How Does a Two-Handle Faucet Work?

A two-handle faucet is a common fixture found in many households, providing a convenient way to control the flow and temperature of water in the kitchen or bathroom. Understanding how does a two-handle faucet works can shed light on the mechanics behind its functionality.

With its classic design and separate handles for hot and cold water, the two-handle faucet offers a timeless appeal and functional benefits. We will provide a step-by-step guide on operating the faucet and offer practical tips to ensure its longevity.

Two-Handle Faucet

Two-Handle Faucet

Two-handle faucets, also known as double-handle faucets, are a popular form of faucet that may be seen in many homes.

They have two distinct handles, as the name implies, one for regulating hot water and the other for controlling cold water. These handles are often found on either side of a spout that is centrally located.

When opposed to single-handle faucets, the design provides for independent control of hot and cold water, giving users more exact temperature adjustments.

Parts of Two-Handle Faucet


The handles of a two-handle faucet are the primary controls for turning the water on or off and adjusting the temperature. They are typically mounted on the faucet body or the sink deck.

Each handle corresponds to a specific water supply line, with one controlling the flow of hot water and the other controlling the flow of cold water. By turning the handles clockwise or counterclockwise, users can regulate the water flow and achieve the desired temperature.


Valves or cartridges play a crucial role in the functionality of two-handle faucets. They are responsible for controlling the flow of water and maintaining a consistent temperature.

Each handle is connected to a valve or cartridge mechanism located within the faucet body. When a handle is turned, the valve or cartridge adjusts the water flow by aligning or blocking passages that allow hot and cold water to mix or remain separate.

The quality and durability of these valves or cartridges determine the overall performance and longevity of the faucet.


The spout of a two-handle faucet serves as the outlet through which water is dispensed into the sink or basin. It is centrally positioned between the two handles.

The spout design may vary, ranging from a traditional straight spout to more elaborate curved or swivel spouts. It is essential for the spout to be positioned at an appropriate height and angle to ensure efficient water flow and prevent splashing.


Aerators are small attachments located at the end of the faucet spout. They consist of a mesh screen.

The primary function of an aerator is to introduce air into the water stream, which helps reduce splashing, conserve water, and enhance the overall flow quality. Additionally, aerators often incorporate flow restrictors to regulate water consumption, making two-handle faucets more water-efficient.

Water supply lines

Two-handle faucets are connected to both hot and cold water supply lines. These lines provide a continuous flow of water to the respective valves or cartridges, allowing for independent control of hot and cold water.

The supply lines are typically made of durable materials like copper or stainless steel and are connected to the faucet using fittings or compression nuts. It is crucial to ensure a proper installation of the supply lines to prevent leaks and maintain optimal performance.

How Does a Two-Handle Faucet Work?

How Does a Two-Handle Faucet Work?

A. Flow Control Mechanism

One of the primary functions of a two-handle faucet is to control the flow of water. This mechanism involves the integration of cold and hot water supply lines along with valves or cartridges.

Cold and Hot Water Supply Lines

A conventional two-handle faucet has separate supply lines for cold and hot water. These supply lines are linked to the main water supply.

The cold water supply line draws cold water from the water source, whereas the hot water supply line connects to a water heater or a separate hot water source.

Valves/cartridges Regulating Water Flow

In a two-handle faucet, valves or cartridges play an important role in regulating water flow. These parts are often found inside the faucet body, beneath the handles. Each handle is linked to a valve or cartridge that regulates the flow of water.

When the faucet handles are turned off, the valves or cartridges close, preventing water from flowing through the faucet.

The valves or cartridges open when the handles are cranked, allowing water to pass through. The flow rate of water is determined by the degree to which the valves or cartridges open.

B. Mixing Mechanism

Another important aspect of a two-handle faucet is its ability to control the temperature of the water. The mixing mechanism allows users to adjust the ratio of cold and hot water to achieve the desired temperature.

How Do Handles Control The Temperature of The Water?

A two-handle faucet’s handles are often labeled or color-coded to show whether they regulate cold or hot water. Users can control the flow of cold and hot water by rotating the handles in different directions to reach the desired temperature.

Check Out - Best Selling Items on Amazon (Shop Now and Save Big)

To raise the temperature, for example, crank the hot water handle counterclockwise, allowing more hot water to flow.

To reduce the temperature, turn the cold water handle counterclockwise, reducing the amount of hot water in the mix.

Interaction Between The Valves/cartridges and The Handles

The valves or cartridges inside the faucet body are responsible for regulating the flow and temperature of the water.

As the handles are turned, they interact with the valves or cartridges, opening or closing them to adjust the flow and temperature.

The valves or cartridges are designed to mix the cold and hot water streams, allowing them to combine before exiting the spout. The precise design and construction of these valves or cartridges ensure a smooth and controlled mixing process, allowing users to achieve the desired temperature with ease.

Which Way Should Two-Handle Faucets Turn?

In general, two-handle faucets can turn in either direction, but the specific direction may depend on the faucet’s design and manufacturer. To determine the correct direction for turning the handles on your particular two-handle faucet, you can follow these guidelines:

  1. Hot Water Handle: In most cases, turning the hot water handle counterclockwise will increase the flow of hot water. This is the standard configuration for many two-handle faucets, where counterclockwise rotation corresponds to opening the hot water valve.
  2. Cold Water Handle: Similarly, turning the cold water handle counterclockwise will typically increase the flow of cold water. Again, counterclockwise rotation is the common direction to open the cold water valve.

Why Do Old Sinks Have Two Faucets?

Two-Handle Faucet

Old sinks often have two faucets because they were designed before the advent of modern mixing valves. The separate hot and cold water faucets allowed users to manually control the water temperature by blending the hot and cold water streams directly in the sink.

Here are a few reasons why old sinks had two faucets:

  1. Many older homes and buildings were constructed before the widespread availability of single-handle faucets with mixing valves. At that time, separate hot and cold water faucets were the norm.
  2. The development and widespread adoption of single-handle faucets with mixing valves occurred relatively recently. In the past, the technology to efficiently and reliably control water temperature with a single handle was not as advanced. Two separate faucets provided a simple and reliable solution for adjusting the water temperature manually.
  3. Older plumbing systems often had separate hot and cold water supply lines, making it more practical to have two separate faucets. These systems were designed to accommodate the traditional two-faucet configuration.
  4. Two-faucet sinks were considered a classic design and were often chosen for their visual appeal. They added a touch of elegance and nostalgia to bathrooms and kitchens.

Check also – How To Get Rid of Ants In Bathtub Faucet?

Leave a Comment