How to Adjust the Temperature of Aging-in-Place Faucets

9 Easy-to-Adjust Delta Faucets for Your Aging-in-Place Bathroom and Kitchen

Serious, life-threatening burns from scalding tap water are up there among some of the most common household injuries.

Most people solve this problem by turning down the temperature on their hot water heater. The trouble with that solution, though, is that some appliances – like dishwashers – may need water set at that high temperature to kill bacteria.

The water heater itself can also be a part of the problem. If the hot water heater isn’t set to a high enough temperature, it can actually harbor dangerous bacteria and contaminate the water while the water sits in the tank.

And, not surprisingly, when you start talking about an aging-in-place home and your elderly parents, tap water temperature becomes an even bigger issue to contend with.

Are Older Adults at a Higher Risk for Hot Water Burns and Scalds?

Yes! Older adults are more likely to suffer a serious burn when hot water hits their skin, and there are a couple of reasons why.

For one, they have a slower reaction time than younger adults and children. If an older adult puts their hands under the faucet and the water gets too hot, the time it takes for them to react and remove their hands is enough time for them to get a serious burn.

Older adults also have thinner skin than younger adults, making them more sensitive to hot water and their skin more susceptible to a burn injury.

Another culprit can be the faucet itself. Some single-handle faucets don’t easily decipher between hot and cold. When the lines are blurred, it can be pretty easy for your parent to accidentally push the faucet handle to ‘hot’ when they want lukewarm water.

Whatever the reason, there’s an easy solution to tap water burns and scalds among older adults. Turn the temperature down!

How to Adjust the Temperature of Faucets in the Aging-in-Place Home

I’ll show you how to adjust the water temperature on a few types of faucets so you can help prevent your parent from a burn or scald the next time they get a shower or do the dishes.

Before you get started, you’ll need this short list of tools and materials:

Tools and Materials:

Adjusting a Single-Handle Kitchen or Bathroom Faucet

Adjusting the water temperature on a single handle faucet is fairly straightforward – a great first project for the DIY novice. You’ll follow the same general process whether you’re adjusting the water temperature of a kitchen faucet or a bathroom faucet.

I always recommend that you also consult your faucet’s owner’s manual in case there are any deviations from the standard adjustment process.

Here are the steps for adjusting the temperature of a faucet in your aging-in-place kitchen or bathroom.

Step 1: Turn the Hot and Cold Water Valves Off

Head under the sink and turn both the hot and cold water valves off. There should now be no water coming out of the faucet when you lift the handle. For most faucets, you’ll hand-turn the valve’s knobs. In some cases, you may need to use an adjustable wrench to turn off the water.

Step 2: Remove the Handle from the Faucet

The handle is held in place on the faucet by a screw which you’ll need to remove. The screw may be exposed towards the back or side of the handle. On many faucets, it’s hidden beneath a hot/cold water indicator visible from the front. Find the screw on your particular faucet.

Once the screw is exposed, use an Allen wrench to rotate and remove the screw. You should now be able to lift the faucet handle off of the faucet’s base.

On some faucet models, you may need to twist and turn the front or back of the handle, unscrewing it from the main handle’s frame. Check your faucet’s owner’s manual for instructions based on your specific model if the solution isn’t obvious at first.

Step 3: Adjust the Temperature on the Valve

Once you remove the handle, you’ll expose the valve. On the valve, you should see a temperature indicator that can be adjusted right to left. On most faucets, you’ll slide a red indicator button to the right – right towards cold.

Step 4: Replace the Handle and Test the Water Temperature

Once your handle is back in place, use a thermometer to check that the water temperature is below 120-degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s still too hot, go through these steps again and retest the water temperature.

You Can Use this Adjustment Process to Adjust These ADA-Compliant Delta Bathroom and Kitchen Faucets

Pro Tip: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets the standards for what constitutes safe faucets and fixtures – and all building products – for aging-in-place design. Each of the products listed below complies with the ADA. This means every faucet is safe to operate and won’t cause pain in the fingers or wrist. As you renovate your parent’s home, it’s important that every faucet you purchase be ADA-compliant.

ADA-Compliant Delta Bathroom Faucets

temperature of faucets

Delta Faucet Victorian Single Hole Bathroom Faucet

This faucet is an excellent option for aging-in-place because of how easy and painless it is to operate. For this one, you’ll need to twist the handle to unscrew it from its rotating base to access the screw holding the handle in place.

Delta Faucet Modern Single Hole Bathroom Faucet

temperature of faucets

I also like this faucet from Delta because of its aging-in-place-friendly handle. It’s easy to use and wide enough for older, sore hands to grasp onto. Delta’s Modern faucet has a pinhole screw on the handle’s base that’s slightly hidden by the handle itself. This is where you’ll start your water temperature adjustment.

Delta Faucet Nicoli Single Hole Bathroom Faucet

temperature of faucets

If you’re looking for simple, elegant, and safe, check out the Nicoli bathroom faucet from Delta. Its curved lines and modern handle are a stylish twist on a basic faucet. Most importantly, the handle is ADA-compliant and won’t hurt sore hands. Temperature adjustments are easy with this model. You’ll find the screw connecting the handle and the base right at the top of the faucet.

ADA-Compliant Delta Kitchen Faucets

Delta Faucet Trinsic Pull-Out Kitchen Faucet

temperature of faucets

This kitchen faucet from Delta is one of the easier models to adjust. Towards the top of the faucet, you’ll find the screw that connects the handle and the base. Start there as you make your adjustment.

