Have you started a nice, hot shower only to receive an arctic blast half way through? If your water never really turns hot, chances are your hot water heater needs time to reheat the water, especially if you have been doing other things like washing clothes or running the dishwasher. However, if that cold shower occurs in the midst of a hot shower start, you may have some problems with the hot water heater or plumbing. Consider these options before you hire a pro:
1. Diagnosing a possible water heater problem – You will want to go throughout your home, testing the hot water fixtures to see whether or not your cold shower was an isolated incident or is common throughout the entire home. If you are not getting any hot water, your water heater is the likely culprit.
First, check the temperature setting on your hot water heater. If all is well, the next thing to consider is whether a fuse has been blown or tripped if you rely on electricity to heat your water. A fuse can be easily replaced. If you have gas, check to see if the pilot light went out. If it is, you can easily relight it, following the instructions in the manufacturer’s manual.
If fixing the temperature setting, fuse or pilot light does not fix your problem, chances are you may have a variety of other issues such as a defective thermocouple, flue obstructions, sediment buildup on the heating element, or even a defective temperature control.
2. When it is an isolated shower problem – If the other fixtures in your home produce hot water and stays hot for a length of time, your shower is an isolated problem. There are a number of problems why your shower loses hot water. If you have old galvanized steel pipes, they may be corroded and need replacing. Also, you should check the shut-off valve for the hot water to your shower. If it is closed or partially closed, open it and test the shower for hot water. However, if you only receive warm water or start getting cold water, you may have a shower valve problem.
3. Diagnosing a shower valve problem – Occasionally, shower valves become worn down with time, the rubber parts disintegrating or swelling with age. When this happens, the rubber parts block the path for flowing water. This blockage usually happens with the shower valves as heat makes the rubber swell. Sometimes, the rubber parts break apart and travel to the hot water valve to the shower, creating a blockage. If you feel confident about taking apart the valve, you can clean out the broken pieces in the hot water valve and then replace the rubber in the shower valve. Keep in mind that most shower valves are located inside the wall and may only be accessible by a hidden panel in a closet in the next room or a cabinet in the bathroom.
If you are in the least bit hesitant about replacing a blown fuse, relighting a pilot light, replacing a hot water heater part or clearing an obstruction from the shower valve, it is best to consult with a plumbing expert. What is better – paying for a plumber to fix it right the first time or waste money by cause even worse plumbing issues and end up paying more for a plumber’s time? Call RidgewayMechanical 770-354-4594, plumbing and we will give you a free estimate.