Waking up to a cold shower in the morning: that’s one of the day-to-day nightmares we’re all afraid of. And even during a mild Southern California winter, the idea of having to get through the morning after you face a surprise cold shower, or even a lukewarm one, is a pretty unpleasant one.
Usually, when people think of their shower losing its hot water, they connect it with a loss of hot water to the entire house. If you have a shower that isn’t warming up or won’t warm up at all, you’ll probably first make the assumption that something has gone wrong with the household water heater. Often, this is the problem and you’ll need to call technicians to fix it.
But what if only one shower has lost hot water? If you find that you’re still getting enough hot water at other taps, what has happened to the shower?
There are several possibilities, and you’ll probably need to call for professional plumbing in Irvine, CA, not to fix the water heater but to fix the shower’s plumbing.
The Broken/Worn Down Mixing Valve
What’s most likely happening is a problem with the shower’s mixing valve. The mixing valve is a control valve that creates the balance in the flow of water from the hot water line and the cold water line and blends the two together for your desired shower temperature. This valve can wear down over time or even break, and no fiddling around with the shower handles will be able to provide the right hot-cold mix.
You can’t see the mixing valve because it’s set behind the shower wall among the pipes, and we don’t recommend you try to access it by dismantling the faucet handle or anything else that requires you to take out wrenches and other tools. This repair requires professionals, who may need to replace the entire mixing valve.
Failed Anti-Scald Device
You may have a device inside installed into your showerhead designed to prevent a surge of extremely hot water from creating a scalding hazard. This anti-scald device, also called a “hot limit stop” or “rotational limit stop,” is found in many modern faucets, and if it is set too high or it breaks, it may prevent almost any hot water from coming through the showerhead. The showerhead will need to be dismantled to fix or reset it. We recommend calling a plumbing technician to do this, since making an error with this device can create a scalding hazard, and not all showerheads come with this device.
There are a few other, less common possibilities, such as a broken cartridge in a point-of-use filtration system or cross-connected pipes. It’s best not to guess at what could be wrong, however. If you want your hot shower back as fast as possible, the quickest route is to call us and schedule plumbing service. Going DIY with your plumbing in general, and any plumbing connected to your hot water supply specifically, is a bad idea!
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Schedule plumbing service with our technicians today.