Why Is The Hot Water Not Working In The Shower?

Nothing describes disappointment like turning on your shower and getting cold water instead of hot. It can be frustrating when the hot water is not working properly, especially when you can’t enjoy comfortable, warm showers unless you fix it quickly. 

Here are some common problems that can stop your shower from dispensing hot water when everything else around the home is working without issues. 

Faulty Anti-Scald Device

The anti-scald device balances the hot and cold water coming from a shower. Without the anti-scald device, you would get very hot water that can cause burns or freezing cold water.

The anti-scald device can run into problems in time, significantly affecting your shower's performance. It's common for showers to have issues dispensing hot water if the anti-scald device malfunctions.

Here are three of the most common anti-scald device issues to watch out for:

  • Incorrect Calibration

If your anti-scald device is poorly calibrated, hot water production is reduced. You'll need to locate the device and adjust it until you get the right temperature. It involves turning it to the right or left until you get the right water temperature.

  • Clogging

The anti-scald device can get clogged with debris over time, which can cause problems with no hot water in the shower. If you trace the issue to a blocked anti-scald component, you'll need to clear it up.

  • Incorrect installation

It's quite likely you installed yours the wrong way if it was your first time. Check the part and compare its position to the manual to ensure you placed it in the correct position. If not, adjust the component until it's in the right position.

Bad Shower Mixing Valve

A shower mixing valve mixes cold water with hot water and delivers warm water for use in the shower. Mixing valves ensure safe use and prevent accidents resulting from using excessively hot/cold water.

Reduced hot-water production is a tell-tale sign of a faulty shower valve. Your mixing valve can run into any of the following problems:

shower mixing valve
  • Wear-and-Tear

Your shower mixing valve is made up of small rubber pieces that wear out eventually. You must replace these parts promptly or confront a malfunctioning cold shower.

You can solve this plumbing issue by finding the faulty components in the mixing valve and replacing them as needed. Or, you can just buy a new shower valve if the entire device is worn out.

  • Plumbing Crossover

A plumbing crossover happens when the cold-hot water mixture is imbalanced. In this case, you'll likely have too much cold water mixing with hot water. This can also cause the hot water to run out in a short time period.

Cross-connected pipes work a bit like a mixing valve, although you'll find them only where mixing valves are unavailable. Should your shower give only hot water, make sure the cross-connection hot water feed pipe isn't the culprit.

Plumbing crossovers are harder to fix, so it's best to gall for the attention of a licensed plumber. They can diagnose the water system to detect what's throwing your shower's cold-hot water mixture out of balance.

Faulty Water Heater

Another common reason a shower can fail to produce enough warm water is a faulty water heater tank. Your shower relies on the water heater to heat up cold water before reaching the faucet. But, there are plenty of things that can happen when you haven’t serviced the heater in a while:

water heater maintenance
  • Blown Fuse

Like other home appliances, water heaters have a built-in fuse to protect against electrical surges and overloads. Typically, the fuse will melt and cut the power supply to the heater once a surge happens.

Your water heater can’t operate if it has blown a fuse. However, replacing it will get it heating your water in no time.

  • Timer Issues

Some modern water heaters have a timer to regulate their operation. Often, these heaters can go off at select intervals to save energy.

If you're not getting hot water, the heater might be off. That's why you need to confirm if the water heater is running before you step into the shower. However, this will cause all the water in your home to be cold and not just in the shower.

  • Sediment Build-up

In gas water heaters, sediment often accumulates around the burner. This ultimately affects the burner's capacity to generate enough heat for the shower.

  • Malfunctioning Heating Element

Modern electric water heaters use heating elements to heat water. While reliable and safer than burners, heating elements have their issues. For example, they might wear out or malfunction for no visible reasons.

In this case, you have two options to get the hot water back: repair the heating element or replace it. What option you choose usually depends on the diagnosis by a professional plumber.

  • Incorrect Setting

This is not a problem most people think of when the shower starts running cold, but it's something to consider. Check your water heater and thermostat settings and verify that they operate optimally.

  • Dip tube issues

The dip tube transfers cold water from pipes to the bottom of the tank for heating. A broken or worn-out dip tube will allow cold water to move to the top of the tank without getting heated. And when you turn on the shower, guess what you get? Ice-cold water.

Extreme Water Demand

Your water heater tank might be a machine, but it has limits. Typically, it takes about 30 minutes to produce a tankful of hot water. If you come in immediately after someone else uses the shower, you're unlikely to get any hot water. This is even more true when using a showerhead that consumes a lot of water. 

So if you find the shower quickly running out of hot water, this can be a possible cause. The obvious solution would be to wait for the hot water tank to fill up a bit.

No hot water can be just as frustrating as no water at all, so learn how to get that fixed as well.

About the author 

John The Plumber has been the Plumber in Ottawa you can count on since 2006. By providing incredible customer service, convenient and accommodating appointments, efficient and effective services, and an overall great experience, John The Plumber has grown beyond Ottawa to be the premier plumbing company in Ontario. We’re proud to offer world-class service and look forward to helping you!

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