There’s a time and a place for a cool shower: after a tough workout, a long day in the sun, or when the temperature outside is roughly that of a sauna. But when you want nothing more than a warm shower to relax after a long day or to warm up when the temperatures drop, a spray of cold water from your shower head is an unpleasant and unwelcome surprise. Here are a few DIY plumbing tips for troubleshooting the cause of your cold water woes.
Cold Shower Troubleshooting
1. Assess your hot water heater
Make sure you have the appropriate hot water heater for your home and your needs. If your tank size is too small, you’ll be more prone to run out of hot water quickly. For example, a 30-gallon capacity tank is not going to cut it for a family who may be taking multiple showers and running water-using appliances all at once. Yet a tankless on-demand heater (unable to produce hot water as rapidly as a standard water heater) may be perfectly adequate for a small household of one or two people. Check the other faucets and water dispensers in your home. If they are all running cold, your water heater is likely at fault.
2. Check out your shower
If you have an adequate tank size and your other taps are dispensing warm water, your cold shower problem may be caused by a shower component. The most likely culprits are cross-connected pipes or a malfunctioning mixing valve. In older homes, cross-connected pipes were installed to balance hot and cold water flow. If this cross-connected balance gets thrown off, it can disrupt your hot shower. You will likely need to call a plumber for this fix. If the problem is with the valve, however, you can probably solve the problem yourself. Often, the O-rings or washers have worn out and the valve is no longer able to mix hot and cold water to produce that perfect temperature. The DIY shower mixing valve fix is just a matter of picking up the necessary parts from a home supply store.
Sometimes, the solution to your cold shower woes is as simple as changing when you take your showers. Even if you have an ample-sized water heater and your shower is operating at peak performance, if you are taking your showers after two other people have gone ahead of you or while the dishwasher and washing machine are both running, your water heater is going to have a hard time keeping up. Try scheduling your showers for when the water heater has had time to recover (generally about an hour after a period of heavy use) and see if your cold water woes subside.
If you’ve tried all these DIY tips and are still experiencing the rude surprise of a cold shower, call Bonfe today to schedule an inspection. Our expert plumbers will be able to diagnose the cause and perform many common repairs right on the spot.