We’ve all been there. You step into the shower expecting a nice hot stream of water to wash in and it’s lukewarm or even cold. Or maybe you’ve stepped into the shower and the water got hotter and hotter and hotter until you felt like scalding water was pouring over you. Either scenario is frustrating to say the least. What exactly is going on?
The first thing you need to find out is if the problem is isolated to the one water source. Is the water temperature working everywhere else in your home or only affecting your shower? If all the faucets get warm, but then cool off quickly you probably have a bad burner in your hot water heater. All hot water in your house comes from the hot water heater tank. This is the first place to start looking if all the hot water in your home is affected. A burner is a relatively easy repair to do on your own if you are familiar with your water heater. If your water is too hot, the temperature of the hot water heater can be turned down.
If the shower is the only water that is having temperature problems, it may involve a component in the shower head. Cold and hot water are mixed in the shower head. There are O-rings in the shower head that may have become old and have deteriorated. Many times this is a simple home repair you can perform yourself with a kit from the hardware store.
Some other types of things to look for may be crossed pipe connections. Some older homes have such cross connections which balanced out the cold and hot water and today’s technology advancements with shower heads have made these connections obsolete. This type of repair requires some repairs behind the walls and is not something most people feel comfortable trying on their own.
Of course, another cause of no hot water may be the time you are trying to use your shower. Are you the only one using hot water at that time? Is someone else washing dishes, doing laundry or also taking a shower? Some hot water heaters need up to 30 minutes between uses to heat up the cold water that is coming in.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable making a plumbing repair on your own, by checking out these possible scenarios on your own, you can save a plumber some time in his investigation thus saving you money.