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Two Hot Water Pipes Under Bathroom Sink: Why?

If you look under your bathroom sink and notice two hot water pipes, you may wonder why they are there. Most bathroom sinks have one hot water pipe and one cold water pipe. 

If you have two hot water pipes under your bathroom sink, there are a few possible reasons. They can range from water recirculation to building codes to having many water sources.

This article will first break down the basics of bathroom sink plumbing. We will also reveal why you have two hot water pipes under your sink and explain the warning signs you should know for bathroom sink repairs.

Two Hot Water Pipes Under Bathroom Sink

The Basics of Bathroom Sink Plumbing

To understand why two hot water pipes are under your sink, you should know plumbing basics. 

In many bathroom sinks, the plumbing includes two water pipes: one hot water pipe and one cold water pipe. These pipes stop at shut-off valves that connect to the faucet. This allows you to have hot and cold water from the main water supply.

The hot water travels from the internal plumbing system of your house or building. The water will heat up from a hot water supply or another heating system. This could be a boiler, water heater, or gas water heater. 

When you turn the faucet on, the hot water will travel through your house to the bathroom. It will move through the hot water pipe and the tap under the sink.

In contrast, cold water comes from a source that is outside of your house. External sources include a local water supply or a water tank outside your house or building. When you turn the faucet on, the cold water travels from the exterior source to the bathroom.

The water faucet serves as a stop valve for the hot and cold water. 

When you turn the handle of your sink, the stop valve of the water pipes opens. This lets the water flow unheeded into the sink. When you turn the faucet off, the spigot closes, cutting off the water supply from the pipes to the sink.

Why Are There Two Hot Water Pipes Under My Sink?

Now that you know the components of bathroom plumbing, you might see that you have two pipes instead of one. There may be three possible reasons for this.

1) The Extra Pipe Recirculates Hot Water

A recirculation system ensures that hot water flows from your faucet when it turns on. An extra hot water pipe called a recirculation line helps hot water go from the hot water tank to the faucet. The water then goes back to the tank.  

Recirculation ensures that hot water releases as soon as the sink turns on. Without this, you could end up waiting several minutes while the water heats up. 

So, an extra hot water pipe provides greater convenience and helps save money. Rather than running the taps until the water is hot, three pipes can be energy efficient. The energy you save will cut down your monthly water bill.

The Extra Pipe Recirculates Hot Water

2) The Local Building Codes Need Many Pipes

If you have two hot water pipes, they could be required per local building codes. For safety, building codes specify pipe sizing, pipe materials, proper venting, and drainage. In a bathroom, a code may need two hot water pipes.

Often in these circumstances, one pipe connects to the hot water supply in the house. The other pipe attaches to the fixture, such as the sink (but also the shower or the tub). 

If you see two hot water pipes under your bathroom sink, check the local building codes (if there’s no hot water in your bathroom sink, read here for more information). You can check them by contacting your local, municipal, or state government. 

3) The Pipes Hook Up to Many Internal Water Sources  

Remember that hot water routes through the plumbing system of your house. If you see two hot pipes under your bathroom sink, it could mean that they connect to multiple water sources

A water source could be a hot water tank, water heater, or radiator. Two hot water pipes that connect to different sources are often typical in large buildings, such as apartment complexes.

What Are Signs That My Bathroom Sink Needs Repairs?

Two hot water pipes are not signs of a plumbing problem. But if you worry that there is an issue, the signals below may indicate that your bathroom sink needs repairs.

1) Your Water Bill Is Higher Than Normal

If you have not changed the amount of water you use, but your water bills are higher, it is the first sign that your bathroom sink needs repairs. 

A costly water bill could mean that your sink pipes are leaking or there is a problem with your water supply. Often, the leaks can go unnoticed, so make sure to pay attention to your monthly bill to see if there is an issue.

Water Bill

2) There Is Visible Water Underneath Your Sink

Visible water is a sign of a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. A leak could mean your water pipes are damaged or that there is a clog in your water supply lines.

If you notice visible water underneath your sink, do not ignore it. Water damage can cause structural damage to your home if left too long. It can also cause illness via mold and bacterial growth. If possible, identify where the leak is coming from and call a plumber.

3) The Hot Water Pipes Are Not Working As You Expect

If your hot water pipes do not heat up, or the water takes a long time to heat up, it could mean there is a problem. 

A plumber will check your water pipes and your internal water supply, such as a hot water tank or radiator, to ensure there are no malfunctions. It could also mean that your water heater is too small.

4) There Are Signs of Moisture or Cracking on Your Walls

There could be various reasons why there is moisture on your walls, but it may be because of an issue with your plumbing. It could mean a leak within your sink, toilet, or shower plumbing systems or a larger infrastructure issue.

Other plumbing signs you should be on the lookout for are:

  • Clogs
  • Slow draining
  • Poor water pressure
  • Discolored water
  • Puddles of water outside
  • Discolored or rusty pipes
  • Unpleasant odors

If you have any concerns with your bathroom sink or plumbing, you should call a plumber who can detect and repair the issue.

The Bottom Line

Having two hot water pipes under your bathroom sink may be unusual, but it does not mean that there is a large problem with your plumbing. There are various reasons why your bathroom has two of them instead of one.

The second pipe is in place to ensure that water recirculates from the hot water tank to the faucet. It may also be because of a building code requiring plumbers to put two separate lines between the water supply and the bathroom fixture. Last, a second pipe could mean that the hoses are hooked up to many internal water sources rather than one. 

Be on the lookout for any other signs of plumbing issues, and make sure to call a plumber as necessary. But rest assured, your two pipes are in place to ensure you can wash your hands under hot water daily.

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