American Standard Shower Valve Hot And Cold Reversed: Possible Reasons And Solutions

How frustrating is it when you want to shower with cold water, but hot water comes out? This usually happens for several reasons. American Standard shower valves also have this problem. So today, I will try to disclose why the American Standard shower valve hot and cold reversed.

This scenario often occurs for a few simple reasons. The significant reason is the hot and cold water control knobs are not installed properly. Also, it can happen if the shower cartridge is not aligned correctly.

But this is not the end. There are some other significant reasons behind this which are discussed later. So read the full article to know why this is happening and how to get rid of this issue.

Possible Reasons And Solutions For American Standard Shower Valve Hot And Cold Reversed

Take a look at this table to get a quick overview of this issue. Hope you will understand the possible reasons and solutions.

Possible ReasonsPossible Solutions
Wrong Control Knob PlacementPlace the right control knob in the right place.
Cartridge MisalignmentAlign the cartridge correctly and if it’s bad completely, replace it.
Both (Hot And Cold) Pipes Run ParallelAttach the line separately so that they are not touching each other.
Faulty ThermostatsReplace the thermostats.
Defective O-Ring InsideChange the O-ring inside and make sure the right is sealed correctly.
Faulty Pressure-Balancing ValvesFix the pressure-balancing valve by replacing it.
Hot Water IssueInspect first and change the water heater.

If your American Standard shower valve problems occur, especially reversing water, you need to identify the reasons first. In addition, you should know the solution.

Reason 1: Wrong Control Knob Placement

This issue will happen if you have dual knob temperature control setups in your shower valve. Generally, shower valve controllers have two sides. On one side is the letter “H” which indicates hot; on the other, there is the letter “C” which indicates cold.

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So these two have different positions. But sometimes hot and cold reverse due to inconsistent placement of control knobs. Simply put, the hot control knob is placed on the cold side, and the cold control knob is placed on the hot side.

And because of this your hot water and cold water are reversed i.e. hot water is replaced by cold water and cold water is replaced by hot. This is due to the carelessness of the plumber. The plumber may forget to check or determine which is the cold side and which is the hot side.

Possible Solution: Fixing this issue is a piece of cake and fairly less time-consuming. This DIY task includes shutting off the water supply, inspecting the knobs, unscrewing the temp control knob, removing the knobs, and switching the control knobs.

Reason 2: Cartridge Misalignment

Incorrectly aligning with the American Standard shower cartridge is the second and most common cause. It is considered one of the most intriguing culprits for cold and hot water reversal. Note that, if you have single-knob setups, this issue may happen then.

However, when the shower valve cartridge is not adjusted correctly, your entire relaxation like standing warm spray water will be disrupted. It happens because the cartridge can’t regulate the temperature perfectly.

Possible Solution: If you notice and inspect the shower valve cartridge is misplaced, replace the cartridge. Replacing is not a tedious task. This process includes removing the shower valve handle, freeing the cartridge, and replacing the cartridge.

Reason 3: Both (Hot And Cold) Pipes Run Parallel

When the hot and cold water lines of your shower valve flow in parallel, it affects their temperature. This means that your hot water will feel cold and cold water will feel hot.

Sometimes the hot water line touches the cold water line, causing it to heat up as well. The opposite can also happen. So this could be another significant factor. However, if this is the case, you must fix it.

Possible Solution: If you observe such inconsistencies, take the excess pipe apart. If you can’t, hire a professional plumber to do the job. Because if the plumber is not good, it is more likely that there will be mistakes in the work.

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Reason 4: Faulty Thermostats

As you know the function of a thermostat is to adjust the temperature. With a thermostatic shower valve, you can easily pre-set the temperature so that you can take a relaxing shower with the desired water.

Frustrating but true, when your shower valve has hot and cold water reverse issues, assume a thermostat malfunction has started. This is because the thermostat may have become too hot, thus heating the cold water as well.

Possible Solution: Sometimes it happens for loosening the screw inside. But if the thermostat is damaged, you should replace it instantly.

Reason 5: Defective O-Ring Inside

The O-ring is another crucial object inside the shower valve spout. It usually prevents unusual leaks and keeps the water from leaking to serve the desired water. As it is on the cartridge and works as a sealer, it should be fixed soon.

Possible Solution: There is no solution except to replace the broken or damaged O-ring on the shower valve.  

According to a user from iFixit, replacing is straightforward. It includes turning off the water supply, removing the handle’s middle side screw, taking off the escutcheon plate, eliminating the cartridge stem and related screw, and replacing the O-ring. Simple!

Reason 6: Faulty Pressure-Balancing Valves

A pressure-balancing valve is crucial for every shower valve. It balances the water pressure and maintains temperature. But when the pressure-balancing valve starts to fail, the hot and cold water get mixed up or flow inaccurately.

Possible Solution: When this valve starts to fail, change it hurriedly. Otherwise, you can’t get proper condition water when taking a shower.

Reason 7: Hot Water Issue

Another reason can be hot water issues. When the water temperature switches inappropriately, the water temperature will be changed.

In this case, if you face the shower mixer hot and cold water reversed, look at the water heater. So what do you do in this situation? The solution is to resolve the issue by inspecting the water heater and if needed, changing it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are American Standard Shower Valves Interchangeable?

Fortunately, the American Standard shower valve is interchangeable. They are easily interchanged with any trim variety. Depending on the make and model, it can vary. Some valves and trims may not fit others and are not universal. But it is wise not to mix other brands or manufacturer stuff with another shower valve.

How Do You Adjust Hot And Cold Shower Water?

Shower valve adjustment is not rocket science. However, to get the proper flow and the right water, shower valve attachment is crucial. If you have a poorly adjustable valve, you may face hot and cold water mixing issues.
You can adjust it by removing the handle first. Then, remove the metal cover located underneath the handle and trim. Now, rotate the ring from the right side to the left side or the left to the right side and push. This is how you can adjust hot and cold shower water.


There are some issues with American shower valves. One of these problems is hot and cold reversal. It’s frustrating that you want hot water but cold water comes through the showerhead. Or, you come home sweating in the heat and want to take a shower with a little cold water, but instead of cold water, hot water comes out.

But now, you know the reasons and solutions for the American Standard shower valve hot and cold reversed issue. But the two reasons that are worth noting are the displacement of the control knob and the cartridge not being properly aligned. Hopefully, you have understood what causes this phenomenon and how to resolve it.

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