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Thread: Hot Water from Cold Faucet

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Doggone57's Avatar
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    Default Hot Water from Cold Faucet

    I have been experiencing a problem only in the last year or two with hot water coming out of the cold water faucet when prior to this time, it was not happening. When I turn on the cold water it immediately runs warm, then within a minute it turns real hot and runs that way for about 3 minutes before turning cold again. This happens whether it's summer or winter in the Chicago area. The hot faucet starts out warm and then turns hot and stay hot which is normal. When I touch the cold water inlet on the water heater, it's a little warm but not hot to the touch. Nothing in the entire pluming system has changed during this time (no additions, changes, remodeling, etc.) so can't understand why it wasn't happening prior to 2 years ago. This happens whether it's the closest or the most remote faucet from the water heater. The problem occurs whether it's a mixing faucet valve (single handle) or double handle faucet.

    The furthest mixing shower faucet is a non-scalding type where you're not supposed to get a blast of hot water if someone uses the cold water in another part of the house but that feature stopped working about 9 years ago probably due to some sediment/calcium in the valve. Just thought I'd mention that but don't think it has anything to do with the original problem.

    I have a 50 gallon gas heater that is probably 11.5 years old and I used to drain it once or twice a year as recommended to reduce the sediment but I stopped doing that about 8 years ago. The pressure release valve on the heater works fine. There is no expansion tank or anything like that in my system.

    Can anyone figure this one out?

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    My guess is that shower valve went from bad to worse and is now the source of your crossover.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Sometimes a shower valve can fail in such a way that the house's hot water can flow through the valve into the cold water side, and then the hot water will be distributed to whatever faucet is opened. Normally the shower valve can be identified and it's internal components replaced to correct the problem. On some it is a single cartridge for all functions, which others have a separate pressure/balance spool which can be replaced also.

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    DIY Junior Member Doggone57's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestion. The shower faucet is a Price Pfister pressure balancing valve model 808-70LW so hopefully I can remove the balancing cartridge and get a new one. The warranty says covered forever so do you think if it's clogged with minerals, that will be covered?

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member wjcandee's Avatar
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    Call them at 1800-PFAUCET, ask for a new cartridge, and I think you will find yourself very happy with the result. Let us know.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The new cartridge has the balancing spool intergral with it, so you discard the old black one you remove from the faucet. But, I don't think this will cure your problem because bad balancing spools normally give you all hot water or all cold water but seldom "bypass" to mix the two.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member Doggone57's Avatar
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    I was able to order a new pressure balancing spool under warrenty and will replace it soon. Even if it doesn't solve the problem, it still needs replacing becasue it stopped doing what it was originally intended to do many years ago. I may be back with more questions if the problem is still there but thanks everyone for you suggestions.

  8. #8
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    ...bad balancing spools normally give you all hot water or all cold water but seldom "bypass" to mix the two.
    I don't know what style they use but you are correct in that spool style seldom cause much of a crossover. Diaphragm types may however create more of a crossover. Perhaps there is one elsewhere in the home. None the less, if there are stops throughout the home they could be used to rule out specific fixtures.

  9. #9
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    ...bad balancing spools normally give you all hot water or all cold water but seldom "bypass" to mix the two.
    I don't know what style they use but you are correct in that spool style seldom cause much of a crossover. Diaphragm types may however create more of a crossover. Perhaps there is one elsewhere in the home. None the less, if there are stops throughout the home they could be used to rule out specific fixtures.

  10. #10
    DIY Junior Member Doggone57's Avatar
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    I am back to say that it worked so thanks for your great recommendation!! I changed the pressure balancing spool and it totally fixed the problem. It did take some thinking about how to remove a threaded decorative sleeving before I could then remove the wall plate and then it was a piece of cake. I tried using channel locks but even with a rubber gasket, it scratched the paint and nearly bent the sleeve out of round. I then got a strap wrench with a nylon webbed strap and it barely got it moving but it worked. I guess the problem was only isolated to one bathroom but I still don't understand how it fixed the problem.

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