Age old question

This may sound silly, but when looking at a bathtub (I have included a drawing) at which side do we consider which is the left and which is the right (for purposes of the hot and cold water handles). Is it before we step in the tub and turn the water on, or is when we are in the tub looking at the handles. The reason I bring this up is that I have seen it both ways.

In my inspection yesterday the handles were marked wrong. Looking at the tub the right handle was marked cold, but was the hot water line, and the left handle was marked hot and was the cold water.

I have two different opinions on this, one from a fellow inspector and one from my wife. What are your opinions.

The developer only wants to switch the handles.

Hot should always be on the left side (facing).

So… in your situation, the handles are installed on the wrong side. The hot & cold piping installation is fine.

Swap the handles and your good to go. We had this discussion several months ago.
I agree with David.
Hot is on the left while facing the faucet while you are in in the tub.

I also agree. Hot and Cold are uniform throughout a house,Hot is always on the left.

I agree and disagree with the above posts.

I do think that the hot should always be on the left (in the United States of America) when facing the handles. Not until last week did I ever find a situation where the handles would be different once one is in the tub and facing the handles. The tub this past week was an island tub up on a plateau in the bathroom (with a view of forever), so when walking up to the tub, the hot was correct. When in the tub, however, the hot was incorrect. So it does present a quandary.

If, as one previous poster stated, the hot should be on the left “when in the tub,” that doesn’t take into account the fact that tub users are mostly women, and for some strange reason they seem to like to fill up the tub before getting in. So one would have to step into the tub, turn the faucet on, and step out while the tub fills up. I find that to be impractical.

On the other hand, if they are correct while outside the tub, but incorrect when in the tub, then after relaxing for 30 minutes or so in a hot tub in the company of Mr Rummy Eggnog, if one wanted to stay a little longer, but the water was too hot or too cold, then one could turn on the wrong faucet.

It could get really interesting if she sends her 10-year-old son in to fill up the tub for her.

There’s just all sorts of scenarios, so all I did was point out to my Clients that there were two ways to look at it and to decide which way they wanted to go. They thanked me for the caution.


Same in Canada Hot-Left Cold-Right when facing faucet. It is also written in the plumbing code.

If you have to explain to your customers on what angle, or that you need to stand on your head, or hold a mirror up to determine that hot is on left, then its incorrect! Lets think about this logically, most (if not all) have been trained since we were little that hot is on the left.

Take into the account the safety of the children, elderly, and especially the developmentally disabled. I would say these are folks that are most resistant to change and cannot do the problem solving if things are reversed.

Russell, in my house, most tub users are children. One to two baths a day. They like to try and operate controls when they are in tub. I always set temp for them to start but kids will be kids.

My wife takes a bath, maybe once a week (she does shower more frequently though :slight_smile: ).

This scenario is crystal clear for me, Hot is on left, cold is on right when you are facing the fixture.

Always agree with your wife…unless she’s wrong.

You folks are not reading the problem.

I’ll try to restate it.

When facing the faucet from outside the tub, the hot is on the left and the cold is on the right.

We all agree that’s the way it should be.

Now get in the tub and turn whichever way is necessary to face the faucet. Now that you’ve done that, the hot is on the right and the cold is on the left.

So the question is:

Should the hot be on the left and the cold on the right:

(a) when you are outside the tub
(b) when you are inside the tub

Normally, there can be no question because three sides of the tub are up against walls, so one could never get behind the faucet. However, with an island tub, one can walk completely around the bathtub. If the hot is left/cold is right is correct at the front of the tub, one could walk behind the tub and lean over to turn the faucet on and hot would be right, cold would be left. Same thing if one got into the tub.

So, does the plumbing code state that hot is left, cold is right “when outside the tub” or “when inside the tub”? Or is it silent on the issue?

It is good that we all can agree to disagree.

The only good thing about these handles is that they were marked for hot and cold. The developer is just going to switch the caps so they will be properly identified.

It is an interesting topic and I apprecaite all the answers. Kind of like which came first - the chicken or the egg.

I would like to see this disagreement even when she is wrong. I bet you would give in after a while. ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t know wives could be wrong. :margarit:

I always try to apply everything in a logical, consistent way. How is every other tub set up? CONSISTENTLY, every “normal” tub I have come across has the hot on the left and cold on right, when sitting in tub facing the fixture. In my opinion, this is the way every tub should be since that is the most consistent method of installation. Would everyone agree with that?

The taps need to be universally consistent for safety reasons. There is a greater safety risk for someone already in the tub that for someone who is out side of the tub. So the taps need to be correct (Hot=left, Cold=right) when facing the facet from sitting in the tub.

Here in Tejas, we have our trusty ol’ SOP.

535.229 x.(7) report as in need of repair deficiencies in installation and identification of hot and cold faucets;

Of course, it’s a might vague, since it doesn’t say which should be on the left. I always call out a hot water that is not on the left when standing in the tub.

That being said, in my own home, I have a similar situation that RR described. So when standing outside the tub, I ALWAYS have to think…consequently, I ALWAYS turn on the cold water first :frowning:

My .06 cents (inflation)

**My wife has never been wrong…**after all, she married me, didn’t she?:roll:

Once this imaginary person has used these Hot and Cold faucets a couple of times they ought to be able to remember which is which. If not they are too stupid to be bathing alone due to the possibility of accidental drowning.

Probably yes.

But here we’re addressing an installation that is not normal. How many times do you find a bathroom with an island bathtub in it, where one can fully walk around the tub? There are no walls within 10’ of the bathtub.

Ah-ha. Now we’re getting somewhere. I can see that as good reasoning since one will “normally” step into the bathtub before turning on the water.

Now, just for fun, what if it is a whirlpool bathtub? Is there anyone who would get into a whirlpool bathtub without filling it up first? Perhaps. But I think most people who have a whirlpool bathtub want to take advantage of the whirlpool action, and one doesn’t want to run the whirlpool jets until the water level is sufficient high enough.

Do we need a poll? Todd?

I probably wouldn’t have said anything if you had not said “Tejas.”

In many areas of Texas, as well as here in San Diego, many Spanish-speaking families purposely reverse either the water supply pipes or the handles because that ol’ “C” on the handle means “caliente.”

Is there an exception for certain ethnicities?