Cold Shower: How to Fix
LESLIE: We’ve got Sal in Georgia on the line with a water heater that doesn’t want to deliver hot and cold when he needs it. What’s going on, Sal?
SAL: Hey, my situation here is I installed a Whirlpool hot-water heater.
SAL: I’ve got plenty of hot water but it doesn’t maintain the temperature all the way through. I have turned it up from 120 to – which was factory set – to 140 so I could get a little more hot water. But it still doesn’t maintain the temperature. I have to continuously, every four minutes or so, turn it over – turn the hot water up just a little bit.
TOM: Is this an electric hot-water heater?
SAL: Yes, sir.
TOM: OK. Are you running out of hot water quickly, Sal?
SAL: No, I’ve got plenty of hot water. I can take a 15-, 20-minute shower without running out of hot water. It just won’t maintain the temperature.
TOM: So, when you say it won’t maintain the temperature, will it not maintain the temperature while you’re taking the shower? Is that when you get sort of the hot and the cold?
SAL: Correct. Correct. Yeah, yeah. It just – it keeps going cold on me where I’ve got to keep turning the hot up just a little bit.
TOM: It may not necessarily be the water heater. Because what happens is if there’s water being consumed anywhere else in the house while this is happening, you may end up with an imbalance in the mix between hot and cold. And there’s a simple solution to that and it’s called a “pressure-balance valve.”
And basically, you replace your shower valve with a pressure-balance valve and what that does is actually maintains the mix between hot and cold, regardless of what the pressure is in either line. Does that make sense?
SAL: Yeah, it does. But it’s just me and the wife at the house. So when I’m showering, she’s not using the hot water, so that’s the only thing – it doesn’t make sense to me, either, because it just – it seems like it would maintain it. I replaced the original water heater that was in the house – which was an old, beat-up water heater – but it maintained the temperature. It did run out of hot water a lot quicker.
TOM: Do you notice this in any – at any other fixture but the shower?
SAL: I have not noticed, no. I mean the shower is the only one that it would really be noticeable. But yeah, no, I haven’t noticed.
TOM: Something like – for example, if you had a very slow leak in your toilet and it was filling up, like ghost-flushing, and you may not even notice that this is happening, that can spill some water. If you’re running a dishwasher, if you’re running a washing machine, anything could be going on in the house that could be pulling water. Or even at the street, there could be an imbalance in pressure at the street that could be causing this.
But the condition that you’re describing is very common. Commonly associated with an imbalance of pressure. So I would start there, Sal. I would start there. And if that doesn’t solve it, then we can talk further, OK?
SAL: Alright. Sounds great. I thank you for your time.