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Old 08-01-2013, 03:42 PM   #16
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


I have never seen a delta cartridge cross over. I do not think it is possible with the way they are constructed. They use a cup spring arrangement on a stainless steel plate that seals the hot and cold. No o rings are involved with the hot and cold water itself. The only O rings are sealing the entire cartridge from leaking.

If a cup spring should leak it will exit the faucet.

Only Moen single handle may cause cross over.

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Old 08-01-2013, 03:45 PM   #17
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


Try the obvious and unplug your return pump and see how things work.
By the way a return into the lower tank is not good plumbing it causes stacking of temperatures in the tank and overheated water because it will fire the burner more often

I'm thinking you have a bad check on the pump or some garbage is in it preventing it from closing tight.

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Old 08-01-2013, 03:47 PM   #18
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


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The handles may be too insulated from the fixture by plastic cartridge parts. Check a metallic area or better yet the connection pipes on sink faucets and the cold side of the valve body on showers. (requires removal of handle and escutcheon plate)
For all of the sink faucets, I previously experimented with turning off their hot water connection entirely for a day, so I believe all of the faucets are blameless. That just leaves the bath/shower mixer valves under a cloud of suspicion. I'll try removing the base plates to see if that gives me access to any cutoff valves or at least a way to directly measure the temperatures of the "cold" supply pipes.

Other than the sinks, baths, washing machine, and dishwasher, are there any other places in house plumbing where cold and hot water come together? A Delta representative called me yesterday and assured me it's impossible to get this kind of mixing in their mixer cartridges without water coming out of the fixture. Is it possible a builder might have installed some sort of standalone hot-cold pressure equalizer somewhere in the plumbing? Is that even a thing?

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Old 08-01-2013, 04:06 PM   #19
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


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Try the obvious and unplug your return pump and see how things work.
From my original posting: "I also tried unplugging the recirculating pump: this effectively reversed the problem: we'd no longer get hot water from the cold taps, but then we'd get cold from the hot side for a couple minutes. Basically, what you'd expect without recirculation."

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By the way a return into the lower tank is not good plumbing it causes stacking of temperatures in the tank and overheated water because it will fire the burner more often
Interesting. That does make sense, though I'll note that the lower tank method seems to be widely recommended:
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:08 PM   #20
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


Not approved in Ohio anymore we had a scald burn occur with lawsuit.

"From my original posting: "I also tried unplugging the recirculating pump: this effectively reversed the problem: we'd no longer get hot water from the cold taps, but then we'd get cold from the hot side for a couple minutes. Basically, what you'd expect without recirculation."

This is telling me you need check valves, repipe it correctly and install a swing check before the pump on the return and one above your tie in on the cold inlet. I bet your headache will go away...

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Old 08-01-2013, 04:41 PM   #21
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


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Not approved in Ohio anymore we had a scald burn occur with lawsuit.
Wow. Do you happen to have a reference to that lawsuit?

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"From my original posting: "I also tried unplugging the recirculating pump: this effectively reversed the problem: we'd no longer get hot water from the cold taps, but then we'd get cold from the hot side for a couple minutes. Basically, what you'd expect without recirculation."

This is telling me you need check valves, repipe it correctly and install a swing check before the pump on the return and one above your tie in on the cold inlet. I bet your headache will go away...
Can you explain how the proposed check valves will solve my problem?

The check valve "before the pump" should be redundant with the check valve in the pump.

When you say "above your tie in on the cold inlet," I assume you mean on the cold input from the street, before the tie-in with the (replumbed) hot water return, correct? Note that the original setup, which worked fine for years abut then developed this same hot-water-from-cold-pipe problem, was plumbed the way you suggest, minus the cold water check valve. Replacing the recirculating pump and replumbing the hot water return to the WH drain pipe was plumber #1's attempt at fixing my problem. I'll also add that the $700 I spent on that "fix", despite it not really making sense to me, is why I'm so skeptical of proposed solutions now.

Note also that California plumbing code and my water heater's warranty both require me to install a hot water expansion tank if I put a check valve on my cold water input, and I'm trying to avoid doing that. Since the system originally worked fine for many years without such a check valve, I'm baffled why I need one now to fix it.

Maybe I'm being simplistic, but it seems to me that if hot water is getting into my cold pipes, the cold water it's replacing has to take the hot water's place. That is, there must be a loop that includes my cold water pipes and my water heater. In theory, this loop could flow either direction (WH->hot pipes->mystery connection->cold pipes->WH, or WH->cold pipes->mystery connection->hot pipes->WH). A cold water check valve only helps with one of those cases, and furthermore it seems to be avoid the "real" problem if the "mystery connection".

The only alternative to a real loop that I can think of is convection within a pipe. But I believe modern water heaters all have heat traps to avoid this, plus I had plumber #2 extend the hot and cold connections on top of the WH so they'd have a small vertical rise and fall, which I understand is an old-school heat trap. That didn't fix the problem, either.

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Old 08-01-2013, 04:56 PM   #22
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


Curious- do you have a thermostatic mixing valve at your heater or any location?
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:53 PM   #23
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Good point E plumber.
Seabeast sometimes you need to see the tree in the forest. Your original set up was this.

" Originally, the hot water return went to the recirculating pump, and then into a T-connector on the WH cold input. The first fix attempt (which was well after the new WH was installed) replaced the recirc pump with a Grundfos UP10-16BU ATLC (which has in internal check valve), and replumbed the water return line to enter the WH through the lower drain spigot. This seemed to help a little with our problem, but didn't fix it."

