I'm having a hard time finding an answer to this question. On a traditional single handle faucet, one with the handle on top (such as this Delta Foundations faucet) turning to the left is hot and turning to the right is cold.

I now have two single handle faucets where the handle is mounted vertically on the right side of the faucet. In other words the lever moves forward and back to change hot/cold. The question is which direction should be hot? In my kitchen I have a Kohler Artifacts which has back towards the wall as hot and forwards towards the sink as cold. In my bathroom I have a Delta Broadmoor faucet which is the opposite; down towards the sink is hot and up towards the wall is cold. Neither has any indicator which should be which.

Is there a standard for this? It seems like both should move in the same direction for hot, either back towards the wall or forwards towards the sink. The question is which is correct? Is one installed improperly or does it just vary by manufacturer?

  • Plumbing 101, hot is on the left cold on the right and s4!t flows down hill, lefty loose right tight. (Loose to open tight to close). – Ed Beal Feb 17 at 1:39
  • @EdBeal, lefty loosey, righty tighty ... lol – jsotola Feb 17 at 4:05
  • Yup last time I typed that someone did not understand but I agree. – Ed Beal Feb 17 at 4:08
  • Modern thermostatic valves have a feature to protect you from scalding. It is rather important that you make the hot and cold connections correctly, or this will work against you! – Harper - Reinstate Monica Feb 17 at 12:42

You've found one of the major conundrums of modern plumbing.
In the US it has always been hot on the left and cold on the right. Europe - I'm not sure about.
However, as faucet design has changed it's become complicated as you pointed out. This started with single lever faucets, which was okay, because left was still hot and right cold. But then they started putting them on the side. When they went to the side, and even before that, many manufacturers started marking them - hot & cold but some didn't.
Now to your dilemma. If the faucets are unmarked you can set them up however it suits you. I'm not aware of any codes dictating that. My preference when a single lever faucet moves either toward you or away is to have the cold toward and hot away. I think this works best with small children because they have a hard time reaching them and it's easier to pull than push away - thus cold forward.
The main thing is to get them the same throughout your house so there's no confusion. Since neither has an indicator I would change the Delta in the bathroom so that hot is back toward the wall. It's easy enough - just swap the supply lines under the sink. The good thing is whichever way you put them people will adjust quickly.
First Edit
What Ed Beal is saying in his comments is correct. If you think about rotating the handle left even if it's front to back, that left would be hot and right would be cold. I don't think code requires that on the type of setup you're asking about - but Ed Beal would know. In that case you would want to swap the supply lines under your kitchen sink instead of the bathroom.
Importantly, you want them the same.

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  • A temp regulating faucet will always be hot on the left from the operations side. – Ed Beal Feb 17 at 1:41
  • Yes - when it's left-right hot is always left. OPs question was about when the handle goes forward and back. – HoneyDo Feb 17 at 2:27
  • @Ed Beal Is that required by code for faucets that rotate toward and away from the person operating if the faucet isn't marked? Not debating - trying to learn something. – HoneyDo Feb 17 at 3:22
  • Turning to the left would mean rotating clockwise. So if the handle is on the right side that would mean up towards the wall should be hot, unless I'm missing something – nynexman4464 Feb 17 at 13:21
  • @nynexman4464 No - turning a knob to the left is counter-clockwise. so in the case of a right-side mounted handle turning toward the back of the sink would be cold - pulling it toward the operator would be hot. – HoneyDo Feb 17 at 21:32

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