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Why is my shower cold? Understanding the Most Common Problems and How to Fix Them!

A cold shower is not something anyone likes, especially cold outside. A hot, steamy shower is the best way for you to get your day started. A warm bath or shower is a great way to relax and unwind.

If you have cold water after turning up the heat in your shower but still get lukewarm or even cold water, you may be having a problem. Is the water heater leaking? Is there a leak in your water heater? Is it necessary to have a larger heater? This comprehensive guide will explain why your shower might be freezing and outlines the steps you can take to fix it. Let’s get started now.

1. You don’t have enough hot water.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best. There may not be enough hot water to meet all your needs, which could be due to a large family or guests or new appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine. According to the Department of Energy, an average shower uses 10 Gallons of water, a dishwasher uses 6 Gallons, and clothes washers require 7 Gallons. This means that if you take a long shower and run your dishwasher simultaneously, a water heater of 40-gallon capacity might not be able to supply hot water.

Tankless water heaters work in the same way but in a different manner. Tankless heaters do not use a storage tank but have a set of Gallons per Minute (GPM) of water that can be heated to the right temperature. A tankless heater rated at 5 GPM may not be able to supply hot water to two people using the same shower head with a flow rate of 2 GPM and one person washing dishes by hand.

Wait until no one is using your hot water. This will allow you to determine if it is a problem. Next, turn on your shower to see if it heats up. You can also try another faucet to ensure the pain is not localized. This is likely the problem if you have a hot water shower. You can make some adjustments, such as using less-water-use faucets or shower heads, but it might be better to invest in a tankless water heater that will keep up with your needs.

2) Your water heater isn’t turning on (or it’s defective).

There are many possible causes of a water heater going out. These are some common issues.

Gas heaters

a) The pilot light has failed to turn on, thus preventing ignition. You will need to turn it on again.
b) The heater is not receiving gas. Double-check all gas lines, valves, and regulators to ensure they are in their open position.
c) The burner is not functioning correctly. It might need to be replaced or repaired.
d) There may be a gas leak. You should immediately turn off the gas and leave the house.

Electric heaters

a) It is possible that the circuit breaker was tripped. Reset the switch by checking your electrical panel. The circuit breaker may keep tripping if the water heater is defective or installed incorrectly.
b) The high-temperature cutoff button has tripped. The panel can be removed, and the button located. If the button does not respond, it is defective.
c) Your tank is leaky and has caused damage to the electronics.
d) The electric heating elements of your home are faulty or damaged.
e) It is a good idea to have a professional troubleshoot your water heater. If it is older, it might not be worth it.

Your hot water heater is not set to a high enough temperature

a) This could indicate a problem if your shower heats up but doesn’t seem to reach a sufficient temperature, even if it is turned on the hot side of the faucet.
b) Many hot water heaters have the ability to adjust the temperature at which it holds (or produces, in the case of tankless heaters) water. The “magic number,” commonly known, is 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
c) This is because it reduces the risk of scalding and prevents bacteria growth in water heaters. In some cases, however, the temperature may not be sufficient, or your water heater may be set at a lower temperature.
d) Some water heaters can be controlled by turning a dial, while others have a digital interface. Some water heaters have a temperature control hidden behind a panel. Turn off the power and remove the panel housing to access the temperature dial.
e) Call a local plumber if you aren’t confident with your DIY skills. It will cost you very little, and your shower will heat up quickly after it has been adjusted to the right temperature.

The Shower Valve is not properly adjusted

a) Another reason you might be consuming lukewarm, even though everyone is drinking hot water, is this. This could be the reason you’ve been turning up the heat in your shower, but the water is not heating enough.
b) The stem of your shower valve may need to be adjusted. The “Rotational Stop Limit” is a small plastic part that is found in the shower valve. This small plastic stopper prevents you from turning the hot water too far. It also stops you from burning yourself.
c) Most of the time, it is set correctly so that your shower will not be dangerous at the highest setting. In some cases, however, the setting may be too low to allow enough hot water.

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Your tub or shower will dictate the exact procedure, but it is the same process.

a) Take the handle out of the faucet
b) To expose the stem of the valve, remove the cover made of metal
c) Identify the RSL. It looks like a small, circular piece of plastic that is positioned around the stem.
d) In most cases, you can turn the RSL clockwise to release more hot liquid. Turning it counterclockwise will limit hot water. It can be turned slightly to the “hot” side.
e) Test the hot/cold mixture by replacing the faucet handle. If the temperature does not rise, replace the faucet handle. If there is no change, the RSL or shower valve is not to blame.
f) If you’re interested in learning more, this YouTube video will explain everything. This is easy enough to do yourself, but if you aren’t sure or feel uncomfortable, call Extreme Plumbing service, a Boston, Haverhill, MA plumber.

Faulty Shower Mixing Valve

a) If hot water is not coming from all your other showers or faucets, but you still experience cold showers, it could be that your shower mixing valve is defective.
b) As the name implies, the shower mixing valve is responsible for mixing hot and cold water to produce the right shower temperature. The valves may wear out, burst, or leak if an O-ring is damaged. You may have them incorrectly positioned. These issues can lead to uncomfortable shower temperatures.
c) Shower mixing valves are much less expensive than replacing a hot-water heater. Unfortunately, replacing the shower mixing valve can be difficult and time-consuming. This is not the right project for someone who isn’t a skilled DIYer.
d) This guide from The Old House can help you inspect and replace your mixing device. However, we recommend that you hire a professional to do this type of work.

Your Dip Tube is Broken

a) If your water heater is older and tank-based, the possibility is that your dip tube may be damaged.
b) The cold-water supply tube or dip tube is used to send cold water to the bottom to heat it. Hot water will rise to the surface and be sent to your faucets and appliances.
c) The plastic tube can become fragile over time, which can cause cold water to leak from your tank. This water is then sucked up and sent to your faucets instead of hot water.
d) Low water pressure is a sign of a deteriorating tube. This will cause small pieces of plastic to build up in your pipes and clog your filters.
e) Contact a plumber if you suspect this to be the problem. It is not a good idea to attempt fixing the hot water heater’s internals yourself.

Troubleshooting Guide for Hot Showers

Any of these issues could be the reason for your cold shower. Take a second look, consider the problem, and contact a plumber if you need additional assistance.

For all your plumbing needs, Call Extreme plumbing. We offer complete range of service, repair, and installation for residential plumbing, including new construction projects, bathroom plumbing & Furnace installation.

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