Identifying Your Shower Faucet Brand and Cartridge Manufacturer
What Brand Is Your Faucet?
As a "faucet doctor" for several years, I've found that I ask this question most frequently. It's not something most people know the answer to.
At one time, faucets were standardized—put together using similar parts with only a different look on the outside. It was easy to fix them since replacement parts could fit multiple brands. Nowadays, each brand has its own specifications for various parts, including stems (cartridges), valves, and splines.
Why Is This Important?
Because each brand is so unique, it's important to find out what who made your faucet before you attempt to fix it. You don't want to disassemble the whole thing only to find that you have the wrong faucet cartridge or handle.
In this article, we'll look at two ways to identify who made your faucet.
- Looking for Brand Markings
- Faucet Cartridge Identification
1. Looking for the Brand Markings
If your faucet is a brand name, it may have a "mark" stamped on it somewhere. It may be engraved, printed, or laser-etched.
Here are the most common locations for the brand "mark."
- For sink faucets, look at the front of the spout. The logo may also be on the base of the spout, where it meets the sink, either on the front or the back.
- For shower faucets, look on the round plate (escutcheon) behind the handle, on the handle itself, or perhaps on the actual valve behind the wall.
Once you identify the brand, you can visit the manufacturer's website to look for your replacement parts. Most sites have search tools to help you identify the specific part numbers you need. For example, the Danco Stem Finder Tool helps you find the correct parts based on faucet type, stem length, and spline type.
Major Faucet Brands
2. Faucet Cartridge Identification
If no obvious markings are visible, you will need to start removing parts—starting with the handle. You can find your faucet's brand and specific parts by measuring the cartridge (stem) length and counting the number of splines.
Removing the Handle and Cartridge
- Turn off the water supply. For sinks, there are usually cut-off valves under the sink (one each for hot and cold). For showers, you'll need to find the main water valve to the entire house, which is usually located outside along the building.
- To remove the handle, you'll need either a screwdriver set and/or Allen wrenches, depending on the type of handle. If there is a single lever handle, there will be either a small set-screw in the handle that is accessible with an Allen wrench. If there is a single crystal handle, there is usually a plastic cover that can be popped off flat-head screwdriver. Under the pop-off top will be a Phillips screw to remove the handle from the stem. For faucets with two handles, there is usually a decorative cap or plastic cover to pry off to reveal a Phillips screw.
- Once you remove the screw, pull the handle and stem out. The stem may come out along with the handle or remain in the wall. You may need to wiggle the stem around gently as you pull.
At this point, you can try to figure out what parts are causing the problem.
For leaks, the issue is most often with the rubber O-ring or washers that have worn out over time. Rubber washer replacements are easy and cheap fixes. You can also bring both parts to your local hardware store or plumbing shop and have them take a look. They'll be able to confirm what the problem is and identify the correct parts as well.
If you want to do this yourself—and maybe save a few bucks—you can identify the cartridge brand by measuring the length and number of splines, and comparing them to a reference like this cartridge identification chart PDF from Interline Brands. The reference lists cartridges by stem length and broach patterns. They also include photos of the actual cartridges for visual comparison.
How to Use the Cartridge Identification Chart
- Using a caliper or ruler, measure the cartridge from the base (where the rubber seat is) to the tip (where the splines are).
- Note what length tier your cartridge falls in (Length 1–12).
- Identify your broach pattern using the broach chart (page B-5).
- Locate the pages for your stem's length tier (the tiers are highlighted on the right or left of each page).
- Look for the matching broach pattern (next to the cartridge photos).
- Visually confirm that you're looking at the correct cartridge.
- Identify the part numbers for the parts you need.
You may also want to go to your local hardware store or plumbing shop for confirmation.
Tips on Repairing Your Shower Faucet
- Take advantage of warranties. If your faucet is under warranty and you know the model, you may get the repair parts for free by calling the manufacturer.
- Some brands don't sell parts at hardware stores. For example, if your faucet was made by Pfister, your local hardware store will not carry the parts. However, Amazon does carry have them and can usually deliver in one to three days.
- Not all rubber seats, O-rings, and springs are interchangeable. These may look similar from brand to brand, but there are subtle differences. For example, Price Pfister valve seats look almost exactly like Delta valve seats, but Price Pfister uses a smaller inner diameter. Thus, if you use a Delta seat in a Pfister cartridge, there will definitely be a leak.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2011 knitowl