Whether you’re starting a new day or getting ready to hit the bed after a tiring one, a warm shower is always welcome. When the shower water is right at that perfect temperature, there’s nothing like it.
Aside from being comfortable, hot showers offer other benefits too.
Healthline notes that they can be beneficial in terms of addressing some lingering respiratory issues you have, clearing out blemishes, and helping you relax in general. Plus, hot showers won’t shock your body in the morning like cold showers will, and that’s a good enough reason for many people.
All the reasons listed above explain why it’s such an unpleasant surprise when the water coming from your shower is cold instead of hot. Unfortunately, this is an issue that you may run into from time to time.
The possible explanations for why your shower is not providing enough or hardly any hot water at all can be quite varied. We’ll discuss those explanations in this article and also offer some tips regarding how to address them.
Shower Issues Related to the Anti-Scald Valve
You don’t necessarily have to look far when trying to figure out why your shower is having trouble providing hot water. The issues could be with the shower itself.
The anti-scald valve is a useful piece that keeps the water temperature from either getting too hot or too cold. It’s usually built into the shower handle, although your home may not have it if it’s a bit on the older side.
Anti-scald valves are especially important in homes occupied by elderly individuals and young kids because they help prevent accidents. They will protect your loved ones from potentially painful burns.
However, these specialized valves can run into problems as well.
The Anti-Scald Valve Was Improperly Installed
First off, the anti-scald valve could be installed incorrectly. According to Do It Yourself, the top and bottom segments of the anti-scald valve are not always marked clearly. Because of that, the valve may be in the wrong position.
You will likely need to take the anti-scald valve out of its current position and set it up correctly if you want the right amount of hot water to come out of your shower.
The Anti-Scald Valve Is Clogged
Another problem related to anti-scald valves that may arise is clogging. Simply put, these components are prone to getting blocked when you use them continuously.
To fix your clogged anti-scald valve, you’ll need to flush it clear with water. If that’s not working and the valve still looks to be in bad shape, it may be time to purchase a replacement.
The Anti-Scald Valve Is Not Set Correctly
The problem could also be something as simple as the anti-scald valve not being calibrated correctly. Perhaps the setting on it is a little too light. You’ll need to adjust it to get the right temperature in your water.
Take the cover off your faucet and look for a plastic device. That plastic device is the anti-scald valve.
You must now turn the valve to the right and then test the water. Check how the hot water is and see if you like it. Continue to adjust the valve until you get the exact temperature you want.
Shower Issues Related to the Mixing Valve
The lack of hot shower water may not be due to a malfunctioning or improperly set anti-scald valve. The mixing valve connected to your shower could be the culprit instead.
The Mixing Valve Is Not Set Correctly
Working with pipes can be confusing. You think you’re placing everything into the right spots only to find out later on that you’ve accidentally flipped the positions of various components.
The mixing valve is one of those pieces that can sometimes be misplaced. Getting to the mixing valve is not easy. It’s a job that’s often best left up to the professionals.
The Mixing Valve Is Busted
The reason why you’re not getting enough hot water from your shower could be because the mixing valve isn’t working. The rubber parts found in the mixing valves get worn down over time, and you will need to replace it.
In addition to age, the rubber pieces consistently being exposed to high temperature also contributes to them breaking down. As soon as those rubber pieces start to break, they can move around and cause blockages within the shower pipes.
You’ll have to fish out those rubber pieces first and replace them before your shower can start working again. Both tasks are hard to pull off for many homeowners, which is why you often call in professionals to handle them.
The Mixing Valve Is Causing a Plumbing Crossover
The job of the mixing valve is to ensure that the right amount of cold water blends in with the hot water so that you can enjoy a comfortable shower. The issue, though, is that some mixing valves may allow too much cold water to combine with water. The result is a phenomenon known as a plumbing crossover, according to Water Heater Guide.
If a plumbing crossover is taking place along your shower pipes, there’s a good chance you’ll never get the hot water you need for your showers. The water’s temperature may settle at lukewarm at best.
There is no simple fix if your issue is related to a plumbing crossover. Someone will likely need to take a closer look inside your plumbing system to determine where the problem is and apply fixes as necessary. Don’t hesitate to enlist professional assistance if you’ve encountered this kind of problem.
After conducting a thorough inspection of your shower and its many components, you and the people you hired may find that there’s nothing wrong with it.
So, what’s causing the lack of hot water in that scenario? The answer could be related to how the pipes are set up inside your home.
There Are Cross-Connected Pipes in Your Home
Your lack of hot water could be stemming from cross-connected pipes.
