world’s taps and cartridges.

Compare an original Speakman cartridge with one made today and you’ll see little change in how its construction. However, manufacturers have introduced a myriad of small variations into other aspects of it and these variations are the ultimate cause of taps being more likely to be replaced today rather than repaired – regardless of their age, cost or overall condition. The needless, wasteful replacement of otherwise perfectly serviceable taps has become our default and it’s this that drove TapMedic‘s development.

Some of the variations to be found are:

– direction of cartridge opening
– size of cartridge
– ceramic disc size
– flow rate
– outer spline diameter
– spline count
– spline height
– overall height
– shrouded or not

When you calculate the number of variations, by multiplying the current individual offerings together, the answer comes out at over 345,000 …

Repair not replace - TapMedic in a Pegler RuneIn real life though not all variations are available in all sizes – yet – so we end up with a genuine number of variations (so far) of just over 2000. Obviously still far more than any sane plumber would/could source, pay for and then carry with them.

TapMedic cartridge bodies (½ & ¾”) are universal. The spindles come separately (currently 18, 20, 24 & 28 splines with usable lengths from 25mm to 120mm so you fit the one you need on the day. The shroud adapter is also separate so, again, it’s only fitted if it’s needed – as indeed it is on tap in the image; otherwise the shroud would fall off!

In our extensive field testing, we have managed to achieve a staggering >90% success rate of instantly repairing on-site versus <10% without the kit. It’s very simple. It’s very quick. It’s very reliable and it’s very profitable for installers. In fact, it is more profitable, and far less hassle, than cheap tap changes and, most importantly, you have a far happier customer as a consequence.

Instead of reasons why taps are so rarely repaired, we, and those we continue to speak to, TapMedic is the reason taps will rarely be replaced. That’s great news for customers, wonderful news for installers, good news for British Industry and the environment but rotten news for Chinese manufacturers …

What do you think? Our Twitter feed is here or email us at blog@tapmedic.co.uk

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