I am trying to install my new washer & dryer combo. There are a few things that I am not sure since plumbing hardware and markings are a bit different in the US compared to once I used in Russia.

Please take a look at the photo and help me figuring out:

  • does the left (marked as red "1" on the picture) pipe provide hot water, while the right (blue "2") -- cold water? I saw that on many pictures in the Internet, but I am not sure whether the convention is reliable.
  • do I turn water on by turning down the handles marked with a green 3?

Laundry box

1 Answer 1


In the US you can almost always (almost... there's certainly exceptions) rely on hot being on the left and cold being on the right. This will be the case for washing machine hookups, bath tubs and faucets. I'm not sure if that is a code requirement anywhere, but it is almost universally used. Switching sides would have safety implications because someone would assume the right handle was cold and could be scalded when it ends up being hot.


  1. This is the hot.
  2. This is the cold.
  3. These little levers are where you turn the water on or off.

Also, note that in different regions and even from house to house the valve types can vary quite a bit. The values you have pictured are very modern and sleek and have built in water-hammer arresters. Some houses would just have two gate valves like you would use for an outside water hose with red and blue handles. Sometimes the two valves are linked and only have one handle that turns them both on or off. This Google Image Search shows the wide variety of types out there.

  • Thanks for a quick response! Do I understand correctly that the upper lever position corresponds to "turn the water off", and the lower position is "turn on"? Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 18:21
  • I think that is correct, but I'm not sure. On quarter-turn valves with a straight handle, the convention is that the water is ON when the handle points towards the output and OFF when the handle is perpendicular to the output. If those handles go from 45 degrees up to 45 degrees down, it doesn't follow that convention and could go either way.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 18:34
  • Makes sense. Would you recommend to figure that out just by experimenting? I guess it's the simplest way, Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 19:27
  • 1
    Yea, that's the simplest way, really. Once you figure it out you could leave a note for future reference, but water being on or off is pretty obvious, and spilling some isn't going to hurt anything.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 19:35
  • This specific unit is a Sioux Chief OxBox: youtu.be/sk0OrhcYyWo The valves open by pushing the levers back into the box. They are indeed quarter turn valves.
    – Ben Mosher
    Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 20:35

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