Cross-connected pipes were useful in the past. Since components like mixing valves weren’t around back then, home builders needed to do something different if they wanted to allow the flow of cold and hot water into showers. The solution they came up with was to install cross-connected pipes.
Those cross-connected pipes were important back in the day, but now, they’ve been rendered obsolete by inventions that have made hot water easier to access. Still, you could have those cross-connected pipes, and they may be causing problems now.
It’s hard to say that cross-connected pipes are the problem right off the bat. Often, you’ll need to go through the process of elimination to find out that they were the root cause of your lukewarm showers. Given how old those pipes are and how difficult they can be to tinker with, you may want to call on a plumber to handle this problem.
There Are Corroded Pipes inside Your Home
Corroded pipes are problematic, not because they could contaminate your water supply. They’re also problematic because they can significantly reduce the water pressure.
The corroded pipes can affect the rest of your plumbing system and your water heater. The hot water will have a hard time reaching its intended destinations because of the reduced pressure.
Water Heater Issues
Hot water doesn’t only find its way into your home. It’s the product of a heater working to ensure that your baths and showers are as comfortable as they can be.
A water heater is a machine routinely asked to take on a huge workload. It would hardly be surprising to find out that it’s encountering some issues. Mentioned below are some of the common water heater-related issues you need to watch out for.
The Water Heater Has Faulty Components
The water heater is a complex piece of equipment that requires several components working in unison for it to do its job. If one of those components is faulty, you’re not getting the hot water you need.
Among the components that could present problems are the heating elements.
In gas units, a buildup of dirt around the burner could lead to it becoming incapable of generating the amount of heat required. You must clean the gas burner before the heater can start working properly again.
The heating elements in electric burners may also suffer from mechanical issues. Cleaning is likely not going to do much for those electric heating elements. They will need to replace them.
The reason why your water heater is malfunctioning could also be due to the dip tube. The dip tube transports the cold water to the bottom of the tank, where it can sit for a while as it heats up. When the dip tube breaks or leaks, the cold water escapes near the top of the tank and quickly moves to whichever outlets you are using.
Don’t forget about the thermostat. A malfunctioning thermostat may be showing inaccurate temperatures whenever you check on it. You’ll have a hard time getting the water at the right temperature if the thermostat is consistently inaccurate.
The Water Heater Is Leaking
Leaking is a common problem for water heaters. That could be why you’re not receiving enough hot water.
The water heater could be leaking because it was not maintained properly. Failing to flush the water heater tank regularly can lead to debris accumulating inside of it. Over time, that accumulation of debris can cause the water heater to spring leaks.
A leak could also be the result of the heater’s components breaking loose. Some of the components inside the water heater may break apart and start bumping around the tank, causing holes to form along the walls.
Old age is one more thing that can cause the tank to leak. Even the sturdy walls of a high-priced water heater tank are not immune to aging. They will eventually break down and break open.
We’ve already highlighted numerous potential explanations for why you’re not getting the right amount of hot water. In this section, we’ll highlight more causes that are relatively easy to address.
The Water Going into the Heater Is Too Cold
When using a water heater, you may notice months when you encounter no issues and others when you never have enough hot water. The issue may not be your heater per se. Instead, it could be related to the climate.
Certain parts of the country have colder winters. Because of that, the temperature of the water flowing into homes is also colder than normal.
The good news is that there’s an easy fix for this particular problem. You need to adjust the thermostat on your water heater so that it can prepare your water at the time you need it. Once spring rolls around, you can dial the thermostat back down.
The Demand for Hot Water Is Too High
Water heaters store all that water in a tank so that you can get to it on demand. You’d think that a tank would supply more than enough hot water regularly, but that may not always happen.
Hot water can turn into a precious commodity in crowded households, so you’ll need to shower early to ensure you have enough to use. The addition of new appliances can also lead to increased consumption of hot water.
You can solve this hot water shortage by either getting a larger capacity heater or using a tankless model.
You May Be Showering at the Wrong Time
After a change in schedule, you may have noticed that you’re not getting enough hot water whenever you shower. This could be because you’re showering at the wrong time.
Some water heaters follow on and off cycles, and there’s a good chance you’re showering right as the heater is switching to off. Adjusting your routine should resolve this problem.
Hopefully, the lack of hot water coming from your shower can be fixed quickly. Still, there’s no reason to worry if more extensive repairs are required.
We at San Diego Plumbing & Pipelining are ready to help all homeowners experiencing problems related to a lack of hot water. Get in touch with us today so that we can start making the needed repairs.