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acaciaavenue 12-08-2009 08:22 PM

Water Heater - Water reversed, hot is cold, cold is hot
It's -20 here in Montana, woke up today with the typical frozen pipe scenario. As I rambled around heating up the cold areas of the house where pipes were close to outer walls, a problem emerged a few hours later as the waterflow got back to normal:

The hot faucet now spews cold water, and the cold faucet spews hot. And they worked just fine 8 hours earlier.

And, just to state the obvious - the water heater is 2 years old, the connections are hooked up right and I have more than enough hot water when it's operating correctly - no shortages there.

There is no information on this that I can find online, so anyone who has experienced this problem can be a real hero right now. I have turned the gas to 'pilot', drained the hot water tank, shut off the main line, checked the relief valve (works), drained the house pipes and am trying to think of how to get them to switch back around. It sounds like a basic mechanical problem, but I am at a total loss here.

Thanks in advance

Ishmael 12-08-2009 09:18 PM


acaciaavenue 12-08-2009 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Ishmael (Post 363748)

Haha. Yeah, quite the stumper. Right now I am attempting to try and reverse what may have happened this morning. I have drained the entire house and water heater, attempting to refill it and hope that whatever happened earlier was systemic of the pipes freezing and not a problem with the water heater itself.

wiley0714 12-08-2009 11:58 PM

time out. when you turn on the cold water faucet, hot water comes out???
you need to find out if that is from more than one faucet.
i could see a mixing valve failing, and back flowing hot water into the cold line. but other than at one possible failed fixture. i cannot see hot water flowing thru a hot line at the tank and mixing into a cold line.

beenthere 12-09-2009 05:11 AM

A single lever faucet may have become damaged.
And or, one of your pipes is still frozen and forcing the water to reverse flow at a single lever faucet.

AllanJ 12-09-2009 11:00 AM

Most likely you would have gotten it to have both pipes spewing warm or hot if you let them run for a few minutes longer.

Turn off the shutoff valves under each sink to see if you can isolate a damaged or defective faucet set as evidenced by the erroneous flow ceasing.

Does anyone turn off the shower water only by a valve at the shower head? This can cause water to go up the down staircase, er, cold water to go out the hot feed the wrong way or vice versa. Turn off the regular faucet(s) after your shower.

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