Now before you replaced your hot water tank did your system work properly? If your answer is yes

Then I submit to you that when they replaced your hot water tank debris in your water line prevented your check valve from closing.

Your plumber opted for the grand fix and repiped your system and replaced your pump. When he did all that wonderful expensive work did he leave installed the old check valves on your cold water and return line?

As an engineer in what ever field you are in KISS is still the rule of the land.

Have a great day.

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Old 08-01-2013, 06:12 PM   #24
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


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Curious- do you have a thermostatic mixing valve at your heater or any location?
That was my thought as well.

I think I would go to each faucet...run the cold until it's cold water....and then shut off the water under the sink using the shut off valves.

At this point, the cold water line should be full of cold water.

Wait awhile....then take turns turning on sinks....depending on where the leak is (shower?), the sink closest to the leaking shower should be hot first.

Or....install test plugs in the rough in's in the shower.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:47 PM   #25
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Good point E plumber.
Seabeast sometimes you need to see the tree in the forest. Your original set up was this.

"Originally, the hot water return went to the recirculating pump, and then into a T-connector on the WH cold input. The first fix attempt (which was well after the new WH was installed) replaced the recirc pump with a Grundfos UP10-16BU ATLC (which has in internal check valve), and replumbed the water return line to enter the WH through the lower drain spigot. This seemed to help a little with our problem, but didn't fix it."

Now before you replaced your hot water tank did your system work properly? If your answer is yes

Then I submit to you that when they replaced your hot water tank debris in your water line prevented your check valve from closing.

Your plumber opted for the grand fix and repiped your system and replaced your pump. When he did all that wonderful expensive work did he leave installed the old check valves on your cold water and return line?
Notice that there is no mention of a cold water check valve in my description of my original setup.

Maybe I worded it strangely, but what I was trying to explain in the prior posts is that, as far as I can tell, I have never had a cold water check valve in my system. Yet the system used to work.

I don't know if the original (working) setup had any check valves at all, though I suspect it probably had one on the recirculating return line. It definitely has one on that line now, because it's built into the new recirculating pump.

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As an engineer in what ever field you are in KISS is still the rule of the land.
KISS is a fine principle. And not that it matters, but I'm an electrical engineer. I mentioned being an engineer not to assert any sort of authority, but to help explain why I'm asking so many questions rather than just accepting proposed solutions. Engineers tend to need to understand how things work.

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Old 08-01-2013, 07:55 PM   #26
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Curious- do you have a thermostatic mixing valve at your heater or any location?
Not to my knowledge. There are no hot-cold connections at my heater, so I'm sure there isn't a mixing valve there. Where else might such a valve be located?

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Old 08-01-2013, 08:32 PM   #27
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


There might be one located by a deck mount whirpool tub/soaking tub. They are required now on new construction under the IPC.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:51 PM   #28
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Good luck!
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:22 PM   #29
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Theoretically, if the water heater thermostatic element is set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the burner would come on when the temperature at the thermostat reaches about 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The burner stays on until the water around the thermostat element near the bottom of the heater reaches about 135 degrees Fahrenheit (about 30 degrees higher than when the burner came on and 15 degrees above the theoretical set point of the thermostat).
Most people don't realize that the maximum temperature limit test of the ANSI Z21.10.1 Gas Water Heater Standard allows the outlet water temperature of the water heater to rise 30 F above the thermostat setting. This provision in the standard accounts for the phenomenon known as "stacking" or "thermal layering". The hot water is less dense and rises to the top of the hot water tank. The cooler water drops to the bottom of the tank. Stacking or layering occurs when hot water rises to the top of the heater due to recurring short duration heating cycles caused by a frequent number of small quantity hot water uses. This phenomenon can occur in any type of storage water heater and generally is more significant in vertical heaters.
At the top of a water heater that is theoretically set for 120 F to prevent scalding, the temperatures can easily reach 150 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. These extremely high temperatures will cause third degrees burns and severe scald injuries in an instant upon contact with the skin. This is why I highly recommend installing the proper type of an ASSE 1017 thermostatic mixing valve on the outlet piping of a water heater to limit the hot water distribution temperatures to a maximum safe delivery temperature of 120 F. If high temperature hot water uses are required in a building, I recommend installing an ASSE 1070 thermostatic mixing valve on the local branch piping serving a fixture or group of fixtures. The mixing valve can then reduce the hot water temperature to a safe temperature.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:32 PM   #30
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Hot water from cold pipes, plumbers are stumped


Seabeast again, what is the temperature of the water coming out at the fixtures, when you turn on the Cold water faucet? You have never stated that temp, just keep going on that the water is hot, now you are pulling stuff up about something irrelevant.

Hot to some may not be hot to others, and it helps to know what is the physical measured temp. that you are getting, when you turn on the Cold water at various fixtures in the home, this includes the outside water spigot.

BTW Ghost, a little heavy on the 411. Goes way past what the OP is trying to figure out, and still cannot figure out how that fits in. Me thinks that we need to go back to the basic problem, which I am going with either the OP lives where they may have a heat wave going on for that period, which caused incoming water temps to be higher than average, like we did last year all across the country, or that they have a messed up plumbing system with that recirc, and that is what is causing the issue, not this all over the board reasoning of what it could be, but actually may not.

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