HOW PLUMBERS CAN PREVENT HOT WATER FROM A COLD TAP
JUL 20, 2017
Summertime in Phoenix means warm temperatures — there is no getting around that. And while the high temperatures bring a lot of obvious maintenance issues around systems like air conditioning systems or swimming pools, many people overlook the propensity for plumbing issues in the summertime. For many homes, the warmer temperatures also means an increased nuisance from hot water from a cold tap. Not only is this annoying, but it can be an actual safety hazard if water gets hot enough.
Pinpointing the source of hot-cold water crossover can be difficult and time consuming. In this article, we look at common culprits for hot water from a cold tap and what an experienced plumber may be able to do to fix the problem.
FIGURING OUT WHY YOU ARE GETTING HOT WATER FROM A COLD TAP
HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN HAPPENING?
One of the first questions a plumber may ask is how long you have been dealing with hot water from a cold tap. If it turns out that your home has recently been built or undergone some type of remodel, the issue of hot water from a cold tap might be easily solved. Due to the pure nature of human error, whoever completed the plumbing portion of your construction might’ve hooked up the wrong lines to the hot and cold taps. If the plumber did not already check this on their own before declaring their job done, you will understandably want to call in a new professional to remedy the problem. You may be able to self diagnose this issue yourself by checking to see if the alternate is true — cold water is coming out of your hot tap.
If the problem is not a persistent one after a new build or remodel, the timeline for how long and with what frequency you have been encountering hot water from a cold tap will further help the plumber diagnose the issue.
Expansion tanks are becoming more and more coming in modern plumbing systems. These are small tanks installed to protect modern water heating systems from excessive water pressure due to thermal (heat) expansion. If your home happens to have an expansion system installed, it means that you need a pressure-lowering or one-way valve in your water meter to avoid hot water from cold taps. This is something else that an experienced plumber will take into account when determining why you might be experiencing hot water from a cold tap. Other issues with expansion tanks may include a malfunctioning thermostat in the immersion heater — when it fails, water may boil over into the cold water tap, meaning that your plumbing system’s cold water storage will be significantly warmer than usual.
Further complicating this issue is the fact that expansion tanks may be located in various places. Specifically, if your home has a tankless water heater, some serious searching may be required to even find it.
WHAT MATERIALS ARE YOUR PIPE MADE FROM?
Certain materials conduct heat more than others. For this reason, copper tubes are more likely to radiate heat from the hot water taps and into the cold water taps. When installing the plumbing system, this must be taken into account to ensure that proper distance between the pipes is given and that the issue of hot water from a cold tap is avoided.
HOW CLOSE ARE THE PIPES?
If a plumber rules out an issue with the thermostat, they will likely want to assess the layout of the pipes. Improper layout of pipes can not only have serious consequences for the efficiency of your home, it may also be a contributor to hot water from a cold tap.
If the hot and cold water pipes are too close together, you may experience hot water from a cold tap due to heat radiating from the hot water pipe and into the cold water pipe. This is typically more often the case for hot water from cold tap cases that involve the hot water spurting over long periods of running the cold tap and not noticed by homeowners immediately.
Alternatively, your pipes may be laid out in such a way that ventilation ducts from another utility system like forced air heating may be adjacent to the pipes and radiating heat into the water. In a best case scenario, a plumber will install pipes with the big picture in mind. Because this is not always possible, it may end up being necessary to find a qualified professional to change the layout of the pipes to avoid other heat radiating systems.
CALL AN EXPERIENCED PLUMBING TEAM TO DO THE JOB RIGHT
If you are experiencing hot water from a cold tap, please give us a call. We will be able to assess on the phone whether or not you have an issue that can be fixed yourself or if it (more than likely) requires the attention of a professional plumber, Plumbing systems are surprisingly complicated and the number of issues that can contribute to hot water from a cold tap far exceed the limitations of this blog post. While we hope we have given you a 30,000 foot view of what may be causing your trouble, the truth is, the situation is highly dynamic. By enlisting our help, you can have the peace of mind in knowing that our work is totally guaranteed and that we have decades of experience in helping homeowners just like you find the most effective and efficient solutions to all of their plumbing problem.