One of the best things about modern plumbing is that it just kind of works. You don't necessarily have to think about where your water goes when it drains or how a faucet can produce hot and cold water, but when you start thinking about those things, it can be hard to figure out how everything actually works.
Take the hot and cold water thought for example you know you have a water heater so where is the cold water coming from? And how does turning a knob or two get you the right temperature inside when you set the thermostat on the water heater outside?
Now that we've got you thinking, let's solve this plumbing mystery...
How Your Home Gets Hot, Warm, and Cold Water
Whether you have individual knobs for hot and cold or one master knob that controls everything, your faucet is connected to two water lines: the hot water line which runs from your water heater, and a cold water line that runs from your main water line.
Of course, turning on only the cold water nozzle (or turning your singular knob all the way to the right) will give you only cold, and turning on only the hot water nozzle (or turning your singular knob all the way to the left) will give you only hot water. Turning on both handles (or adjusting your singular knob to be not fully left or right) will allow water from both water lines to mix before coming out of the faucet according to the ratio of hot to cold you've selected.
But, believe it or not, the hot and cold handle(s) aren't actually what control the temperature of the water. Depending upon your faucet, there's some combination of different valve-like devices, such as mixer taps, single handle mixers, temperature control valves, and thermostatic mixing valves that are all controlled by the handle(s) to get you your perfect temperature shower.
So there you have it, the answer to a plumbing question you didn't even know you had! If you're having trouble getting hot or warm water, it may be time to start shopping for a new water heater. When choosing a hot water heater, you need to take into consideration the size of your house (or business), the number of people living in your home, how much hot water you use on a daily basis, and even maintenance.
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