If you live in a household with a family, there’s a good chance that when you are taking a nice, relaxing warm shower that someone else will be using the water in another part of the house. Maybe your spouse decided to do the dishes or run the dishwasher, or someone else decided to take a shower at the same time, or a conscientious teenager started the washing machine to do a load of clothes, or one of the kids flushed a toilet. If you are sick of screaming because your water temperature suddenly dropped or, worst, increased, you may have some issues with your plumbing.

Let’s explore a few of the possible causes of that uncomfortable cold shower:

Your Mixing Valve Is Old

Older shower controls don’t have thermostatic mixing. When newer showers are installed, most building codes require a thermostatic mixing valve to be included in the walls. 

The older valves simply open the hot and cold water valves and allow them to mix where the flow rate determines the ratio of hot-to-cold in the mix. Thermostatic valves contain mechanical or electronic sensors which detect changes in the flow. The valve balances the mix by controlling the flow of each temperature to maintain a steady temperature.

To avoid shivering from a blast of frigid water when someone else turns on the hot water somewhere else (i.e. doing the laundry) or scalding from the toilet being flushed, make sure that a professional plumber installs a new thermostatic mixing valve.

Your Fixtures Are Inefficient

Your property has a certain water pressure coming into the house. Older fixtures and toilets use a lot of water at one time which can not only be wasteful, but which can drop water pressure significantly. Updating your fixtures and installing water-saving toilets may help.

Too Many Fixtures on at the Same Time

Along the same lines as the previous problem, if your home is running all of the water at the same time, you can expect a drop in water pressure. So, before you take a shower, make sure you aren’t watering your lawn or filling a pool outside. Hold off on doing the laundry or the dishes until after the showers are completed. Keep showers short to avoid waste and to avoid running out of hot water.

Your Pipes Are Blocked

Copper pipe tends to work without blockage issues on supply lines. However, older galvanized pipe can develop sediment deposits over time. These deposits may build up to cause bottlenecks within the pipes, or they may break off and clog shower heads and other fixtures. We recommend replacing galvanized pipe. A professional plumber can also blow out older plumbing to remove harmful deposits.

You Have a Leak

Leaks in pipes and fixtures can cause your hot water supply to run out, can drop your water pressure, and can cause severe damage. Get any leaks repaired as soon as possible.

Your Water Heater Has Sediment

Hot water tanks can accumulate sediment over time. These mineral deposits can impact the flow of hot water and can cause showers and other fixtures to operate short of expectations. Draining your hot water tank periodically (at least once per year) can help maintain proper water temperature.

Your Water Heater Has Expired

All good things must come to an end, and that’s true of your water heater. If your water heater is more than 10-15 years old, there’s a good chance that your home should have its hot water heater replaced. A professional plumber, such as ours at DRC Plumbing and Sewer, can help select the right heater for your building and can install it properly for worry-free operation.

We hope you found this information helpful. If you need any help in rescuing your hot water supply so you can avoid taking a cold shower, give us a call or send us a message.