Why Won’t Cold Water Come out of My Faucet
The lack of cold water from your home’s faucets is annoying. If your hot water is still working, this narrows down the problem, but you still need to do some troubleshooting. Hot water is great, but washing dishes or taking a shower in boiling hot water that could burn you isn’t fun.
If the cold water doesn’t work, but the hot water does, then the problem should be relatively easy to isolate. Use these steps to help you solve your cold water problem.
What Do You Do When Cold Water Doesn’t Work?
Maybe you’ve just spent the day working outside in the sweltering sun and you come in to get a glass of ice water, only to find that the cold water isn’t working, but the hot water is. There are a few things you should try to get your cold water running again.
Check The Plumbing And Main Valve
Before getting into the technicalities of troubleshooting cold water, make sure that water is still flowing when you turn on the hot water. Check the kitchen, shower, tub and bathroom faucets to make sure water is flowing from other faucets in your home.
You may experience a lack of cold water in your home. This can be caused by accidentally hitting the shut-off valve on the main water supply line. Check your main shut-off valve to make sure it is not the culprit.
If you don’t have cold water anywhere in your home, this could be a possible sign of frozen pipes or debris clogging the cold water line. Since the cold water line is split from the hot water line to the water heater and you don’t have cold water, then the clog may be in the cold water line.
Removing debris that blocks the cold water flow can be tricky, so if you’re not willing to do it yourself, it’s best to call a professional plumber.
Sometimes the temperature can drop so low that the pipes can freeze if they are not used regularly during the winter months. If the temperature is low enough, this can happen overnight while you sleep, or it can take a few days for the pipes to freeze.
Once you’ve determined which faucets the cold water works in if you have any, take a look at the layout of your home’s plumbing. You may be able to narrow down which pipes may be frozen.
How To Fix Frozen Pipes?
Fixing frozen pipes can be tricky, especially if they have broken, so it’s best to leave this to a professional plumber. If you have experience with this type of repair, try these tips.
- Keep the water flowing. Allowing the water to flow slightly will help move the water through the frozen area and help speed up the thawing process.
- Use heat on frozen sections of pipe. You can try using a hairdryer or heating pad on the area of the frozen pipe. Do not leave the heating pad unattended. Avoid using space heaters unless you are sure the area is free of flammable materials, and if you do use a space heater, don’t leave it unattended. Do not use a blowtorch, or kerosene or propane heaters, as this poses a serious fire hazard.
- Heat until the water flows properly: Thoroughly thaw the pipes to make sure there is no residual ice. Check that water flow returns to normal by turning on the faucets in your home.
Check The Shut-Off Valve
While this shouldn’t be a problem for people who live alone, you should check your shut-off valve. A child or pet could be playing in the area and could have hit the shut-off valve. Make sure the cold water valve is open by turning it counterclockwise as far as it will go.
The shut-off valve is usually located underneath the sink. If the lack of cold water is isolated to a faucet, the shut-off valve may be the culprit.
Check The Water Supply Line
If the shut-off valve is not the problem, check the water supply line located under the sink. In most newer homes, there will be a braided steel water supply line that will hold up well to damage. However, older homes may have a pliable copper or all-metal water supply line that can easily be twisted or bent, cutting off the water supply.
If a bent cold water supply line seems to be the problem, try straightening it out and see if that helps with the cold water situation.
Make Sure The Cartridge Isn’t Broken
If you have a single-handle faucet in your kitchen, bathroom or shower, chances are that the cartridge will go bad after a period of use. These faucets work by mixing cold and hot water together, but if the cartridge is bad, they may cross-fill each other. If hot and cold water leak together, you may notice only warm water coming out of the cold faucet. The cartridge will need to be replaced to correct the problem of warm water flowing out of the cold side of the fixture.
If this problem only occurs in your shower, then the cartridge in the shower faucet may be causing the malfunction. In the shower faucet, there is a pressure-balancing valve. If it fails, it may prevent cooling water from flowing out of the showerhead.
This problem should be a relatively easy one to solve, as the cartridge needs to be removed and replaced. However, many do-it-yourselfers find that the cartridge may be difficult to remove. You may need a unique tool called a cartridge extractor. In some cases, it may be easier to call a plumber and have them replace the cartridge for you.
How Do I Fix It?
The lack of cold water in your home can be very distressing. If you don’t have experience with DIY plumbing projects at home, it’s best not to try to deal with them. Instead, seek the help of a professional plumber who has all the necessary tools and knowledge to adequately solve the problem at hand.
Finding the shut-off valve or main water supply point is simple enough that most people will have no problems doing so. However, fixing a burst pipe or removing clogged debris from a pipe is much more complicated and should only be handled by an experienced person or professional plumber.
If you choose to have professional take care of the problem, proceed with caution while waiting for it to be taken care of. The water coming out of the faucet can be very hot, so be careful not to scold yourself. You can also try setting the temperature of your water heater much lower than usual to help with this problem.
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