As a homeowner, you’ll regularly be tasked with repairing or replacing components in the house you had nothing to do with purchasing. Some DIY-ers love to play detective and get to the bottom of a problem, but most people are looking to get the job done as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Regarding faucets and shower valves, brand markings on the hardware are the quickest way to identify the brand. Then, you can begin to get to the bottom of the model number and the parts you’ll need for your repair.
Today, we’ll share some tips you can use to help you identify your faucet or shower valve based on these markings.
You may have noticed a small “SA” stamp on your faucet or shower valve. Many homeowners mistake this for a brand mark. However, it’s actually an indicator of the CSA or Canadian Standards Association.
What Is an SA Faucet?
An “SA” is one of the most common markings on a faucet or shower valve.
Most homeowners mistake this marking for a brand designation, but that’s not what it is. If you look closely, the SA is surrounded by an open circle, which is actually a C, as in CSA. This marking is a designation for CSA, or the Canadian Standards Association.
What Is the CSA?
The CSA or Canadian Standards Association is an entity that develops quality and production standards across a variety of industries, similar to ANSI or ASTM.
CSA develops standards for electrical components, industrial equipment, construction, and building materials. The committee was formed in 1919. By the mid-20th century, CSA’s reach expanded to provide testing and certification across more than fifty different industries.
Are CSA Fixtures Good?
While most products don’t require certification by an agency like CSA, it’s long been considered a mark of consumer trust. Most brands voluntarily submit to certification to show customers that their products have been independently verified for safety and quality.
If your faucet or shower valve carries this CSA stamp, it’s safe to assume that the hardware is well made, safe, and built to last.
Identifying Faucet Brands
Unfortunately, the “SA” mark on your faucet won’t get you closer to identifying the brand or model number. Thankfully, that mark is rarely the only one you’ll find on the fixture. With a little more detective work, you can typically identify the faucet brand reasonably quickly.
Other Brand Markings
The first place you’ll want to start is on the fixture itself. Sometimes, other marks are etched into the faucet or shower valve in inconspicuous areas. These markings are usually lightly etched into the metal, and shining a flashlight onto the fixture’s parts can make these marks easier to see.
Even if you don’t see a brand mark, it’s not uncommon for a model number to be etched or stamped onto the faucet or shower valve.
A quick online search will usually provide all the information you need about the model and manufacturer, provided you can find that mark.
Counting Broach Splines
It’s not uncommon for faucets and shower valves to have no brand markings. But, if your faucet shows no such markings, you can still identify the brand. Remove one of the handles and count the splines on the broach.
The broach is the mechanism that controls the valve in a shower or faucet. This mechanism allows you to turn the faucet on or off. At the top of the broach are splines that resemble gear teeth, and different manufacturers use different (easily identifiable) broach assemblies.
Here’s how to identify different brands by the splines on their broaches. If the spline count matches several other manufacturers, you can measure the height of the broach to help you identify the brand.
- Square broach – Sterling, American Standard, Chicago, Gerber, some Price Pfister, Zurn, and Symmons.
- 12 spline .335” broach – Wolverine, Michigan Brass, Crane Dialeze
- 12 spline .375” broach – Arrowhead, Harcraft, some Price Pfister, Universal Brass
- 12 spline .415” broach – Symmons
- 12 spline .485” broach – Crane, Symmons
- 15 spline – Savoy, Santec, some Wolverine
- 16 spline .360” broach – Sayco, some Gerber
- 16 spline 370” broach – Kohler Trand, Milwaukee, Newport, some American Standard, Acme, Central Brass, Eljer, Glauber, Harden, Royal Brass, and Scoville
- 16 spline .40” broach – Sterling
- 17 spline – American Brass, Midcor, Phoenix, Streamway, Mansfield
- 18 spline – Union Brass, Indiana Brass, Briggs
- 20 spline .285” broach – Kohler, some Milwaukee, some Concinnity, Danfoss, Jado, Grohe, some Eljer, some Milwaukee
- 20 spline .415” broach – T & S Brass, Speakman, Broadway
- 22 spline .375” broach – Old American Standard
- 22 spline .438” broach – New American Standard
- 38 spline – Pegasus, Glacier Bay
- “D” broach – Delta, Valley, Universal Rundle, some Milwaukee
- Oval broach – Moen, Mixet, Delta
Ask the Pros
In virtually all instances, you can identify a faucet or shower valve by its brand markings or broach. But, a few fixtures, especially older ones, defy conventional classification.
If you cannot find any clues using those methods, your local plumbing supply store should be able to lend some assistance. Take as many pictures as possible of the different components that make up the faucet or shower valve.
Stop into your local plumbing supply store and show a plumbing professional everything you can to help them identify the fixture. They should be able to identify the manufacturer or model number. They can also provide excellent advice on common repairs, such as cartridge replacement.
The “SA” or “CSA” stamp on a shower valve or faucet won’t tell you much about the brand or model. Yet, it’s still an essential designation of consumer quality. This certification indicates that the product meets or exceeds the specifications of one of the world’s most prestigious standards committees.
If you need to identify a fixture brand or model, check for other brand markings on the different components. Or, use the broach to identify the brand based on the list above.
Once you can identify the brand, your local plumbing supply shop should be able to provide you with the parts and knowledge you’ll need to complete the repair.