Reverse Hot and Cold Faucet

Hot and Cold Faucet Valve Switched

Ah, the luxury of modern hot shower plumbing; with it’s soothing water spaying onto your back like tiny little masseuse hands.

But wait…the water is not actually getting hot…and the more you turn it to the “H”, the colder it’s getting!

Oh, there’s the hot water—but it’s coming out when you turn the handle to the opposite side, where the “C” is!

Something is definitely wrong. But for now, you can get your hot water from the cold side and your cold water from the hot side and try and relax as you get clean.

How to Fix Your Hot and Cold Reversed Faucet

Switching the hot and cold sides on your faucet whether in your kitchen or bathroom is actually pretty simple.

The one assumption here is that your temperature reversed faucet has just one handle or knob, and not a dual-handle type where the hot and cold water have separate knobs.

We’ll also assume your single-handle tub, shower or sink faucet is what’s called a cartridge type.

These are ever popular and durable styles that are characterized by having a single metal or plastic cylinder in the middle of the faucet body.

A movable stem with holes going through it sits inside this cartridge.

When the stem gets moved (controlled by the handle or knob), its holes align with holes in the cartridge.

As they align, water is let through; usually a mix of hot and cold water.

Now that you know how your reversed hot and cold faucet is put together let’s take it a part and fix it.

1. Turn Off the Water Supply

Before doing anything, you’ll want to turn off your main water supply. This will be close to your water meter, most likely outside your house.

2. Remove the All-Important Screw

Removing the screw on shower faucet

Next, you want to unscrew a center screw that holds on your reversed hot and cold faucet handle.

You may have to pry off what’s called an index cap that sits on top of the handle first.

Use a flat-head screwdriver or an old bread knife to get this done.

3. Take Off That Handle

Pulling shower knob off

When the handle screw is out, you can remove the handle itself. Do this by lifting up and tilting back (kitchen handles) or sliding out from the wall (baths/showers).

Don’t worry about using a little muscle here, as minerals from the water may have helped stiffen the bond between the handle and faucet body.

Removing screw on hot and cold handle

Some shower faucets will have a second handle that controls the hot and cold positioning. This may require you to remove a second screw before being able to access the cartridge.

4. Slide Retaining Ring Off Carefully

Next, you’ll need to slide off the retaining ring and clip if your model has these.

At this point, you’re ready to pull out the cartridge.

Your hot and cold water reverse problem is caused by a cartridge that is out of alignment.

Here’s what to do:

1. Remove cartridge

Grip the top point of the cartridge that you see poking out of the inside of your hot and cold reversed faucet. Pull it straight out just until you’re clear.

2. Twist cartridge around

Now, simply rotate the cartridge 180 degrees (half-way around) from it’s original position.

3. Drop it back in

Then, slide the cartridge back in until it’s snug. Replace the retaining ring and clip if necessary, the handle, handle screw and index cap.

Turn your main water line back on and give it a try!

In some cases, you may not have to remove your cartridge once you have your handle removed.

Some single-handle models are designed with the handle actually screwing into a small independent piece of plastic that sits between the handle and the cartridge.

Don’t worry if you don’t see this – yours may not be designed this way.

If this piece is placed on the wrong side, then the handle will be reversed, and the hot water will be cold, and vice versa.

Move this piece to the opposite side and screw your handle into it there.

You should be set and no longer have your hot and cold reversed on your shower faucet. Life is good.


  1. Tracie says;
    20 Jul 2010 - 5:40

    This just saved me hours of worry and stress – THANK YOU!!

  2. Do you know what brand the faucet is that your working on? I can’t find a replacement.

  3. tysonjm says;
    26 Mar 2020 - 17:29

    Do you need just the replacement handles or the entire valve? You can easily replace both handles/knobs if those are broken.