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Are you having trouble turning on your shower? This malfunction is a telltale sign that you must replace the shower valve. Other signs include unexpected temperature changes, loss of water pressure, or leaks.
If left unchecked, the leaks might cause an accident or lead to the growth of mildew and mold on your wall. However, you need a specific shower valve when buying the replacement. But do you know how to identify a shower valve manufacturer?
Getting the correct shower valve is daunting due to the plumbing lingo and mismatch. We have compiled this article to explain the terms and tips to help you identify shower valve manufacturers. This will ease your visit to the plumbing supply store for your shower valve next time.
What You Need to Know
With the range of options available at a plumbing supply store, it’s easy to buy the wrong shower valve. Hence, here’s what you should know before we go into how to identify a shower valve manufacturer.
What Is a Shower Valve?
A shower valve is an inner device within your bathroom wall that regulates water flow, temperature, and the showerhead output. There are different types of shower valves available these days.
The list includes pressure-balancing, thermostatic shower valves, and diverter valves. Besides those three, there are shower mixing valves that mix hot and cold water and transfer valves. Each of these shower valves functions differently.
These valves, also known as mechanical valves, maintain an equal balance of hot and cold water. Without it, you will experience a drastic change in your bathroom water temperature.
Pressure-balancing valves are also known as shower pressure valves. This type of shower valve senses the pressure changes and partially closes down on either the cold water or hot water side. As a result, it maintains the water temperature in the shower pipe.
However, these shower valves need proper maintenance due to scale and mineral deposits in the spool that balance the pressure.
The thermostatic valves work the same as the pressure-balancing valves in controlling cold and hot water. The only difference is that instead of spools, these shower valve types use thermostats.
With at least ¾” shower pipes, they are perfect for larger showers with multiple shower faucets. They are easy to use because they balance hot and cold water efficiently. A thermostatic valve will maintain hot water temperature throughout your shower.
The diverter valves enable you to divert water to either the bathtub or showerhead. Water flows directly into the tub when you open this shower valve type, but you can close the diverter valve by lifting its knob or lever.
By doing so, the pressure will force water to flow upwards and exit through the showerhead. Diverter shower valves are of three types: two-valve diverter, three-valve diverter, and tee diverter. It will help to take note of the type your plumber installed before going for a replacement.
What Is a Shower Trim?
A shower trim or faucet refers to the visible parts of your shower, like escutcheon and handles, which are installed over the shower valve.
Note that the shower trim isn’t interchangeable. A shower trim from a specific shower valve manufacturer isn’t always compatible with other brands. Your trim choice will depend on the shower cartridge and shower valve in your plumbing.
However, using a universal replacement kit can help replace your bathtub faucet and showerhead without redoing your plumbing. Such kits are sold at plumbing supply stores or home centers.
Tips on How to Identify Shower Valve Manufacturer
It’s essential to identify the shower valve manufacturer before buying a replacement. Here are the tips to help you through the process.
The manufacturer’s logo is the easiest way to identify the shower valve manufacturer. Most manufacturers have the logo on the shower faucet handles and decorative rings.
This logo will be in the form of a letter, mostly the company’s initials. You can scan the trim plate to reveal it using a bright light if you don’t see it.
Checking the trim plate to identify shower valve manufacture is the most suitable if you aren’t handy. There are several manufacturers, but the most popular ones are Kohler (K) and Moen (M).
Others like American Standard, Delta, and Price Pfister print their entire name on the shower faucet. In addition, the trim plate isn’t interchangeable, so you need to have a good look at the manufacturer’s logo.
Counting the Number of Grooves on the Broach
Identifying a faucet brand logo can be daunting, more so in older homes. In such cases, you can count the number of splines on the broach to identify the shower valve manufacturer.
You must remove the stem from the shower faucet and then count. By doing so, you can match your broach with the faucet stem using the stem finder tool. This can help you narrow down your choice to a few possibilities.
For instance, Oval Broach is for Delta, Mixet, and Moen. The 16-point .370″ broach is for Barnes, Eljer, Acme, Royal Brass, Central Brass, American Standard, and a few more.
Using Broach Gauge
Using the broach gauge is arguably one of the best ways of identifying the manufacture of a shower valve. Gauging the broach works by comparing the shower faucet handle against a key to find a perfect match.
You will start with the 1-1 broach by inserting the faucet handle into the male end of the broach gauge. Alternatively, you can insert the faucet stem into the female end of the gauge until you attain the exact fit.
Using Cartridge Length and Shape
You can also consider using cartridge length to identify the valve brand to buy for replacement. You will need a measuring tool to get the length from the base to the tip and remember to note the length tire of the cartridge.
After that, you will look at the broach pattern and compare it to the shower faucet cartridge identification chart. You can also take pictures of the shower cartridge and use them to identify the valve’s brand.
Take the Shower Valve’s Picture
If you are frustrated by how to identify a shower valve manufacturer, taking a clear picture of the shower faucet can be a surefire way of going about it. Taking the picture will help you identify the faucet brands and the right model when searching the image using Google.
Alternatively, you can visit your local plumbing supply store with the picture to help the attendant identify the type of shower valve you need.
Shower valves are essential for controlling water pressure and temperature in your bathroom. However, they need maintenance which calls for change after some period. But, you need the same shower valve for it to work.
Therefore, it will be best if you use this guide on identifying a shower valve manufacturer to avoid the pitfalls of buying the wrong valve. Note that you can always seek the services of a professional plumber if you find the process overwhelming.