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Question DetailsAsked on 11/16/2017

My shower water varies from hot to tepid. What's wrong? Do I need a new hot water heater?

978 sq. foot condo; two bedroom one bath

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First - make sure it is only at the shower, not at all other fixtures (sink faucets, kitchen, etc) - if occurring at all hot water draw points, then almost certainly a water heater or main water line from it problem. Lots of previous questions with answers about water heater issues can be found in the Home > Plumbing link, under Browse Projects, at lower left.


IF only at the shower, then rarely a blockage can form in the hot water pipe but not in the cold (commonly from iron bacteria/algae, some of which like hot water environment). Otherwise, likely the mixing valve at the shower - sometimes when they go out they gradually trend from the setting you are used to toward either cold or hot, sometimes get erratic like you are describing. Check what brand you have and google to see if you can find a manual on how ot adjust the temperature - though if it is erratic probably needs replacing, which commonly runs from a few hundred $ to approachinbg $1000 installed, depending on brand.


Another thing - you say condo - if you share water heater with other tenants (combined water system) you may be experiencing cooling when other unit owners are using water - certainly if someone is using a lot of hot water (shower, filling tub, dishwasher, washing machine especially) then you will get colder water when that is happening. Also, flushing toilets commonly causes this if the toilets have a tempering valve (which mixes cold and hot water to send warm wter to the tank, to prevent tank sweating when it fills). Course, this also happens if anyone else in your unit is running significant hot water flow or flushes a toilet. Toilet tank refill commonly about a half minute to over a minute - so if that is about how long it is staying tepid that is a likely cause.


When it happens quickly hop out and see if the sink faucet is also showing similar change - may have to turn on and let run for a few minutes to feel if it then gets warmer when at same setting after a bit. Also, if you shut off the shower when it happens and listen to the pipes or faucet, if you clearly hear water running sound through the pipes, this is likely what is happening.


Here are links to a bunch of previous similar questions with more detailed answers on specific causes, FYI:


http://answers.angieslist.com/The-sho...


http://answers.angieslist.com/Water-h...


http://answers.angieslist.com/How-cos...


http://answers.angieslist.com/no-hot-...


http://answers.angieslist.com/We-hot-...

Answered 12 months ago by LCD




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