If your shower is not getting any hot water, your first instinct would be to check out the water heater. But if you noticed other places in your home, like your sink working just fine, your water heater is not the issue.
If a lack of hot water is limited only to your shower, then your shower system or something that connects to it must be why you cannot enjoy a warm, soothing shower.
This can be an annoying problem, but this article will help you get to the bottom of it. We will cover the common causes that prevent hot water from reaching your shower. To help you narrow down the issue and outline solutions so you can eliminate this problem.
Why is My Shower Not Getting Hot Water but Sink Does
As its name suggests, a mixing valve assists in mixing hot and cold water before it comes out of your showerhead or faucet.
Most modern mixing valves are thermostatic, meaning they have a thermostat attached that shows you the temperature of the water passing through the valve. In a newer home, you will likely have a shower cartridge instead of a mixing valve.
Poor water quality and corrosive water sources can have a negative effect on mixing valves and cause them to malfunction. But if undamaged, a brass mixing valve can last for your lifetime.
Anti Scald Device
Anti-scald devices were created to save you from getting burned or scalded by extremely hot water. These devices work by limiting how far on the hot side your shower handle can go.
The problem with anti-scald devices is that if they are improperly set, they can do their job too well, leaving you with lukewarm or even cold water.
Although, some older homes that have not been updated with modern renovations might not even have an anti-scald device.
Faulty or Worn Out O Ring
O rings are small yet vital parts of our water system that are often taken for granted. These rubber rings create watertight connections throughout our plumbing system.
Over time these rubber rings can crack, which will create leaks. If you have a significant leak of cold water flowing into your hot water or hot water leaking elsewhere, it can bypass the thermostat leaving you with a cold shower.
Recommended replacement: O Ring Assortment Kits
Shower cartridges are built into your shower handle. These cartridges act as a last line of defense for controlling your water temperature.
Shower cartridges act like mixing valves as they mix cold and hot water to the desired temperature you set using the shower handle. Shower cartridges are a more modern way of doing things while mixing valves are found in older homes.
Shower cartridges have a life span between 10 to 30 years, depending on the manufacturer and how well you maintained your cartridge.
How to Fix My Shower Water Not Getting as Hot as My Sink
Checking Your Mixing Valve
Before deciding whether or not you need to replace your mixing valve, you should inspect it first. Your mixing valve might be directly behind your shower or between your plumbing and water heater at some central point.
Your mixing valve should have a circular thermostat attached to it. You can run your water and check the reading on the thermostat. If it shows a low temperature, it might need to be adjusted, but if the thermostat shows a high temperature, yet you’re getting cold water, that’s a sign it needs to be replaced.
Inspecting or Adjusting Your Anti Scald Device
If you have an anti-scald device or are unsure if you have one, you can remove your shower handle to check. These devices are usually made of plastic and found right beneath the shower handle.
You should be able to remove the device from your handle by hand. Once it’s removed, the further you turn the device to the right, the hotter water will be allowed to flow through your shower.
Replacing O Rings
Depending on the conditions, an O ring can last for anywhere between 15 to 30 years. It’s best to do a yearly check of your plumbing with water running to find any leaks.
If there are leaks at any of your water systems connections without any visible rust or damage, an O ring should be your prime suspect.
You should turn off your water supply so you can take apart the leaking plumbing connection to remove old O rings and replace them with new ones.
Recommended replacement: O Ring Assortment Kits
Replacing a Shower Cartridge
Shower cartridges are better at adjusting to sudden temperature changes and are also easier to replace than mixing valves.
After removing your shower handle, whether you pry it off, twist it off, or screw it off, you will have access to your showers cartridge. Most shower cartridges can be removed by hand or with pliers, but some manufacturers require a special cartridge pulling tool.
Once your old cartridge is removed, you can install and new one and put everything back together.