Only warm water in shower - Pfister

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by pvstansel, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. pvstansel

    pvstansel New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    calif
    I have a shower which will only output cold and warm water. It will not output hot water.
    Single Handle.
    Valve is a Pfister 0X8-010A style.
    Copper piping.

    I have two other showers in my home with the exact same setup/valves. These showers work fine as do the other tubs and sinks. The sinks and tub in the bathroom with the problematic shower are working fine (good hot water). Note that my in my home, the showers and tubs are separate.

    Here is what I've done so far (with no success).

    1. Disassembled the valved. Inspected for buildup, and debris. Everything looks clean and new.

    2. Completely swapped the water mixer/valve (cartridge) and handle with another shower which is working properly.

    3. Swapped the rubber gromets with another working shower valve.

    4. Removed/inspected shower head (still get warm water only with spray head removed).

    5. Removed the temperature control ring. (Best I can tell, by removing it, you get full control of the valve)

    The design of the hot/cold water mixer is pretty simple. A plate with two tear-drop cutouts which backs up to the rubber gromets inside the hot and cold water lines.. I'm certain that I'm getting full valve control (full cold.... and full hot water at each ends of the valve/handle).

    At this point, I feel I've eliminated the valve and mixing unit.

    I've read in forums that say I should flush the line (rational is that debris is in the hot water line, behind the valve). But if there is a blockage of some sort, I'd expect to see significant lower hot water pressure... and would still get hot water when the valve is on full hot....tho maybe the mixer is doing something I don't understand. Note that I do observe a slight drop in water pressure when the valve is set to full hot.

    Question1 : Any hints on how to flush the system w/o creating a dramatic mess? I'm thinking I'll find a buddy, turn off the water, remove the mixer and gromets, hold a bucket in front of the exposed lines, turn on the water for a minute or so, waterworks galore, turn off water, look for debris on the shower floor, and reassemble. Make sense?

    Question2 :Any other tips or advise appreciated. I'm running out of things to try.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Does the valve rough-in have integral shutoffs? If so, check that they are set to full open.
  3. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,245
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That piece with the "two rubber grommets" is the balancing spool and it is stuck. Pull it out and tap it on the floor a couple of times then shake it to see if you feel the inside piece moving back and forth. Otherwise call 1-800-PFAUCET and have them send you a replacement.
  4. pvstansel

    pvstansel New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    calif
    LLigetfa, I don't know of any shutoff valves for these showers. But thanks for the input.

    HJ, Your response makes you the hero of our house for the weekend! HOT WATER IS BACK.

    I pulled out the 'balance unit' (gently pulls straight out with a pair of needle nose pliers).
    I tapped it and heard the knocking around noise. I put it back in and still no hot water.

    But fortunately we have multiple of these pfister units. I went ahead and swapped it with another (never used) shower, and VIOLA!, hot water in our master bath.
    And as one would expect, no hot water in the other (never used) shower now.

    I'll call the 800 number you mention and see if they'll send me a replacement unit or two.

    Thanks so much.
    BTW, this is a great forum.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I could have sworn that you said in your first post, that you tried that.

    Anyway... glad you got it sorted.
  6. rpendell

    rpendell New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NY
    Found a Work Around

    First of all I would like to thank you guys for taking the time to post on this thread. I had the same problem (bad pressure balance cartridge) and this thread helped me troubleshoot and isolate the problem much faster than I would have been able to otherwise. My symptoms were only hot water and no cold. I was able to isolate the problem by turning the pressure balance cartridge (PN: 974-291) over and get all cold and no hot.

    The reason for my post is to let you guys know that I was able to find a temporary fix until I can have Pfister send me a new part.

    When you pull the pressure balance cartridge out of the faucet you will see one end with two oval shaped o-rings and the other side has two small round rubber grommets that are spring loaded. You can remove the spring loaded grommets by pulling them straight up. Once the rubber grommets are removed you will be looking at a thin wall of plastic that forces the water to travel around the valve. If you take a drill and drill out the plastic "plug" (~1/16" Thick) that is directly behind the spring loaded gromets the water will be allowed to flow directly through the valve the cartridge and bypass the valve portion. You don't have to worry about drilling to far, if you do you will drill into the valve itself which you are bypassing anyway. The only thing to watch out for is that you don't drill a hole that is too large because you could remove the step at the bottom of the hole where the springs from the spring loaded gromets sit.

    This is probably not a permanent fix but it is enough to make the wife happy and get you through a long weekend until a replacement part can be ordered.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  7. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    One more bit of clarity to add, is that defeating the balance spool increases the risk of scalding and should be considered as unsafe. Consider also turning down the temperature on the water heater until such time as this is rectified.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,245
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    "Defeating" the balancing spool by drilling it CAN create a crossover between the hot and cold sides, which will create a different problem with the same symptoms.
  9. rpendell

    rpendell New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NY
    Thanks for the replies.

    I agree that drilling isn’t a permanent fix but if done as I described seems to work for a temporary solution until a replacement part can be ordered.

    It’s interesting to me that 20 years ago when someone flushed the toilet to hear whoever was in the shower yell it was considered entertainment and today it is “unsafeâ€. I think there’s an Andy Rooney segment in there somewhere, God rest his sole.
  10. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    It speaks of the litigious society we live in today. The case of Liebeck v. McDonald's, where an idiot puts a hot cup of coffee between her legs while driving and sues for $2.7 million in punitive damages, set us down a slippery slope. Some consider a quote from William Shakespeare's play King Henry VI, Part II. ... "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers" a good step toward tort reform. In the meantime, CYA. Some internet forums would ban any post that suggests defeating a safety device for fear of getting sued.
  11. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The MacDonalds case is the wrong one to use as an example of frivoluous lawsuits. They deserved that one. Their coffee was, and actually still is, WAY to hot. They had always known about it and did make a conscious corporate decision that MOST of the customers wanted it hot so it would still be hot after they drove it home or to work, or whatever. And the lids were flimsy. There had been previous burn incidents which they settled.

    Personally, I never liked Mickey D's coffee...but they seem to be the number one purveyor in the country. I NEVER get coffee there.

    As to the shower, hj makes an excellent point about the crossover. If you don't have a recirc, it may never be a problem....but potentially......
  12. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    That is an interesting point. I guess it will take a forum sponsor, or poster, getting sued, to change that! What about all the gas work that is talked about??? What about the general concept of helping unlicensed folks do any plumbing work?? I think the internet is the wild wild west and the sponsors and moderators are Wyatt Earp! generally trying to keep things in line. Have to go over to the OK corral occasionally!
  13. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    On that we may have to agree to disagree. Because of that suit, the coffee I pick up is only luke warm by the time I get to my office. Since when is it considered safe to eat and drink while driving? I have a hard enough time texting and posting... :p
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,245
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Stupid people do stupid things and then call themselves "victims" and sue whoever has the deepest pockets. And since the average jury has the collective I.Q. of a turnip, (and the defense lawyers try to insure that they do NOT get any intelligent people on the jury), it goes along with the "poor oppressed" victim against the BIG wicked corporation with a lot of money.
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