HELP! My Shower Is Cold!


A shower that refuses heat up in the morning is one of the more frustrating things a person can experience day-to-day. Especially now that fall is right around the corner and the morning temperatures have plummeted to 55°. As for me, the one thing (aside from coffee) that gets me out of my warm, cozy bed is the thought of a hot, steamy shower. If your shower does not heat up, don’t simply deal with it, there are solutions. We, at Jackson Comfort Services, have compiled a list of possible causes to your daily morning freeze-fest. 

1. There is Not Enough Hot Water

  • This might sound like too obvious an answer but most people don’t consider it as the capacity of the water tank seems limitless. On average a water tank heats 40 gallons of water, which granted, is quite a lot, but if you consider the average shower uses 10 gallons, a dishwasher might use 6 and the washing machine, 7. So, with multiple showers and chores done together, your tank might struggle. 
  • Tankless systems are not excluded from this, however they are affected in a different way. They are designed to heat a set “Gallons per Minute” of water and if multiple sources are pulling water at once it will have a hard time keeping up. 
  • With both systems, if hot water never comes, regardless of your water usage, there is an actual problem to address. 
    • In order to test if there is a problem with your tanked system turn the water on first thing in the morning when no water has been used yet that day, if it gets hot overuse is your problem.
    • Test the tankless system by waiting until no other water outlets are pulling water. If you have hot water then using too many water sources at the same time is your problem. 
    • You can make adjustments in your water usage, opt for lower-flow faucets or talk with a professional to come up with a solution that fits your home’s water needs. 

2. The Hot Water Heater is Set incorrectly or is Defective

  • First of all there is a chance the water heater is simply not set at a high enough temperature. Typically these are set at 120°F, if yours isn’t, crank it up and see if the problem resolves. 
    • This is an easy task with some water heaters, you either turn a dial, or push a button on an external digital interface. Others though, hide the temperature control behind a panel and you’ll need to unscrew the panel housing to find the dial and adjust it.
  • If its set correctly your water heater might be faulty. Here are a few common problems we see with both kids of heaters, gas and electric.
    • Gas 
      • Check the pilot light, reignite if it’s burned out
      • Check all gas lines and valves and make sure they are in the open position
      • The burner is faulty and may need repaired or replaced
      • Worst outcome: gas leak. If you smell gas shut off your homes gas lines immediately, leave your homes and call a professional
    • Electric
      • The circuit breaker could be tripped, reset the breaker and if it trips again call a professional because either the heater is faulty or it was installed incorrectly 
      • There is a high-temperature cutoff switch behind the panel. If this has been tripped, access the button and press it; if nothing happens its faulty and needs replaced.
      • The electric heating elements are faulty or damaged. It is possible that your tank is leaking and has shorted the electrical components.

3. Valve Adjustments Need to Be Made

  • This problem usually presents with lukewarm water even when the dial is cranked all the way up. Behind the faucet there is a small but necessary plastic piece call the “Rotational Stop Limit” it prevents you from scalding yourself. 
  • There is a chance it is set too low, if you are are confident in your DIY abilities here is a brief run-down of what to do to fix the issue
    • Remove the handle from the faucet
    • Take off the metal cover to expose the valve stem
    • The RSL is a circular plastic piece nestled around the valve stem: turn this counterclockwise slightly
    • Replace the faucet and test the water mixture, if you notice a difference but not quite hot enough do the steps again until it is just right. If you notice no change in the temperature then the RSL is not the cause of your hot water issues
  • If you are like most people and we lost you at “remove the handle from the faucet” call a plumber and they will assist you and help you diagnose the problem if the RSL is not the culprit.

4. The Dip Tube Is Broken

  • If your home has a tankless water system skip this section because it’s not for you. A dip tube in a tanked system sends the cold water to the bottom to be heated and the warm water to the top to be sent out throughout your home.
  • This plastic tube doesn’t age well and can become brittle and leak, sending cold water to the top of the tank and to your showers and faucets. 
    • This problem also presents with low water pressure as bit of plastic from your defected dip tube are sent out and get trapped in pipes and filters.
    • Unfortunately, this is not a DIY issue, you’ll need to access the inside of your water heater. Best to call a professional!

Now, this isn’t to say these are the only things that can be wrong with your system, these are simply a few of the most common issues we see day-to-day. Nobody wants to wake up in the morning to a blast of ice-cold water, not only is it a shock to the system but a defective water heater can be a shock to your wallet as well. If you’ve gone through this list and are still at a loss, or simply want professional assistance we would love to be a part of the solution. Call us today at Jackson Comfort Services, we provide the comfort you deserve. 

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