PHPI meets with David Newton, founder of Yorkshire-based TapMedic, who believes he has found the perfect solution for plumbers called to fix dripping taps.
Dripping taps are assumed by consumers to be a simple and cheap fix, but as plumbers know, this isn’t always the case. David found the problem more painful than he had initially anticipated. Having a customer base made up of largely elderly customers, they often simply couldn’t afford a new tap; sometimes having to make a decision between paying for a replacement or eating. Pained at seeing people suffer, and frustrated at not being able to help, David set about designing a solution to the problem.
“The original multi-turn tap was patented in Rotherham, Yorkshire in 1845 by one John Guest (a plumber) and Edwards Chrimes Junior (a foundryman) and the design was spread across the globe. Approximately 40 years ago they began to be replaced by ceramic disc cartridges and these days, they have become the norm. When these leak, as there’s no ‘standard’, it’s become a real problem for both plumbers and consumers. With thousands of cartridges to choose from, it becomes inefficient to run around trying to source them, so generally the tap just gets replaced – through no fault of the plumber. TapMedic kits solve this problem by enabling a professional to quickly replicate the original cartridge, meaning most taps can be easily fixed in a single visit,” says David.
With a background in controls working for Margaux, Honeywell and heading up Trend’s worldwide product support, before setting up his own installation & maintenance business, David says he has always innovated. The initial idea for a solution came to him around five years ago. He decided to collect every cartridge that he worked on, in order to better understand their make-up, and eventually came up with the TapMedic concept.
“With more than 4,500 variations of hot and cold cartridges in use, even if they could all be purchased, a plumber would not only need a separate and dedicated van to carry them, but it would cost roughly £68,000 to carry just one of each type! Sometimes the TapMedic kit is described as a ‘Plumber’s Tardis’, because the small box presents nearly 4,000 different variations. The professional simply chooses which one they need at that moment in time.”
The TapMedic kit includes both ½” & ¾” cartridges, spindles and all the other components to ensure an installer can replicate an original. While the kit may look a little complicated at first glance, David assures us that the trade will have no problem using it: “There’s a large print protective mat of instructions in every kit, as well as how-to videos on the website and lots of tips. Believe it or not, the record for creating a cartridge is less than five minutes!”
The Standard Kits ship with 12 cartridges, while there are smaller kits available for those looking to try the product for the first time. From each cartridge, there are thousands of variants able to be produced, and stocks of individual items on all but the 2PAQ kit can be individually replaced.
“Ultimately, TapMedic makes professionals more money through efficiency and reduced expenditure. Replacement costs for cartridges are vastly reduced for the installer, whilst consumers end up paying less as they are not forced to needlessly replace taps, which helps Planet Earth too,” David concludes.