Huntington Brass Faucets
Review & Rating
11100 Dana Circle
Cypress, CA 90630
Footnotes:1. "....as long as the original purchaser owns their (sic) home...."
This Company In Brief
Afeel Corp., Inc. is a private company founded by Winnie Liang, Ling-Chu Kao and Huey-Chew Hsu in 1989 to import Taiwanese showers and shower accessories. The company has conducted business under the trade name Huntington Brass since 2005 and has vastly expanded its offerings to include sink and tub faucets as well as showers, and accessories that go with them. It's current CEO is Joy Hsu.
Huntington Brass products are arranged in three collections. The Professional Collection which includes ReliaFLO® faucets, is the basic faucet series intended for apartments, manufactured dwellings and institutions. The Decor Collection is a mid-range, mid-priced collection, and the Platinum Collection features the company's upper end products.
All of Huntington Brass faucets are made by Asian, mostly Taiwanese manufacturers, including the following:
Afeel appears to do some minor assembly in California, mostly attaching handles and aerators. Many of the company's faucets offer various handle and trim options, and rather than stocking a lot of the same faucet with different handles and trim already installed, it stocks the faucet bodies and attaches the handles and trim as ordered. This is a smart idea that cuts down on inventory. Afeel does no finishing. All of its faucets are delivered fully finished.
Faucets in the upscale Platinum Collection are designed by an inhouse design group. How much of this design is true "from the ground up" design and how much is modification of existing designs we do not know. We have found faucets in the Platinum Collection that seem to be unique to Huntington Brass, including the Favari faucet shown above, but also faucets that appear to be just minor variations on its suppliers' styles.
The vast majority of faucets sold by the company, however, look to be faucets, straight out of the product inventories of the various Asian manufacturers that make them, and many of the same generic faucet designs sold by its competitors such as companies that import from many of the same manufacturers.
The company publishes a catalog for each of its collections that display each faucet as part of a series that typically includes sink faucets, tub faucets, showers and accessories such as towel bars and toilet paper holders. They also include wholesale prices and are available to dealers only.
Afeel is primarily a distributor, but also sells its products directly to consumers at retail through its web site and through Internet plumbing suppliers such as PlumbTile and QualityBath. It also offers faucets on some general retail sites like Amazon, Wayfair and Overstock. The items sold on the Internet, however, are just a few of the faucets available. To see the entire collection, you must visit a brick and mortar showroom or supply house.
The company's web site provides a list of authorized retailers by ZIP code. Some, such as Briggs Plumbing and Ferguson Enterprises (Wolseley in Canada) are nationwide plumbing supply retailers with a store in nearly every town of any size, so finding a store near you is ordinarily not a problem.
Afeel also distributes faucets to companies that sell them under private labels. The Canadian sanitary ware company, Cheviot Products, for example, sells Afeel faucets under its own
Huntington Brass faucet styles cover the entire range of traditional through ultra contemporary. Most of the stylistic interest is in the Platinum Collection, as one would expect. The low-end ReliaFLO faucets appear to be right out of Delta's 1985 catalog style-wise. Definitely not cutting edge design, but a good basic faucet suitable for any one reproducing a 1980's vintage kitchen or needing a reliable faucet for a laundry room.
Every faucet is available in chrome, and most faucets in the Decor and Platinum Collections are offered in a satin nickel PVD finish. Some are also available in what the company calls its "special finishes": sixteen finishes in two groups what require extra manufacturing time because they are finished to order by the manufacturer in Taiwan or China.
Interestingly enough, although referred to on the company's web site, they are never pictured except in the company's wholesale catalogs which are not available to the general public. So, you have to actually visit a showroom to see what "24-Satin Copper" looks like (or check the chart above).
The faucets are manufactured with a factory set maximum water flow of 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM), which is the European standard and the standard required by the DOE/EPA Watersense® program for lavatory faucets, but less than the maximum 2.2 GPM mandated by federal law. For some buyers this lower flow rate will take some getting used to, especially when using a kitchen sink sprayer. The company does not seem to offer an option for the higher flow rate in any of its faucets, but does offer a lower flow rate of 1.2 GPM to comply with California law.
