Find out more about common homeowners’ complaints: “not enough hot water” and “hot water runs out quickly,” the main symptoms of a plumbing crossover. How to prevent, test, and repair it successfully.
Plumbing crossover can occur in any domestic hot water distribution system. Crossover allows an unplanned flow of hot water into the cold water system or cold water into the hot water system, resulting in high energy losses, long wait times, temperature fluctuation, and discomfort.
This is why it needs to be taken care of on time and correctly.
Every home plumbing system has a hot and cold water supply divided into two main loops, but cold water can still mix with hot and vice versa without you noticing.
And that can be a problem.
The risk of getting cold water into the hot water supply system is even higher, especially in today’s modern new and remodeled homes that use mixing valves, check valves, and single-handle faucets, the primary sources of crossover.
This condition when cold water gets into the hot water system, or hot getting into the cold system, is called plumbing crossover.
In general, there are several reasons why the plumbing crossover problem happens. Some symptoms are easy to recognize, making repairs simple and quick, particularly for handy-people. There are also problems with no visible signs of crossover.
For the homeowners who would prefer professional service, the recommendation is to contact a local skilled plumber.
As mentioned, a single-handle faucet is often found “guilty,” for the plumbing crossover. Many homes have single-handle faucets because they are much more user-friendly, installation is simpler, and adjustment is easier. They are also more popular than two-handled faucets because they can help prevent burns because cold water is mixed in.
Mixing valves are next on the list of potential reasons. Mixing valves are widely used in plumbing to protect users from scalding temperatures. These valves are found in automatic washing machines.
Faulty check valves on recirculation systems or anywhere in a plumbing system. Check valves are used to direct water in one direction only.
It is very easy to test for plumbing crossover. Here are the steps to take:
You can also test it this way:
Note: If, after testing the whole plumbing system, crossover still occurs, you might have a situation where cold and hot water pipes are directly connected.
For DIY-ers, plumbing crossover is not hard to repair. Depending on the location, it requires you to replace the faucet cartridge, check valve, or mixing valve. Keep in mind that replacing the cartridge does not always solve the problem. However, buying a quality faucet, or even a cartridge, could prevent the crossover problem.
Note: Check also if the water heater dip tube operates properly. If it is broken, the cold water would, instead of reaching the bottom of the tank and mixing with hot, fill the upper part of the tank, and from there, end up in your hot water tap.
As we know, every house has cold and hot water pipes. Hot water is produced inside the tank-type water heater or tankless supplying various faucets, appliances, hot tubs, and pools.
In residential homes, water is usually heated to the maximum temperature of 140 F, and depending on the exposure time, it can produce severe burns. According to the experts, hot water temperature should be in the range from 120 to 125 F. Water is safe to use (free of bacteria) at this temperature and can do the job efficiently.
This is why following manufacturers’ instructions is important and hiring a professional plumber our best advice.
Detecting plumbing crossover can be difficult and time-consuming for homeowners with no plumbing knowledge and skills. However, it is easy to fix for experienced plumbers, so it is recommended to hire a professional. Contact an expert as soon as you notice atypical heating behavior, and avoid energy losses, high energy bills, and cold showers.