How To Prevent Hot Water From Entering Your Cold Water Line

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In the United States of America the standard practice of having hot water on the left side of your faucet and cold water on the right side is the way water is piped.

If you have hot water coming out of the right side of your faucet which is the cold water side than you have some troubles and this article will help you find your troubles and make the repairs necessary to fix them.

Lets start with the basic problem that I have found with hot water and cold water problems.

The first step is to insure that operator or installer error has not occurred. This is when someone pipes the hot water to the cold water side or the cold water to the hot water side. Remedy, pipe properly.

Take a look at the new type of plumbing or water installation in homes. The picture has a color coding indicating blue for cold water is on right and the red color tubing is on the left side indicating hot water. Not to easy to mess up.

In older homes you could have galvanized or copper pipe. The only way to insure you do not cross lines is to either label the hot  & cold water lines with a marker when it comes out of the wall or before you hook up the lines to your faucet you would turn on the water at the water stop and insure your connecting hot to left side and cold to right side.

If you have lived in your house for a while and have not had a problem with hot water mixing into your cold water than your first step is to determine if the cross connection is in one faucet. This would be the only faucet causing the trouble.

If you determine that only one faucet is the problem than the job of repairing it is much easier. Take a look at the  picture above. If you have a mixing valve that looks similar to this picture than probably your trouble is only in the single lever valve. Turn your water off at the stop or the main and remove the valve cartridge. I recommend you replace it with a new cartridge. Your troubles should be over.

This repair should work on all single lever handles, like your kitchen faucet or single lever lavatory faucet.

If your getting a cross-connection at a faucet that has two separate handles like the picture below you will need to replace both complete stem assembly’s or replace the faucet which cold be cheaper on some lavatory faucets or other type of faucets.

If your still getting a cross-connection you will have to trouble shoot all the faucets to determine if one faucet is causing the trouble for two or more faucets.

The first step would be to turn one faucet at a time off at the water stop and don’t use that faucet for a day.Make sure the water stops are really off either by leaving the faucet handles open all the way or disconnecting the water supplies. Older water stops may appear to be off when in fact they are seeping water through them.

 If the other faucets continue to have a cross-connection you have ruled out the faucet you turned off. It is not causing the cross-connection. Repeat the process on all your faucets until you find the one that is causing the trouble. You will know which faucet is causing the cross-connection when you turn the particular faucet off and all the cross-connections stop.

If you hired a plumber to find the trouble he/she would trouble shoot this in a different way because of the cost to you.

This article is intended for home owners trying to save a few bucks.

If all this fails to find the cross-connection your next step is to check your main source of hot water, like a water heater, boiler, solar system, etc. There is either a leak in the tank or a pump has failed etc. In this case I would definitely advise you to hire a plumber.

For more information on other plumbing subjects you can take a look at my new book on called “Flush Your Plumbing Troubles Down The Toilet”. Thanks and best of luck on your DIY repairs. look for other articles of mine on Bukisa.


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