The quality of the faucets in the Platinum Collection, based on the faucets we have examined, leaves very little to be desired. For its two-handle faucets, the company uses a good cartridge from Flühs Drehtechnik, GmbH, a German firm located in Ludenscheid, Germany since 1926. The Flühs valve is generally recognized as one of the best made. For its single handle Platinum faucets, the cartridges appear to be from Kerox Kft cartridge, made in Hungary. Kerox is the mixing cartridge preferred by European faucet manufacturers. Its reputation is that it is extremely reliable and performs well even in relatively hard water. We judge it to be a very good cartridge.
The quality of the Decor Collection is, as one might expect, a step down, but not a large step. The cartridges are made in Taiwan or China. Some appear to be made by Geann Industrial Co., Ltd. A very good cartridge, considered by some to be equivalent to a Kerox cartridge. Other cartridges we can identify as made by Hain Yo Enterprises Co., Ltd. a ceramics manufacturer headquartered in Taiwan but actually manufacturing in China. We also found cartridges manufactured by Kuching international Ltd., a Taiwanese company that makes good basic cartridges sold under the KCG brand since 1998.
None of the faucets we examined contained a cartridge made by Sedal S.L.U., but it is a good bet that at least some Huntington Brass faucets include a Sedal cartridge, which is a favorite among Taiwanese and Chinese companies manufacturing for the North American market. Sedal is a technical ceramics company chartered and headquartered in Spain but manufacturing in China. Its cartridges are regarded as reliable.
Some ReliaFLO faucets use an older technology ball cartridge originally used in Delta faucets. For moderate use there is nothing wrong with this cartridge. At one time some ReliaFLO faucets used an even older technology compression cartridge, but these seem to have disappeared from the company catalog.
The more upscale faucets are brass, but may have zinc or ZAMAK (a zinc/aluminum alloy) body parts and trim. Zinc and its alloys are not as strong or as durable as brass but are suitable for ancillary parts such as handles and base plates (escutcheons). The Professional Collection, however, appears to include some faucets that are all zinc or ZAMAK. ZAMAK and zinc are not as suitable as brass for faucet bodies. The ReliaFLO Acrylic collection consists of plastic faucets, okay for special applications such as in laboratories and for certain industrial uses) where metal faucets cannot be used, but not suitable for most residential applications except as a temporary faucet.
The Huntington Brass web site is well designed with intuitive navigation. Information about its faucets is exemplary and a model for other companies to follow. It includes all of the specifications needed to make an intelligent buying decision including dimensioned drawings, exploded parts diagrams and installation instructions. Some of these are .pdf documents that may be downloaded for reference. The only item missing is identification of the ceramic cartridge by manufacturer: useful in determining whether the cartridge is a good one or not. As it is, you will have to ask customer service to identify the cartridge.
The company's warranty is below average for North America. Finishes other than chrome and PVD finishes are guaranteed for 5 or 10 years, non-ceramic cartridges for ten years and hand showers for three years. Everything else, including chrome and PVD finishes, is guaranteed for the lifetime of the original owner. There are numerous enumerated exclusions, however, including damage from hard water, lime scale, mineral deposits and exposure to direct sunlight. Why exposure to sunlight is an issue, we're not sure.
Replacement parts are not a problem as they are with many other importers. Afeel keeps a complete stock of parts. However, parts for specially finished faucets may have a long delivery time if they have to match the specialty finish.
In 2010 the company avoided a proposed penalty of $251,850 for non-compliance with the certification requirements of 10 CFR §29.12 as mandated by the Energy Policy and Conservation Actt by entering into a compromise agreement with the Department of Energy, and paying $10,000 (Afeel: Order 2010-CW-07/1414) . It now has all of its faucets and shower heads listed in the DOE Compliance Certification Database.
The company's history, business model, sources of supply and products are almost identical to those of two other importers of faucets from Taiwan and China that started business in the last decades of the 20th century. Other imported faucets more or less comparable to Huntington Brass include,
Huntington Brass faucets are generally reliable products sold by a reputable company with a substantial history — a company that is likely to be around for a while. The cartridge is the key to these faucets. We would have little concern about installing a Huntington Brass faucet with a Flühs or Kerox cartridge in even the busiest kitchen or bath. Faucets with other cartridges are more suited to a less demanding environment such as a guest bath or as a prep or bar faucet. Leave the Professional Collection to the professionals unless you are looking for a laundry or utility faucet.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Huntington Brass faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.