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Plumbing in the Home/three handle tub and shower


I'm not sure I will have to write all of the information pertaining to the problem. My question is: can hot water flow through to the cold side of the a 3 handle tub and shower valve. It's a gerber I changed the stems and the chrome etc.

This has come into question since this is a condo building with 12 one bedroom units the next door neighbor got the idea that my unit is causing the problem because I capped off the tub spout when I removed the tub and installed a shower. this was done about 9 years ago. about 3 years ago we had water line work done where I believe the plumber crossed a line or something. there were no problems prior to water line work.

Since I no longer live there and lease the property, the theory is that the tenant is shutting the water off using the center valve only enabling the hot or cold to cross in the pipe some how. I know this is not an easy description to envision but I hope it makes sense enough to make a determination.

Dear Gene,

   Yes, it is very possible for hot water to cross to the cold side through the mixing valve.  The idea makes very good sense too....  if I found just the right setting for my hot and cold faucets and could turn the shower on or off with just the one handle and not have to make adjustments to the temperature I would probably do that too.

   The hot water side typically is at a higher water pressure than the cold side, so if another cold water tap is opened then the hot water would flow through and mix with the rest of the system.

   It is just as likely that a mistake was made with the changes in the piping so some more investigation is called for.  

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Thomas Ambler


I am experienced at troubleshooting and solving all types of plumbing problems. Issues related to specific manufacturers fixtures and specifications though are beyond my field of expertise. I have dealt with problems in both rural and urban areas, and with water supply and drainage systems. Plumbing issues can be very obscure... such as odors, stains or occasional seepage. I have even had to chase rats from a customer's sewer line.


I have 25 years experience dealing with plumbing systems (which also includes hot water and steam heating systems). My main expertise is in diagnosing and solving problems. I have worked in construction and installation of new systems but do not regard myself as an expert in that area.

Asbury Park Press, Seattle Times, Denver Post.

I completed high school and one year of college. I served 4 years in the Marine Corps and have education in electronic and electrical troubleshooting and repair. I have attended classes on installing and repair of oil burners, and I have EPA universal certification for air conditioning and refrigeration. I am now enrolled as a full-time student at Everest college to re-train for a new career. Any donations of financial support would be greatly appreciated.

Past/Present Clients
All of Denny's Restaurants in NJ, Several Burger King stores, I have done work at two different homes for Bruce Springsteen. I have also worked for Jim Johnson (of J&J) and his family, Whitney Houston, Steve Forbes and many others.

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