What brand a faucet is needs to be determined before finding any replacement parts when fixing a faucet. Sometimes the brand is easy to determine with obvious markings, distinctive knobs, and handles or, other operating characteristics like the Moen pull to turn on, turn to adjust the temperature. Other times the answer can be very difficult with designer faucets that are relatively uncommon, older faucets that have been out of production for many years, faucets that were made by companies that have gone out of business or, a copy of a very common design like the classic Delta single handle ball design, which has seen extensive copying by Chinese faucet manufacturers.
Determining the brand of your faucet once you have gone beyond the obvious visual or, operating characteristics shutting the water off and disassembling the faucet is probably the best way. Pulling the stem or, cartridge out then attempting to match the stem or, cartridge to a picture. Plumbers often carry several books in their trucks that have pictures for identifying stems or, cartridges. Quite a few can be found on the web, or at places that sell replacement stems and cartridges such as plumbing supply houses, hardware stores, and home supply centers such as Ace Hardware, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. In many cases if you have a less common difficult to match stem or, cartridge the place you go to will be happy to refer you to a store or, supply house in the area that has a more extensive selection. Stems and cartridges are a niche market and while many stores will carry a selection of the most commonly sold stems and cartridges there is always one supplier that is above and beyond the others that they typically refer people to when they don’t have an item. These stores typically have a more knowledgeable staff and even if they don’t stock it will usually have catalogs and be able to order the parts you need.
Finding the brand of your faucet is not always easy especially when you are looking for one where the manufacturer has gone out of business or, the faucet was a very limited production like a designer faucet but getting down to stem matching is often the best way as many designer faucets are based on a more commonly used base faucet which can at least get you some of the parts you may need. Sometimes you may not find a match but you will find a manufacturer that has several stems and cartridges that are very close in design when this happens you might try contacting that manufacturer and send them a picture to see if it is one of theirs. They may have an answer for you or, be able to steer you in the right direction. Another place you can try is joining an on-line plumbing forum such as Terry Love’s Plumbing Forum and posting a picture of the faucet, and stem or, cartridge asking for help with identifying the faucet. These forums typically have a large number of people that are plumbers and avid do it yourself members that may have seen your faucet and be able to offer you help in identifying your faucet brand.
One thing to consider when faced with a hard to identify faucet is the quality of the faucet and it’s condition. When you are presented with a cheaply made faucet or, one on poor condition it may be better just to replace it without wasting a lot of time.