Orientation of controls for garden tub

How about a definitive answer from the field on this one. Hot water control handles for showers, sinks and tubs are always located on the left hand side. How about on a garden tub. I tend to think that the hot water control should be located on the left hand side when operated from inside the tub for the purpose of protecting the occupant from potential scalding while they are taking a bath. With new construction, I see it both ways. I usually get arguments from both sides. Anybody have a reference in UPC or elsewhere? Thanks, Hank

2003 IRC P2722.2 Hot Water. *Fixture fittings, faucets and diverters shall be installed and adjusted so that the flow of hot water from the fittings corresponds to the left-hand side of the fitting.*Exceptions: Shower or tub/shower mixing valves conforming to ASSE 1016, where the flow of hot water corresponds to the markings on the device.

The 2003 IRC may or may not be applicable for your area but it’s a place to start.

Thanks for the reference. These controls have no hot (red) cold (blue) indicators. Sounds like a judgment call when there are no indicators. I will either need to suggest they include indicators or leave it alone.

Riggan Inspection 055 (Small).jpg

It’s not definitive but I will offer an opinion based on logic. I would consider the left side of the faucet to be the one on the left as you face it(the right side in your picture). The IRC referance is for single handle operating controls. JMHO

Thanks Michael,

Just to clarify. “as you face it” - do you mean face it while inside the tub?

Yes, I look at it the same as any other sink or a tub that has the faucet on the end instead of the side as in your photo.

I don’t understand. What about "Fixture fittings…shall be installed…so that the flow of hot water…corresponds to the left-hand side of the fitting." leaves it to a judgment call or is not definitive?

Michael & Michael,

Based on this logic, just like in a shower with separate controls, the occupant controls the hot from inside the shower from the left knob. I would think that the same should apply when operating controls from inside the tub. In the absence of indicators, I think it is more important for there to be consistency with a match. Builders and some clients have offered that they think the hot water control should be on the left outside the tub since you are filling up the tub before you get in it. I tend to fuss a bit too much over these gray areas sometimes. Perhaps more NACHI pros will weigh in on this.

Try Quebec where the indications are in French. C for hot and F for cold Chaude and froid respectively

OK, if the question is “from what position do you apply left and right” then I can understand. My opinion is that should be from the point of view when one is in the shower or in the tub operating the controls.

Wow Larry, I never checked when I used to travel to Montreal & Bromont on business.


This is an easy one to figure out. I always thinks of my kids when it comes to safety. WWMCD (What would my children do?)

My children (as well as most people) have been trained that the hot is always on the left. They know how to make it hot or cold when they are “IN” the tub or shower. It wasn’t until we went on vacation that a reversed H/C almost scalded my daughter as she tried to make it colder in her tub.

Now she has learned to expect the unexpected :shock:

In reference to your picture, I would have to say that I would give my kids a small lecture before allowing them in that one:)

Good question