Hot Water Coming Out of Cold Water Faucets

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Old 10-30-02, 05:44 AM
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Hot Water Coming Out of Cold Water Faucets

I live in an apartment complex and each apartment has their own hot water heater. My problem is that when the cold water faucets in the kitchen and bathroooms are turned on, hot water will run for the first five to fifteen seconds, and then cold water. If you turn on the hot water faucet, cold water will run for about five to ten seconds and then hot water. The maintenance person for the apartment complex does not have any solution for this problem (he appears to be new in this type of job).

Any suggestions and/or thoughts would be very much appreciated. My concern is the waste of water and the additional cost of extra electricity for the wasted hot water. Sam
 
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Old 10-30-02, 06:10 AM
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1. Hot water initially from cold water faucets:
Your apartment must be on public water with a Pressure Reducing Valve, which can cause hot water expansion back into the cold water line from the water heater when your water isn't running.
The solution to prevent this is installation of a small expansion tank made for the purpose on the water heater.
2. Cold water from hot water faucets when first turned on:
Hot water cools in the line after use, and until you run the cool water out and the hot water gets to the faucet from the heater, that's normal.
True, it's all a small waste of water and electricty, but you're probably just going to have to live with it in an apartment complex situation.
Don't worry about it.
Good Luck!
Mike
 
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Old 10-30-02, 07:06 AM
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Mike, thanks very much for your quick response and excellent information. Yes, you are correct, the apartment complex is in the city limits and connected to the citys water utility. What is strange about this situation, is that when we first moved into the apartment six years ago, we did not have this problem. The problem only began about one year ago and has continued to get worse. Thanks again, Sam.
 
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Old 10-30-02, 08:13 AM
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What brand is the faucet/valves? Single handle valves?
 
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Old 10-30-02, 10:55 AM
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The kitchen and bathrooms all have indivdual cold and hot water faucets, not the single handle. The kitchen unit is made by Price Pfister. As to the bathrooms, I did not see any brand name on the units.

Thanks for your help, Sam.
 
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Old 10-30-02, 11:01 AM
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If they were single controls handles, I would say try new cartiages, but you ruled that out,

When this started happening a year ago, was there any work done on the water lines that might have created a cross connection with the hot and cold water lines?
 
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Old 10-30-02, 11:33 AM
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Thanks for your repy. About two years ago, the hot water heater was replaced. Humm, I wonder if that might have something to do with it? However, when the hot water heater was replaced, we did not have this problem at that time,

Does the heater have some type of safety valve in case the heater becomes too hot or creating too much pressure, and if so, where would the hot water go if such a value is activated? Sorry if my thoughts don't make much sense, my plumbing knowledge is very limited. Thanks again, Sam.
 
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Old 10-30-02, 11:46 AM
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The water if it got too hot or too much pressure would go out the T&P valve, and drain to the outside.

Well I'm out of idea's about what the problem is.

One more thing to try, turn the water off at the water heater, turn on the hot water side of the faucets, see if the flow has stoped.

What I'm trying to see if there is some other source the hot water flow of water could come from.

If it stops then I really don't know what you can do.
 
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Old 10-30-02, 03:25 PM
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Tonight will accomplish what you suggested. This afternoon when talking to some of my neighbors in my complex I found that a third of them are also experiencing the same problem (two of six people)!!

Again, many thanks for your effort in trying to solve my problem, Sam.
 
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Old 10-30-02, 06:18 PM
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Ron (Plumber 2000) and Sam,
I still stick with my first guess.
Sam,
This really isn't your problem as a renter, the apartment complex is responsible for solving the plumbing problems of tenants.
Good Lucki!
Mike
 
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Old 10-30-02, 07:10 PM
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Oldguy,

When water is at a static state water is not moving, even if there high pressure on the system, at a static state the hot water is not going to get near the faucets and effect them as stated, the pipes will have to burst before hot water was to reach those points of use.

When water expands by pressure it expands at all parts, you can't have anymore volume in the system then what is already there, so there is no way the hot water can back up in the cold branches.

Hope you understand what I'm saying.

And yes it's not a renter problem.
 
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Old 10-31-02, 11:10 AM
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Ron and Mike, very much appreciate your help. Ron, your comment about the problem being the apartment complex responsibility, is the one I am going to pursue. I had discussed this with the apartment management not long ago but it appears that they are going to sit on the problem unless I mention it again. I also previously discussed the problem with the apartment maintenance person who indicated that he had no idea what to do about it. I will mention the problem again and hope they will do some checking and research. Many thanks and have a good weekend, Sam.
 
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Old 10-31-02, 12:07 PM
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Here's an idea.

Perhaps the cold water pipes run through or adjacent to a hot air duct or boiler pipe. If it is close enough and has not insulation on it, it will absorb the heat. That static water sitting next to it will get nice and warm until you use it, after 5 or ten seconds you get to the cold water that wasn't next to the heat source.

The cold water from the hot side? Again probably no insulation on the pipe and the water looses it's heat as it sits in the wall. After running the water for a while you pull fresh hot water from the hot water tank.

the hot running cold for a while is pretty common, it is the cold running hot that is the weird one.

Thats my guess.
 
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Old 10-31-02, 07:48 PM
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Had this problem before in high rises. Most often it is caused by single handle shower valves that have a balancing spool. Change the cartridge and the balancing spool. Check to see if the water for the toilet initially comes out warm by holding the supply riser and flushing the toilet. The problen can also be in an adjacent unit, so have the people directly above and below, or in back of the bath check theirs also.
 
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Old 11-01-02, 06:55 AM
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Many thanks for your replies. Winslow, you may have identified the potential cause of my problem!! The showers in the apartments do have the single handle setup and we and neighbors have had problems with the faucets units from time to time. Will trouble shoot in this direction. Have a good weekend, Sam.

P.S. If the cause of our problem is eventually found, I will definitely post the information on this very helpful forum.
 
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