How Do I Fix the Hot Water in My Shower?

If your shower has no hot water, but you can still access hot water from other fixtures in your home, you are probably feeling confused and frustrated. If there is no hot water coming from any of your faucets, you might suspect that you are dealing with a water heater issue; however, if the issue is isolated to your shower, you know the problem must be something else.

hot water shower

If your shower has no hot water or just very little hot water, we can help you locate the source of the problem. If you have hot water everywhere but your shower, the anti-scald device may be too restrictive. In this case, use a screwdriver to remove the face of the shower faucet and locate the anti-scald device.

Turn it slightly to the right, then test it to see if the water gets hot. A faulty mixing valve can also cause the problem. This valve blends the hot and cold water, and a broken one can prevent hot water from getting in. Fixing the mixing valve is a complicated process and should be fixed by a professional.

Why is Your Shower Not Getting Hot – The First Steps

Before you get started, it is worth asking yourself the following questions:

Is Hot Water Being Used Elsewhere?

If your shower doesn’t have hot water, you need to ask yourself a few quick questions before you start trying to fix the problem. First, you need to ask yourself if this is the first time this issue has presented itself.

If it is, it could simply be that others are using all of the hot water and draining your hot water heater’s tank before you get into the shower. If you are running hot water appliances before you shower, like the dishwasher or washing machine, it could be possible that they are draining the hot water too.

Is it Just the Shower that Does Not Receive Hot Water?

It is also important to make sure that it is just the shower that will not receive hot water. Check the temperature of the shower, then immediately check other faucets in your home. If none of the faucets produce hot water, you might just be dealing with a water heater that cannot keep up with your family’s hot water requirements. If none of the faucets produce hot or warm water, wait 30 minutes, then check again.

Hot Water Not Coming Out of Your Shower? – Causes and Troubleshooting Tips

After you have determined that the lack of hot water in your shower is not caused by someone else draining your hot water tank and there is hot water flowing from other faucets in your home, you could be dealing with one of the following issues:

1. Your Shower’s Anti Scald Device is Set Improperly

Anti Scald Device

If you can access hot water everywhere but your shower, there is a good chance that your shower’s anti scald device is too restrictive. Modern showers and bathtubs are often equipped with an anti-scald device, which can also be known as a “hot limit stop”. These are useful safety devices that prevent the shower water from getting so hot that it causes burns and scalds.

Essentially, they prevent the faucet from turning all the way in the hot direction, which stops shower users from getting a blast of dangerously hot water directly from the water heater. In some cases, these safety devices are not set correctly, meaning they actually prevent the shower faucet from being turned towards the warm and hot temperatures at all.

How to Fix the Issue:

If you suspect that your anti-scald device is the reason why you cannot access hot water in your shower, follow these simple steps:

  • Use a screwdriver or hex key to remove the face of your shower faucet.
  • Locate the anti-scald device, which is usually located directly under the faucet head. Typically, they will be made from plastic, so they are fairly easy to locate.
  • Turn the anti-scald device to the right. You may need to pull it forward to be able to rotate it. Only make a slight rotation, as you do not want to scald yourself when you re-test the water temperature.
  • Perform a quick test. If the water is slightly hotter than before, you have corrected the lack of hot water in your shower!
  • Fine-tune the anti-scald device until you find a safe, but comfortable maximum temperature for your shower water.

2. Your Shower’s Water Mixing Valve Could Be Faulty

Honeywell AM101-US-1 Sparco Thermostatic Mixing Valve, 3/4″ Union-Sweat 100-145F

Water Mixing Valve

If checking the anti-scald device did not fix the lack of hot water in your shower, there is a good chance that your shower’s mixing valve is no longer working correctly, meaning hot water cannot mix with cold water to create the warm/hot water you want when you shower.

The mixing valve in a shower blends hot and cold water together, so the user can fine-tune the water to a comfortable temperature. If you have an older home or just an older shower, your mixing valve may have worn out or broken completely. In this case, it will be next to impossible to access hot water in your shower.

How to Fix the Issue

Unfortunately, replacing or fixing a shower’s mixing valve is a fairly complicated process. On top of that, the consequences are high if the repair or replacement is not completed properly. A leaking mixing valve can lead to future water damage issues, like mold and mildew.

If you have tried resetting your shower’s anti-scald device, and it did not address the lack of hot water in your shower, you might want to contact a professional plumber to take a look at your mixing valve. A worn-out or malfunctioning mixing valve can mean your shower does not have hot water, or it can only access lukewarm water.

Luckily, this is a fairly routine repair, so a plumber should be able to correct the problem without charging you a significant sum of money.

Final Words

If the hot water issue is everywhere in your home rather than just the shower, it could mean that your water heater or something in your hot water system could need replacing. All types of water heaters, including a tankless heater, gas water heater, electric water heater, and more, can all break down and corrode over time.

Hopefully, your issue is just a faulty mixing valve or an incorrectly positioned anti-scald device, but if you tried to fix both issues and the problem persists, you should contact a plumber. A plumber will tell you if it is the right time to start looking at new water heaters.

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