Do you have a bathtub faucet the will not run hot enough water for a hot soak in the tub, or have you ever scalded yourself when you accidentally bumped into the control lever with an elbow while showering?

Both of these are common household problems you can fix by adjusting the maximum temperature of the faucet. It only takes a few minutes of your time and basic home tools. In most cases, after a bit of testing and adjustment, you will have your showerhead or bathroom faucet working exactly the way you want it to.

How Bathroom Fixture Levers Work

Modern single lever shower faucets are typically designed with up to 270 degrees of rotation. When the lever is rotated approximately 45 degrees from the “off” position, the cold water flow is fully engaged. However the hot water remains off. When you continue to rotate the handle, the hot water begins to flow. At approximately 135 degrees of rotation, both the hot and cold water flow are fully engaged. As you continue to rotate the lever, the hot water flow stays on while the cold flow is restricted. At about 270 degrees, the hot water is fully on and the cold-water flow is totally off.

A Simple Adjustment

Single-lever faucets are designed to be adjustable and the amount of rotation limited. Keep in mind; it is only at the full 270 degrees of rotation that you obtain only hot water. At a less than 270-degree rotation, cold water continues to blend with the hot water flow. If find that the faucet lever will not rotate a full 270 degrees, cold water is continually mixing with the hot flow: the shorter the rotation, the colder water added and the cooler the maximum temperature. Most single shower faucets are set at the factory to prevent total rotation to prevent scalding water causing a bathroom accident with children or the elderly. A simple adjustment will allow you to raise the water temperature to your comfort level while still preventing a total hot flow, which could result in injury.

Look Under The Faucet Handle

Take a look at the faucet handle to locate the piece of metal or plastic that covers the screw that holds the faucet in place. You can quickly “pop” out the metal or plastic screw cover to loosen the screw and remove the handle. Some older model faucets may have a hole hidden on the underside, requiring a tiny screwdriver or Allen wrench to remove.

Once you have removed the handle, you will be able to locate a collar with a small plastic tab sticking out. If the handle were in place, that little plastic tab would stop the rotation before the “maximum hot” position. To visualize how this works look inside the handle or try sliding it back in place and turn the faucet on and off.

Some faucet designs have collars with two tabs. On the back collar, the nub is always set straight up, at the 12 o’clock position. The other nub can be pulled out and rotated to the desired setting and reinserted. Remember that the farther away the nub is set from 12 o’clock, the more restricted the lever’s rotation and the cooler the maximum temperature.

Other older designs of the single level faucet may present hot and cold adjustment screws. To adjust, always turn the hot water screw counterclockwise, while the cold-water screw turns clockwise.

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