When you turn on the cold water at your kitchen or bathroom faucet, but you immediately feel warm or hot water coming out of the tap, it’s natural to be confused. If this has happened to you, here are a few potential reasons why, and what you should do next.
Reason 1: Proximity of pipes
Plumbing often needs to fit in tight places. So, it’s normal for hot and cold water lines to run parallel and close to each other on the way to the faucet. However, if they’re too close, the heat of the hot water pipe could be affecting the cold water line.
Reason 2: Heat transfer for ventilation ducts
If your forced-air heating system is running, the metal surface of the ventilation ducts could be warm to the touch. If your cold water pipe is in contact or close to the ductwork, then some of that heat could transfer to the water line.
Reason 3: Thermostat isn’t working properly
If you have a water expansion tank, the thermostat inside the immersion heater can malfunction or even break. This could cause water to be overheated and flow into the cold water pipes.
Reason 4: Copper heating effect
Copper is highly heat conductive, which means heat passes through it very easily. If you’re running hot water in the faucet and have copper pipes, the plumbing could heat up the entire faucet for a period of time.
How to fix the problem
In some cases, having warm water temporarily come out of a cold faucet may not be a serious problem. However, when it’s a repeated or prolonged issue, it can be dangerous if someone turns on the faucet and get burns by unexpected hot water.
It’s best to have a professional plumber take a look at the situation. The solution may be as simple as insulating your pipes to restrict heat transfer. Or, some of your plumbing may need to be reworked to resolve the issue and ensure safety.
At Reichelt Plumbing, we’ve been serving the Schererville area for over 25 years. If you have a plumbing question or concern, give us a call at call (219) 322-4906 and we’ll send one of our skilled plumbers right over to take care of it.