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Why is Hot Water Coming from Cold Water Faucet?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Ryan in Georgia is in hot water, literally. What’s going on at your money pit, Ryan?

    RYAN: Something kind of bested me for a little bit. I’ve got an idea of what it might be but I’m not 100-percent sure. I’ve got something that I have, which it’s very – it’s always very hot in Georgia about 80 percent of the time. And every time, when we turn – during the day, we turn on the cold water. It’s scalding, scalding hot for about two to four minutes and it depends – there’s a length on, I guess, what time of day it is. But the – I could even turn on the hot water and the hot water will be a lot colder than the cold water. And eventually, it will get colder. But I checked every other water source in my house.

    I checked the shower and the showers are fine; it’s not affected whatsoever. The only thing, assuming – that I think it might be, which you guys probably know more about this than I do is – the reason why it’s not doing it in the showers – because that has the – I don’t know if you want to call it the “thermostat” or a “temperature gauge” that controls the cold water and the hot water that makes sure it’s not too hot. And I think, since we’re in Georgia, a lot of the pipes are in the attic and attics. When it’s not even 100 degrees out, they – gets pretty hot in our attics.

    TOM: Well, I think you’re right on track with that theory, Ryan, because I’ve seen that in my own home in New Jersey. I know it’s not in every fixture, of course, because it really depends on how the pipes are run. But I know that the way my kitchen is built, it was sort of an – it’s an addition that was done in the early 1900s. And the plumbing on that is sort of the – on the furthermost southern wall.

    It gets very, very warm there during the day and sometimes, when we don’t use it all day – and then I turn it on, I do get hot water through the cold faucet. And I know that’s just because the pipes in that area are being exposed to a lot of heat. And the pipes are just warming up and it’s warming the water in turn. But after that warm water that’s in those pipes that are right in that surrounding area runs through the system, it gets cold again.

    So I think that’s exactly what you’re seeing here. I don’t necessarily think it’s a problem. It’s more of an annoyance and yes, it does waste a little bit of water. But does this happen in the winter or is it just a summer issue?

    RYAN: No, no. Not 100 percent if it happens in the winter. But it might but I know even our attics sometimes, in the winter, does get pretty decently warm, too. But the – I know it’s definitely in the spring, fall and summer.

    TOM: I mean the only thing that you could do is you could insulate those pipes. If you can get access to them, you could put fiberglass insulating sleeves around your cold-water pipes and that would prevent them from overheating as they are right now.

    RYAN: That’ll even make a difference, even though they’re – all the piping is all in the attic? The attic’s pretty hot.

    TOM: Well, right, wherever they’re heating up. And that water gets to your faucet from the attic really quick.

    RYAN: Yeah.

    TOM: OK?

    RYAN: Alright. So just a fiberglass sleeve? I’ve seen a little – looks like foam – black foam sleeves. Does that work, too?

    TOM: Yeah. You could do that, too. I think the fiberglass sleeves are a little bit more expensive but they’ll work better.

    RYAN: OK. Yeah, I’ll definitely do that then.

    TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project, Ryan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT. Glad we were able to solve that mystery.

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