Lack of hot water in both showers

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by TripleE711, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. TripleE711

    TripleE711 New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    I'm a forum newbie (and a non-plumbing savy girl) so bear with my lack of term-correctness. :) And before anyone jumps my case because my situation may be similar to someone elses, I did try to read through a lot of the forum and the archives but nothing really touched on my whole situation.

    I recently moved into a new house with two bathrooms. One on the main floor with a three knob combo (hot, cold and shower diverter) and one in the basement with a single knob for water adjustment. The main floor shower receives an o.k. amount of hot water but as the shower time goes along it keeps decreasing and I have to keep turning the cold side down. The basement shower doesn't ever receive hardly any hot water and when you're turning the knob to adjust the temp the water completely shuts off inbetween the hot and cold water "areas." After a bit of research online and here on the forum I'm making an assumption that perhaps there is a problem with the anti-scald valves that are installed. Actually I can't be 100% sure they are installed because I don't know 1--what they look like and 2--how to disassemble each shower knob (or IF I do) to find out. I can only assume because it had to be up to code to sell they would have to be there. So, assuming we have an anti-scald valve on each shower and there's no hot water problem at the sinks in the whole house, WHAT is wrong with my showers ???? :mad:

    Keep in mind I'm limited in my plumbing jargon but I know it may be helpful to know if the anti-scald valves are pressure balanced or thermostatic. But of course I have no idea how to find out what each of these are and what they look like.

    Any help any of you can provide is much appreciated. thank you!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Probably more than one problem...

    The one where it turns off as you go to hot, could be the spindle for the anti-scald is stuck. You might be able to free it up if you take it apart.

    The symptom of decreasing hot water could just be you have a small hot water heater, or it is getting old and not recovering well. If you can check a sink when the hot is going on the shower, does the sink still have hot or is it cooled off as well? My guess is that it is cooled off as well.

    Another reason a WH could have poor reserves is if the dip tube (a tube on the cold water inlet that directs the incoming water towards the bottom of the tank rather than mixing with the hot that rose to the top) could be shot. On some models, these tubes disintegrated, and then the WH would only supply a limited amount of hot water since it was getting directly diluted rather than allowing for the natural accumulation of hot water at the top of the tank.

    How big is the WH, and how old is it?
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  4. TripleE711

    TripleE711 New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    The downstairs faucet is a worry for me because I'm not sure what I'll need to put the whole handle and face plate(?) back on the shower wall and seal it back on. It looks like there is some sort of sealant already around the main screw on the faceplate(?) and I don't want to damage anything vital.

    Unfortunately I'll have to debunk your theory that there is a decrease in hot water in all faucets when the shower is losing it. I tested the theory a couple times and there is always plenty of hot water coming out of the bathroom sink faucet when I turn it on at the same time as the shower is losing the hot water.

    The water heater is a 40 gal unit approx 5-7 yrs old.
  5. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Nov 8, 2005
    Hansville, Washington
    While you're taking pictures of your tub drain, get one of the valves as well. Any idea what brand they are?
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Jun 12, 2006
    For the problem in the basement, where the hot water shuts off completely, you can turn the temperature way down on your hot water tank and see if the same thing happens. If it does, your scald protector, if you have one, isn't the issue. Probably just some blockage in the valve. Could be the same problem in your other shower. It could be just a blockage in the hot valve.

    To check for blockages, you need to turn off the water to the showers and remove the hot stem in the 3 valve shower and remove the cartridge in the single handle shower.

    You may have a lot of sediment in your hot water tank that needs to be drained out. How's the water pressure in your sink faucets? Remove the aerators and check for mineral deposits, etc.
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