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American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Ceramic Valve Cores

The  ceramic valve core from our kitchen faucet certainly qualifies for a spot on the bottom flange of the I-beam across our basement serving as a display case / collection area for shop curiosities, mementos, and the like. I am, if nothing else, a creature of fixed habits, because the spot where the core belonged already had one:

American Standard Ceramic Faucet Valve Cores - old vs new

American Standard Ceramic Faucet Valve Cores – old vs new

The core on the left dates back to the 2016 replacement, so they’ve apparently decided plastic will work fine for the handle socket.

Having the ceramic core fail after two years suggests the manufacturing process needs attention, though. I can still wring the slabs together, though, and they’d need a drop of oil to serve as bearing surfaces.





American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Cleaning and O-Rings

The O-rings on the spout of our American Standard kitchen faucet wore out again; having described that repair many times, there’s no need to say much more about it. I didn’t want to get into this repair while thinking about the hot limit problem, but I did check to make sure the box under the sink had some O-ring replacement kits.

A bench vise with soft jaws holds the spout while you remove the escutcheon ring retainer:

Kitchen faucet spout - in vise

Kitchen faucet spout – in vise

Basically, just tap around the ring with a long drift punch and it’ll eventually fall out onto the reasonably clean rag below it.

The interior of the spout before cleaning shows why you should never look into your plumbing:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - before

Kitchen faucet spout interior – before

After a few hours in a white vinegar bath and a few minutes of scrubbing with a ScotchBrite pad:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - after - 1

Kitchen faucet spout interior – after – 1

Another view:

Kitchen faucet spout interior - after - 2

Kitchen faucet spout interior – after – 2

Obviously, you could do better, but it’s hard to get excited about the last few nodules. For whatever it’s worth, the nodules grow despite our water softener; I have no clue what’s going on in there.

A few wipes of silicone grease, reassemble in reverse order, apply a firm shove, and it’s leakless again. For a while, anyhow.



American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Ceramic Valve

It seems everybody must disassemble an American Standard kitchen faucet to replace the spout seal O-rings, as my description of How It’s Done has remained in the top five most popular posts since I wrote it up in 2009.

About two years ago, I replaced the valve cartridge with a (presumably) Genuine Replacement; unlike the O-rings, the original valve lasted for nigh onto a decade. A few weeks ago, the replacement valve began squeaking and dribbling: nothing lasts any more. Another (presumably) Genuine Replacement, this time from Amazon, seems visually identical to the previous one and we’ll see how long it lasts.

I always wondered what was inside those faucets and, after breaking off the latching tabs in the big housing to the upper right, now I know:

American Standard Faucet - disassembled

American Standard Faucet – disassembled

You get a bunch of stuff for twelve bucks! The stainless steel valve actuator is off to the right, still grabbed in the bench vise.

The valve action comes from those two intricate ceramic blocks with a watertight sliding fit:

American Standard Faucet - ceramic valve parts

American Standard Faucet – ceramic valve parts

In fact, you (well, I) can wring the slabs together, just like a pair of gauge blocks. That kind of ultra-smooth surface must be useful for some other purpose, even though I can’t imagine what it might be…


American Standard Kitchen Faucet: Rotation Thereof

One evening I noticed that the kitchen faucet handle was skewed far off to one side and didn’t rotate to the other side as it should. I took the thing apart and found the whole pedestal was rotated:

Rotated kitchen faucet - top

Rotated kitchen faucet - top

It turns out that the screws on the clamping ring below the sink had worked loose over the last decade or so, allowing the pedestal to rotate just a wee bit as we swung the spout from basin to basin.

Kitchen faucet clamping ring

Kitchen faucet clamping ring

Of course it only rotated a little bit in one direction and never the other way…

I epoxied that aluminum plate when I installed the faucet, because the stainless steel sink top seemed too flexy. The plate stiffened it right up and it’s been fine ever since.

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American Standard Elite Kitchen Faucet: Hot Limit Safety Stop Mystery

For the second time in a few months, the kitchen faucet handle stopped moving all the way to the left and the spout stopped dispensing hot water. The last time I did nothing and, after a few days, it resumed normal operation. Having had a while to think it over, this time I removed the handle and saw exactly what I expected:

American Standard faucet - hot limit ring

American Standard faucet – hot limit ring

The installation manual has a useful diagram:

American Standard Elite 4453 4454 faucet - hot limit stop diagram

American Standard Elite 4453 4454 faucet – hot limit stop diagram

The red ring (the “hot limit safety stop”) fits into one of eight click-stop positions; the photo shows it in position 5, with 0 being just to the right of the bottom screw and 7 just below the horizontal notch across the middle.

The dark gray plastic feature inside the ring connects the metal handle (the out-of-focus silver stud aimed at you) to the valve assembly. The two lugs sticking out to its left and right bump into the inward-pointing red lugs as you rotate the handle leftward = clockwise = more hot. With the ring set to the 0 position, the red lugs overlap similar lugs molded into the light gray valve body that limit the rotation in both directions.


  • You must pry the red ring upward to disengage the splines locking it into position
  • The gray lugs impose a hard stop in the counterclockwise direction = cold
  • There’s no upward force on the ring for any reason that I can imagine
  • We don’t pound on the faucet handle, so there’s no shock loading

I have no idea how the red ring could disengage its splines and move counterclockwise by five clicks all by itself.

I reset it to 0, reassembled the faucet with a dot of penetrating oil in the set screw, and it’s all good.

