Hot water plumbing

Construction project surprises

Clever resolutions to difficult remodeling problems

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Rarely, very rarely does a remodeling project conclude without surprises. Oh maybe a small cabinet replacement job, or something like that can get by without surprises, but any job large enough to require permits will most certainly include a few surprises along the way.

Usually costly, but sometimes not - these surprises can include just about anything. In this case, it's the hot water lines. Standards for household plumbing dictate that the cold water is controlled on the right hand side, while hot water is controlled on the left - we all know that, it's just expected.

Many bathroom shower plumbing fixtures use a left-right knob to control water temperature by turning the knob left for hotter, right for cooler. Your bath-tub or shower might fixture might use a separate knob for hot vs cold. But how the water plumbing inside the wall works is of little concern.

That's where this projects surprise comes in - the copper pipes run under the house and bring the cold water into position on the left side of the shower stall plumbing compartment - normally the hot side. Meanwhile, the hot water pipe came up the right hand side.

You might be tempted to ask why the workers didn't confirm hot-left/cold-right before finishing the connections - but that's not so easy, because without finishing the plumbing connections, where would all that water go?

Never the less, instead of reworking the detailed copper soldering at the main shower valve, they did the only clever thing they could have - go under the house, cut the pipes, and re-solder them crossed up - hot/left, cold/right. The easy, clever way of complying with the standard way things are to be done.

This is important - this is what you pay these guys for. It is with some authority that this author can describe how miserable a job it is to inch-wormed along the crawlspace under the home to cut and re-solder the copper water pipes to run a water line out the side of the house - it ain't a lot of fun.

To conclude, suffice to say that surprises are common when it comes to home remodeling. The difference between clever and stupid is how the problem is solved.



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