Beyond how easy it is to adjust, this is a great all-around aging-in-place kitchen faucet. My favorite feature is its elongated spout that gives your parent lots of clearance when they’re washing their hands or the dishes. It also brings the water closer to them so they don’t have to reach as far over the sink, which can significantly reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident.

Delta Faucet Cassidy Sing-Handle Pull-Down Sprayer

The Cassidy adapts to just about any design style you’re going for – from traditional to industrial and more. Its versatility and its easy-to-use pull-down sprayer that brings water closer to your parents are the two reasons why it’s on my list of favorite aging-in-place faucets. To make your temperature adjustment, you’ll remove the handle from the side to access the faucet’s temperature valve.

Delta Faucet Pivotal Single-Handle Touch2.0 Kitchen Faucet

temperature of faucets

Delta rules the faucet world with touch sensor technology – a perfect feature for aging-in-place homes and older adults with sore, arthritic hands. To prevent burns and scalding, this faucet includes an integrated LED light that shows whether the water temperature is cold or hot. Blue light lets your parent know the water is cool and safe to use. A red light warns that the water may be too hot. A genius aging-in-place feature!

While this faucet is touchless, it still includes a handle on the side. This is where you’ll begin as you adjust the faucet’s water temperature.

Adjusting a Bathroom Shower Faucet

Adjusting the water temperature on a shower faucet is another easy project. Unlike different kitchen and bathroom faucets, shower faucet adjustments pretty much work the same way.

Many shower faucet models come with an anti-scald valve already included. Others give you the ability to add one. Either way, an anti-scald valve makes sure that the water leaving the showerhead isn’t hot enough to cause harm.

As you can imagine, shower scalds are even more dangerous in aging-in-place homes where there’s an older adult standing on a wet, slippery shower floor. You parent can easily slip and fall if they instinctually jump back to get out of the way of the burning water.

To adjust most bathroom shower faucets, here are the steps:

Step 1: Turn the Hot and Cold Water Valves to the Off Position

Turn off the water to the bathroom before you get started. Afterward, turn the faucet handle and make sure no water pours out.

Step 2: Remove the Handle from the Faucet

On the side of the faucet handle should be an exposed screw. Use an Allen wrench to rotate the screw until you can remove it and the faucet handle.

Step 3: Remove the Cartridge Sleeve and Plastic O-ring

There’s a sleeve around the faucet’s cartridge. Hold it and pull it off of the faucet. This exposes the full cartridge body. Now, you should see a thin plastic disk called an O-ring overtop of the scald valve. Remove it and set it aside.

Step 4: Adjust the Anti-Scald Valve

Take the scald valve and pull it from the cartridge. With a Delta faucet, you’ll turn the valve clockwise to decrease the water temperature.

Step 5: Replace the Components and Screw on the Faucet Handle

Work your way back through these steps and replace the shower faucet’s handle.

Step 6: Test the Water Temperature & Repeat Steps if Needed

Turn the faucet handle to your hot water setting. Using your thermometer, test the water temperature and make sure it’s under 120-degrees Fahrenheit. You can aim for closer to 110-degrees if your parent is sensitive to temperature.

If the temperature is still too hot, repeat these steps and continue adjusting until you reach the temperature you’re looking for.

You Can Use this Adjustment Process to Adjust These ADA-Compliant Delta Shower Faucets

The shower faucet adjustment steps above work best for Delta’s series 13 and 14 shower faucets. If your faucet is a series 17, modify these instructions based on the ones found in your owner’s manual. Series 17 faucets have two handles to control water temperature and water volume separately, so there are just a few extra steps to take.

Below are some of my favorite Delta series 13 and 14 faucets to keep your adjustment and overall aging-in-place shower faucet installation easy.

ADA-Compliant Delta Shower Faucets

Delta Faucet Trinsic Shower Kit

Delta’s Trinsic model is a safe and very modern shower kit with an ADA-compliant handle. Adjusting the water on this faucet is easy using the steps above. This Trinsic also includes Delta’s Monitor Pressure-Balanced Valve Cartridge to help ensure consistent water temperature and prevent sudden changes from toilet flushes or appliances.

Delta Faucet Ashlyn Single-Handle Shower Trim Kit

The Ashlyn faucet is a great choice if your style is simple and elegant. No fluff here – just a great-looking and well-performing faucet with a safe ADA-compliant handle. Like the Trinsic model, this faucet comes with Delta’s Monitor Pressure-Balanced Valve Cartridge to avoid sudden water temperature changes – an important safety feature for aging-in-place bathroom design.

Delta Faucet Ara Single-Function Tub and Shower Trim Kit

If your parents want modern style, the Ara shower faucet from Delta may be the one. Its sharp 90-degree angled lines are a rare find in a safe, ADA-compliant shower faucet. Like the other shower faucets on the list, it includes Delta’s pressure-balanced valve so the water temperature stays consistent throughout their entire shower. Like all Delta shower faucets, it’s an easy faucet to adjust when you’re ready to turn down the water temperature in your parent’s shower.

An Easy Project that Makes a Big Difference in the Safety of Your Parent’s Home

Sometimes the simple updates make the biggest difference. This is certainly true when you’re adjusting the water temperature of your parent’s kitchen, bathroom, or shower faucet.

This weekend go through their house to check the temperature of each faucet and bring the water temperature down a few degrees. If any of your parent’s faucets aren’t ADA-compliant – or just hurt their fingers or wrist – now’s the time to upgrade to an ADA-compliant Delta faucet as well.

As always, send your aging-in-place faucet and temperature adjustment project questions my way. I’m here to help.

Good luck with your next aging-in-place home project!

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