We’ll see how long that lasts …


American Standard Elite Kitchen Faucet: Handle Failure

Strange though it may seem, the kitchen faucet handle broke while Mary was using it. The rear wall of the socket that fits over the cartridge valve stem fractured:

American Standard Faucet Handle - broken mount

American Standard Faucet Handle – broken mount

Having no water in the kitchen is not to be tolerated, so I applied a redneck fix while pondering the problem:

Kitchen Faucet - redneck handle repair

Kitchen Faucet – redneck handle repair

Based on that comment, I called the American Standard hotline (800-442-1920), described the situation, and they’re sending a replacement handle and cartridge. Evidently the new handle won’t fit the old cartridge, which makes me feel better about not stockpiling repair parts, even while I now wonder what the new cartridge part number might be and how you’d tell them apart.

Anyhow, the redneck fix wouldn’t suffice for the next week; I needed something slightly more permanent. The broken wall fit neatly in place on the mount, but:

  • It must withstand far more force than a simple glue joint can provide
  • I can’t machine square holes
  • Wrapping a metal sleeve around the mount seemed like too much work

You undoubtedly saw this coming a while ago:

Am Std Faucet Handle Sleeve - solid model

Am Std Faucet Handle Sleeve – solid model

The mount tapers slightly from the handle body toward the open end to provide draft for the molding process. I applied a hull() operator to two thin rectangles spaced the right distance apart along the Z axis to create a positive model of the mount, which then gets subtracted from the blocky outer rectangle. The hole clears a 10-32 screw that fits the standard setscrew threads (normally hidden behind the handle’s red-and-blue button).

Unlike most printed parts I’ve done recently, the sleeve suffered from severe shrinkage along the outside walls:

Faucet handle sleeve - build distortion

Faucet handle sleeve – build distortion

The inside maintained the right shape, so I cleared the nubs with a file and pressed it in place around the mount with the rear wall snapped into position. The black plastic socket evidently isolates the handle from the valve stem and I used a stainless 10-32 screw to prevent the nightmare scenario of having the sleeve slide downward along the tapered mount and block the setscrew. Overall, it came out fine:

American Standard faucet handle - compression sleeve

American Standard faucet handle – compression sleeve

However, the chunky sleeve didn’t clear the opening in the escutcheon cap, which put the cap on the windowsill for the next week. The result works much better than the redneck fix and looks almost presentable. It’s certainly less conspicuous:

American Standard faucet handle - temporary repair

American Standard faucet handle – temporary repair

I hope the new handle has a much more robust socket…

The OpenSCAD source code:

// Quick fix for broken American Standard Elite 4454 faucet handle
// Ed Nisley KE4ZNU February 2013

//- Extrusion parameters must match reality!
//  Print with +2 shells and 3 solid layers

ThreadThick = 0.25;
ThreadWidth = 2.0 * ThreadThick;

HoleFinagle = 0.4;
HoleFudge = 1.00;

function IntegerMultiple(Size,Unit) = Unit * ceil(Size / Unit);
function HoleAdjust(Diameter) = HoleFudge*Diameter + HoleFinagle;

Protrusion = 0.1;           // make holes end cleanly

// Dimensions

Wall = 5.0;

Slice = ThreadThick;                // minimal thickness for hull object

ShaftEnd = [11.6,17.8,Slice];
ShaftBase = [12.1,18.8,Slice];
ShaftLength = 19.0;

Block = [(ShaftBase[0] + 2*Wall),(ShaftBase[1] + 2*Wall),ShaftLength - Protrusion];

ScrewOffset = 6.5;          // from End
ScrewDia = 5.0;             // clearance

// Useful routines

module ShowPegGrid(Space = 10.0,Size = 1.0) {

    Range = floor(50 / Space);

    for (x=[-Range:Range])
        for (y=[-Range:Range])


module PolyCyl(Dia,Height,ForceSides=0) {           // based on nophead's polyholes
  Sides = (ForceSides != 0) ? ForceSides : (ceil(Dia) + 2);
  FixDia = Dia / cos(180/Sides);

// Model the handle's tapered shaft

module Shaft() {

    hull() {
        translate([0,0,ShaftLength - Slice/2])
            cube(ShaftEnd, center=true);
            cube(ShaftBase, center=true);


// Build it!


difference() {
    translate([0,0,ShaftLength - ScrewOffset])



American Standard Elite Kitchen Faucet: More O-ring Troubles

Half a year after replacing the O-rings on the kitchen faucet, it’s dribbling again. This time, the symptom looked like a leak from the top of the faucet, which implied the three O-rings on the Spacer plate rather than big O-rings that seal the spout.

You can see the O-rings look different on the old and new spacers …

Old and New Faucet Spacers

Old and New Faucet Spacers

Indeed, the old O-rings are flattened out. It’s most visible over on the right edge of the lower ring; the top ring is new.

Flattened O-ring

Flattened O-ring

Replacing them is no big deal; follow the directions in the earlier post to get everything apart. But: only half a year?

Here’s a view of the diverter on the back of the column.

Diverter viewed in mirror

Diverter viewed in mirror

Notice that the larger O-rings that seal the spout to the column had glued themselves to the column and left shreds when I removed them. A narrow strip of Scotch-Brite scouring pad, applied shoe-shine style, cleaned the O-ring debris off the column and made it nice & shiny. I suppose as long as they slip freely on the spout, then it’s all good, but there are new ones in place now.

I used a bit more silicone grease on the O-rings this time; we’ll see if that makes it better or worse.

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