Cold Shower? It Could Be Caused By One of These 4 Common Hot Water Heater Issues

Picture this: It’s the end of a long day and you’re finally ready to unwind. You start a shower and hop in only to find yourself shivering in lukewarm (or worse  – cold!) water within seconds. Unfortunately, this scene plays out more often than many realize. Hot water heater problems are one of the most common calls we receive. 

Cold Shower? It Could Be Caused By One of These 4 Common Hot Water Heater Issues

What causes cold showers?

There are several reasons for unreliable hot water, especially if the problem arises suddenly or without warning. Your cold shower could be caused by one of these 4 common hot water heater issues:

1. Not enough capacity

If you have a tank hot water heater and have been using more hot water than usual, your problem might be simple: you don’t have enough water to suit your needs. To see if your cold shower is caused by capacity issues, wait until no one else (or no other appliance) in your home is using hot water. Then, test the shower again. If the water is hot, capacity is likely the culprit. If you still can’t achieve the water temperature you’d like, it’s time to get back to troubleshooting. 

2. Broken or worn-out components

There are many moving parts in a traditional water heater. Unfortunately, sometimes these parts malfunction. Pilot lights, burners, gas supply lines, and more can all be problematic. Check to make sure the hot water heater is ignited, that there are no leaks or cracks in the tank, and that there are no signs of a gas leak. (If you notice signs of a gas leak, shut off the gas lines immediately, leave the house, and call your natural gas provider.) 

3. Faulty thermostat

Occasionally, the thermostat within your hot water heater might need to be readjusted. Check the thermostat to be sure it is set to an optimal temperature. We recommend 120ºF to provide hot water while avoiding scalding. 

4. Valve adjustments

If you find yourself turning the hot water dial in the shower higher than normal, the problem likely lies in the valve. To do this, you will need to access the shower valve by removing the handle from the faucet and taking off the metal cover to expose the valve stem. Attached to the valve, you will find a plastic piece called the Rotational Stop Limit, or RSL. This piece prevents water from reaching unsafe temperatures when at the highest setting. You can turn this piece counter-clockwise to allow your shower to release more hot water. Just be careful not to adjust this too much, as hot water that is too hot can cause major injury.

When to bring in a professional plumber for your cold shower

If you’re overwhelmed and unsure of what the problem is with your water heater, don’t suffer through any more shivering showers before calling in the professionals. 

At Waldman Plumbing and Heating, Inc., we have extensive experience in water heater repair, maintenance, and installation services. Call us and you’ll be back to singing a happy tune in a hot shower in no time. To schedule an appointment, dial (781) 780-3184 today.

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