Your shower faucet and shower valve go hand-in-hand, and so it’s important to properly identify the type of faucet and the valve you own before replacing or repairing your shower system. Although the best way to identify the shower valve type is to speak with a plumber, the following steps can give you some clues on what shower valve type you currently own.
1. Count the Number of Shower Faucet Handles
Often, the type of shower faucet and handle(s) will indicate what kind of shower valve is behind it.
Zero handles may imply a shower panel faucet with buttons to control water flow and temperature.
A single-handle shower faucet controls both flow and temperature with one handle, the most common and easy-to-use option.
A double-handle faucet controls hot and cold water through each handle.
A three-handle faucet controls both the hot and cold water along, and a diverter handle shifts water flow between the showerhead, other shower attachments, or a tub.
2. Determine How the Shower Faucet is Connected
A mounted showerhead, or fixed showerhead, directly connects to the shower pipe in the wall. It’s a stationary showerhead faucet that you may or may not be able to adjust the water flow angle on.
A handheld showerhead, or handset showerhead, has a hose that runs from the showerhead to the shower pipe behind the faucet handle. They offer more flexibility in terms of being able to move the showerhead around.
3. Identify the Manufacturer
To identify the manufacturer of your existing valve, check the center of the trim plate for a logo or letter indicating who it’s made by—K for Kohler, M for Moen, though some brands have their full name on their trim.
Also, certain valves within each brand may require a specific kind of trim, so it’s important to check the manufacturer and the type of faucet you have or want.
4. Check the Shower Cartridge
You can identify the manufacturer of the shower valve you have by removing and checking the cartridge for the brand name.
Do not try to mix and match with manufacturers when it comes to shower faucet and valve parts. The different brands’ faucet and valve types and sizes are not interchangeable.