World’s worst interfaces – dual shower knobs

shower faucet

I’m staying with Todd this week I have been reintroduced to one of the world’s worst human interfaces – dual shower knobs.

Which one is hot and which one is cold? They sure do look pretty, but would it really be a problem to put a red and blue sticker on them? ‘H’ and ‘C’? Even labeling just one of them would be a big help.

Which way do they turn? There are no clues. Typically things turn clockwise to open and counter-clockwise to close. Do they turn in opposing directions or the same? Again, I need to experiment to figure it out.

So I do. Turn one on. Water is cold. Turn the other on. Water is still cold. Turn the other one down a bit. Suddenly scalding. Was that because of the one I just turned or is the other delayed? Now I have to remember which one to turn and in what direction to make it cool. Twist them both in random directions until something seems reasonable.

Get in the shower. It’s a little too cold. Repeat previous exercise, turning each in random directions. Scald myself. Now I must reach through the scalding water and desperately hope that I turn the hot one down by accident.

I’m sure this is dead simple for a plumber to install since the hot water and cold water arrives through separate pipes. Two controls make it easy to control both. But expecting me to remember which knob is which and in what direction at an hour where I can barely remember my own name is asking too much.


  1. The problem is not the dual knobs it’s 2 problems

    1) Todd, like me, prefer the european simple/minimalistic designs, so no color coding of blue and red.

    2) you should just turn on both of them and let the hot/warm water flow first then turn down the other and see which one is which. It’s called planning ahead before jumping in.

  2. Or why not just one lever : turn it left you’ll have hot water, right you’ll have cold water !! And more it’s up, more water will come out… I hate double knobs, usually you get burned or iced up when you begin showering

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