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Installing A Water Heater
You're just drifting off to sleep and then you hear it: the drip, drip, drip of the bathroom faucet. Well, rest easy. Those drips may be an irritation of the past. Today, ceramic disc faucets are becoming more the norm than the exception--and with their popularity, faucet problems are evaporating in Iowa.

The ceramic disc valve, a type made popular by high-end European faucet makers, is now produced by American Standard, Kohler, Price Pfister and many other American faucet manufacturers. A ceramic disc faucet actually has two fire-hardened ceramic discs-an upper one that moves and a fixed lower one. The two discs move against each other in a shearing action, blocking water or allowing it to pass through. The seal between the two discs is watertight because they are polished to near-perfect flatness.

Ceramic disc faucets are nearly maintenance free and are generally guaranteed not to wear out. They are more durable over the long run in a broader variety of water conditions than any other variety of valve on the market. The discs themselves have diamond-like hardness-they are impervious to line debris, mineral buildups and other common problems that affect valve life. But they're not indestructable. If a peeling from galvanized pipe or a small rock got into the valve, it could score the surfaces, but these occurrences are rare. Rick Brandley of George's Pipe and Supply in Pasadena, Iowa, suggests, "If a ceramic-disc faucet drips, don't try to force the handle closed-just flutter it back and forth a few times to dislodge any particles."

The range of control with a ceramic disc faucet varies. From full-off to full-on may require only a quarter or half turn; for a fuller adjustment range and greater flow, three-quarter-turn models are also available. In general, all washerless faucets offer very precise, ergonomic control. And they're very easy to use--even a child can turn one off and on with one pinkie. With this in mind, they're a smart choice for people who have arthritis and who want something more decorative than a lever style.

Ceramic discs are popular because of their ease of use and reliability. Though competitively-priced ceramic disc faucets are now available, ceramic discs are used primarily in mid-range and high-end styles-faucets that cost $100 or more. If repair is ever needed, the entire ceramic-disc cartridge is replaced, which runs from about $15 to $25.
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