Home bathroom and sanitaryFaucet / single lever mixer is difficult - what to do?

Faucet / single lever mixer is difficult - what to do?

  • Causes for the binding
  • preparation
  • Remove limescale deposits
  • Fitting grease
  • Related Links

If the faucet can no longer move properly or only with great effort, it is stiff. A stiff single-lever mixer makes it difficult to set the desired amount of water and temperature, which is just annoying. Lime and broken parts are often responsible for the stiffness, which can usually only be remedied with a simple repair that makes the faucet useful again.

Taps are one of the most commonly used household appliances and are operated day in and day out. Over time, this can either lead to calcification or wear of the faucet and it is not only difficult to operate. Then it is either time for a repair or the lever mixer must be lubricated so that it can be used easily again. Due to the design of the parts, it is often necessary to disassemble them, but this is not difficult. Depending on the degree of binding, this points to the cause that is responsible for the problem.

Causes for the binding

If the faucet is stiff, one of the parts may not move properly due to a problem. Blame are here above all:

  • calcium deposits
  • damaged parts
  • new cartridge necessary
  • new faucet upper part necessary

While the classic faucet is adjusted via a corresponding upper part, the single-lever mixer uses a ceramic cartridge. This opens two ceramic plates, depending on the direction in which the handle is rotated and so it is possible to adjust the temperature continuously and via a lever. So once you have just one handle for both temperature settings, you have a single-lever mixer, while separate handles for the temperature of a faucet is present. Depending on which variant you own, the necessary spare parts that are used for the repair change.


In all these repairs, it is necessary to dismantle the faucet, which releases the lock function. The blocking function ensures that no water runs out of the tap uncontrollably when it is not actuated, which is no longer the case during disassembly. For this reason, you must first turn off the water either via the shut-off valve or the main tap. However, as the main tap has an effect on the water pipes of the entire house, in the case of a multiple dwelling, the residents must first be informed in writing of the repair so that they can adapt to it. Do not forget the preparation, otherwise you put everything under water.

Dismantle the mixer tap

Depending on the type of faucet you have, the disassembly changes. For a classic faucet, proceed as follows:

  • pull the handles off
  • then unscrew the chrome covers
  • Now the cockerel is free, which only has to be unscrewed

The cartridges for single-lever mixers are harder to remove. Here's how to do it:

  • look for a small cap on the handle, which you can then open with a slotted screwdriver
  • underneath is a grub screw which you release with an Allen key
  • alternatively it is a Phillips screw
  • Now you can see the cartridge, which is turned out with an open-end wrench
  • refrain from using pliers, which could damage the parts
  • Now the cartridge can be changed or decalcified

Note: Depending on the manufacturer, the number of flaps that can be opened differs because single-lever mixers are more complicated in design than faucets. They also do not have standard molded spare parts, so only spare parts can be obtained directly from the manufacturer.

Remove limescale deposits

A typical problem for stiff cocks are limescale, which is typical of German households. After many years, the hard water has an increasing effect on the interstices and deposits the lime there, making it difficult to turn. If it's really just limescale, you just have to descale the parts:

  • disassemble the tap completely into the individual parts
  • clean them under running water and dry with a soft cotton cloth
  • do not use rough materials
  • Now wipe another cloth with either vinegar essence or citric acid
  • Now rub all parts off and make sure to thoroughly remove the lime
  • Over time, the parts become shiny again and no longer stingy
  • For stubborn lime deposits, the parts can also be soaked in vinegar for a few hours
  • then clean with water and dry

Once you've finished descaling, you can reassemble the faucet and see if it's smooth again. Since lime can usually be removed quite easily, it is advantageous if only a calcification is present. If the lime is extremely pronounced, you should rather opt for the replacement of the parts.

Damaged parts

Depending on how old or frequently used your faucets are, the higher the likelihood that something will be damaged. In this case, a spare part is necessary. Most often you need to replace the following parts:

  • cartridges
  • Hahn Tops
  • seals
  • screw
  • handles

During disassembly, look for cracks, breaks, or chipped parts that clearly indicate that a change is necessary. If no damaged areas or lime are recognizable with single-lever mixers, the cartridge is the reason for the stiffness. In this there are two ceramic tiles, which wear out over time and thus make setting the water temperature extremely difficult. Gaskets are also a problem here, as they like to tear and thereby push themselves between the moving parts. In addition, the faucet runs out at the sealing points, which is relatively easy to recognize.

Fitting grease

Now that you have taken care of the individual parts, it is time for assembly. Theoretically, you proceed during assembly as in disassembly, but only in the opposite direction. However, it is still important to use a valve grease, which acts as a lubricant for the faucet. It ensures that the moving parts do not rub against each other and run smoothly. The lubricant can over time, which is also the reason for a stiff single-lever mixer. Apply this generously to the movable spare parts and then reinstall the valve.

Tip: The necessary lubricant can be obtained either in hardware stores or in the specialized trade for sanitary needs. It does not drip and is perfect for all faucets that are flexible and also have different water temperatures.

Related Links

  • Change faucet
  • Repair the faucet
  • Descale faucet
  • Dripping faucet
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