Perplexing Plumbing?
October 19, 2016 11:21 AM   Subscribe

Two on going, things that just annoy and confuse me.

I replaced the faucets in my tub a while back, I thought I had swapped the hot and cold valves because they appeared to be backwards. Then I switched them, without really thinking about it and it still seems wrong??

Both valves turn toward the center for off. So the hot water on the left turns clockwise and the cold water on the right turns counter clock wise? Is this correct, I mean dont all faucets turn the same way, righty tighty and all that?? I bought them as a set in a plumbing store so I have a hard time imagining that there was an error in the parts? Seems really odd to me and that is why I ask the MeFites and not someone I have to face to face with.

We redid our kitchen two years ago. I bought a sink and a headset and sprayer all new. The sprayer was always having issues of pressure. I had the sprayer swapped out, then I had the whole faucet headset swapped out. The sprayer is still about 30% the pressure of the faucet? I have looked, there are no clogs or kinks, it is just blame bizarro. Any, any ideas?
posted by silsurf to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
1. I am not sure what the answer is, but our landlord, in fixing our shower/tub faucets, actually changed the way they came on and turned off, so it is apparently not a fixed thing.
posted by needlegrrl at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2016

1. Typically faucets open by turning clockwise and close by turning counterclockwise. i.e. the opposite of Righty Tighty. That nemonic is for nuts and bolts.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:27 AM on October 19, 2016

1 -- Nah, I've seen plenty of such faucet combinations. It's not wrong, but it is odd, but you won't even notice after a year.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on October 19, 2016

This can be because the faucet cartridges are designed for lever handles, in which moving the levers to the front would make good intuitive sense to open the faucet. You can change this. See: this article and this article. Sometimes the stem/cartridge is fixed, and you can replace the remaining cold water faucet with a hot one, and both faucets will be clockwise to tighten/close, CCW to open.

In many faucets/sprayers there's a flow restrictor - a tiny plastic disk piece for restricting the flow of water to save water. If you take this out then you'll have a higher pressure.
posted by suedehead at 11:29 AM on October 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

silsurf: "Both valves turn toward the center for off. So the hot water on the left turns clockwise and the cold water on the right turns counter clock wise? Is this correct, "

This is correct; hot and cold taps turn opposite directions. IE: The hot tap should be on the left and turn clockwise to turn off; cold on the right and turn counterclockwise to turn off.

Sprayers are often connected with a hose that has a much smaller diameter than the pipes serving the faucet. This will reduce the flow at the sprayer.
posted by Mitheral at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

PS: Hot on the left is a US plumbing code requirement; I don't know if they address the turn direction.
posted by Mitheral at 12:11 PM on October 19, 2016

Response by poster: thanks!
posted by silsurf at 12:48 PM on October 19, 2016

The knobs in my tub, bathroom sink, and kitchen sink all turn inwards to turn off: none of the three pairs turns both knobs in the same direction. (Hot is on the left in all three, too.)
posted by easily confused at 12:49 PM on October 19, 2016

1. Mitheral has it.

2. Not sure what you mean by headset. Is the sprayer a separate thing, or the kind that comes out of the faucet? Either way, check the valve that closes off the flow to the normal faucet.

Does water still run from the faucet when the sprayer is in use?

You might get more pressure by removing a flow restrictor, as suedehead suggests.

If the distance to the end of the sprayer hose is significantly longer than the distance to the tip of the faucet, that could conceivably be enough to cause flow problems.
posted by aspersioncast at 2:06 PM on October 19, 2016

1 - The faucets don't have to turn in the same direction, it's the design of the handle that affects which way they turn, so they can either turn the same direction, or opposite. The faucets in my bathroom sink and shower are the same as easily confused's, but they are not round knobs, they are handles like this. At the sink, in the off position, the handles are pointed out, away from each other. To turn them on I turn them towards each other. If they both turned in the same direction, the handle of one of them would bang into the faucet itself - they basically have to turn in opposite directions, or they wouldn't work. The shower faucets match the sink faucets, so they turn the same way as the sink to match. So this is a thing. Do you have knobs or handles - did the old set have knobs or handles?

2- How long is your hose? If you've got a really long hose you'll lose pressure. When I did my remodel I got a pull down magnetic faucet, so the faucet is the sprayer and I love it.
posted by NoraCharles at 2:17 PM on October 19, 2016

Pairs of taps that turn in the same direction to do the same thing usually involve a valve mechanism based on a screw. Turning the tap clockwise tightens the tap valve down onto the seat, closing off the flow; turning it anticlockwise loosens the valve and allows water to flow up through the seat and past it. Righty tighty is indeed the usual rule for these (you tighten them up to turn them off).

If your tap takes multiple full turns to go from fully closed to fully open, and tends to drip or dribble due to valve wear after being in service for ten years or so, it will be one of these screw types.

Tap sets that turn in opposite directions are usually based on a different kind of valve, which works by turning a valve plate so that holes in the plate either line up or don't with holes in the housing. These will typically go from fully closed to fully open in about a quarter turn, which is why you often see them actuated by levers rather than wheels or knobs.

The more expensive version of this kind of tap uses ceramic valve discs and housings that are almost completely wear-free.

Hot tap on the left is also code in Australia. I don't believe the code includes a spec for the type of valve to be used.
posted by flabdablet at 8:42 AM on October 20, 2016

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