Ask Our Experts: Inconsistent Water Temperature in Shower or Tub

what to do when water temperature isn't consistent

All material Copyrighted (c) by the Tuckey Companies, 2015.

Question for Our Experts:

What can I do about inconsistent water temperature in my bath or tub?

Our Experts’ Answer:

The Short Answer

There are a few things you can try on your own in order to address this issue, including checking water heater settings and troubleshooting to the extent that you identify whether the temperature fluctuations occur throughout your home’s plumbing system or are isolated to just one faucet.  Otherwise, we recommend calling a plumber to professionally diagnose and address the issue.

The Detailed Answer

In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, it was determined that 112 degrees Fahrenheit was the ideal temperature for hot water. According the article, hot water heaters can provide water as high as 140 degrees, doctors recommend that heaters not be set higher than 120 in order to prevent injury. However, if you use water higher than 112 degrees, you begin to damage the skin’s lipid layer, leading to dry skin. Replacing the lipid layer gets harder as you age, so that’s why older people tend to suffer more from dry skin.

And while that may be good advice for those seeking the perfect hot water for a shower, many suffer from inconsistent water temperature and other shower temperature problems. Even if you don’t set your water heater to 112 degrees, other issues within your plumbing system could lead to inconsistent hot water temperature.

That kind of inconsistency can be frustrating, and even dangerous. While the occasional blast of cold water can be startling, a sudden increase in temperature can lead to scalding and serious burns. This is of special concern if you live in a home with young kids who may not be aware of the problem and don’t know how to avoid the problem when it does happen.

That’s why we’re calling on our experts to help you solve your shower water temperature problems. Whether you are looking to troubleshoot water heater problems in your Harrisburg, PA home, or your temperature knob doesn’t match the temperature of your water in Carlisle, PA, let this be your guide on what to do when water temperature isn’t consistent. As the South Central Pennsylvania leaders in residential and commercial HVAC services, including plumbing, we know a thing or two about the problems that can affect your water temperature.

Common Causes of Inconsistent Water Temperature

Before we tackle solutions, let’s briefly discuss the most common causes of inconsistent water temperature. With a grasp of what causes inconsistent water temperature, you will be better prepared to address the issues efficiently.

  • Inadequate heater size:

According to SFGate, showerheads vary greatly in output — anywhere from two gallons to 14 gallons per minute. Since the average residential water heater uses a 50-gallon tank, there is a chance that your inconsistent water temperature is due to insufficient tank size.2.5 minutes of hot water

This is especially true if you regularly have more than one shower running simultaneously or if you have installed multiple shower heads in a single shower. If you have two high volume shower heads moving water at 10 gallons a minute, your standard 50-gallon tank will only provide you with two and half minutes of hot water!

  • Competing nearby appliances:

Some people may notice that their hot water fluctuates when other appliances are running. That’s not uncommon, as these appliances will pull available water from your system and thus change the amount of either cold water or hot water running to your shower.

For example, when a toilet flushes, it will pull cold water to fill up the tank. This can often cause a shower to become suddenly hot. On the other hand, if a dishwasher begins cycling to use hot water, it can cause a shower to become cold.

  • Side effects of tankless water heaters:

Many homeowners have recently turned to tankless water heaters. These water heaters don’t store water for use. Instead, they create hot water on demand. Unfortunately, they may be prone to temperature fluctuations which are caused by cold water slipping through the system when the heater is switching modes.

  • A faulty valve:

Finally, as temperature-regulating valves age, they can start to fail to properly control the temperature. Additionally, many older valves were not designed to handle the kind of hot water usage that has become common in most 21st-century homes. Moreover, older valves lack temperature balance features, which are very effective at maintaining water temperature conditions when there are fluctuations within the plumbing.

Quick Troubleshooting Solutions to Try Before Calling a Professional

While serious systemic issues should always be addressed by a professional, there are a few things you can do to try to fix the problem before spending money on a plumber:

  • Isolate the problem:water temperature consistency

As with any troubleshooting, your first step should be to isolate the problem. Start by testing the water temperature consistency when operating one shower without any other water-consuming appliances being used simultaneously.

If you find that your water temperature is consistent under these isolating conditions, you can assume that the problem lies in one of the additional variables.

Next try to use two showers at once. If you find that your temperature fluctuates under these circumstances, an insufficiently-sized water tank is probably to blame.

  • Quickly inspect the water heater:

While you should never try to disassemble a water heater without prior plumbing experience, you can give your water heater a quick visual inspection which may enable you to identify the problem. The following instructions are general in nature; you should always check your water heater’s manual for safe maintenance instructions before inspecting.

If you have a gas-powered heater, you can visually check to see if the pilot light is still on. If the pilot light is not lit, you can attempt to relight it yourself. Typically, this involves turning the gas valve to the off position and waiting a few minutes. Next, turn the valve to the “pilot” position and then either use the on board ignition switch or a stick lighter to ignite the pilot light. Once the pilot is lit, return the valve to the standard position.moisture in the basement

There are a lot of things that can cause a pilot light to go out, including moisture in the basement. However, if your pilot light is continually going out, then that is a sign of a larger issue, at which point you should consult a professional.

If you have an electric water heater, you want to make sure the breakers haven’t flipped. Restarting your heater is as easy as flipping the breaker back. However, again, if your heater is consistently flipping the breaker, you should consult an electrician as you are likely experiencing a much more serious issue.

  • Reset the thermostat:

Water heaters are installed with a safety feature that trips whenever water temperatures become dangerously high.

Not unlike a circuit breaker, when this feature is tripped, it requires a reset. Resetting the thermostat is a simple procedure.

However, if your thermostat is tripping regularly, it is likely there is a larger problem.

One such problem is a faulty thermostat. It keeps getting tripped because it isn’t functioning properly. While this is an easy fix, unfortunately, it is not the most likely cause.

The more common problem is a faulty temperature regulator. Your tank is designed to stop heating when the temperature reaches a certain level. If the automatic shut-off doesn’t activate, your water heater will continue to heat the water indefinitely. That’s why the emergency thermostat is so important. It completely shuts off the tank system to prevent this dangerous situation.extremely dangerous

That being said, the uncontrolled heating issue is serious and requires a professional to properly repair your heater. A malfunctioning heater can be extremely dangerous – call a pro!

Specific Water Temperature Issues and Their Solutions

Now that we’ve looked over some of the most common causes of water temperature problems, we are going to spend some time going over specific issues along with their solutions:

  • Temperature knob is inverted:

Occasionally, homeowners notice that the temperature knob on their shower is inverted. When the control is moved toward the “H” for hot, cold water comes out instead, and vice versa.

Unfortunately, this is usually the result of a poor faucet installation. It is an especially common problem for those who attempt a “do-it-yourself” plumbing installation. While newer shower installations are easy to use once installed, they often feature complicated components that require expert care when being placed in the wall.

While an intrepid and experienced home plumber may be able to make the necessary repairs — which usually involves realigning a temperature-regulating cartridge in the faucet control mechanism — for most homeowners, this is a job best left to a professional.

The main reason why a professional is best is because these cartridges are often delicate and require precision. While a do-it-yourselfer may succeed in the basic adjustments, the process may degrade the precision of the system, causing additional temperature fluctuations further down the line.

  • Appliance interference requires a pressure-balancing valve:application cycles

As we mentioned before, appliance cycles are a common cause for temperature fluctuations. Thankfully, there are special valves designed to better regulate temperature during these cycles.

Pressure-balancing valves react to fluctuations in water flow. If a nearby toilet starts to draw cold water, thus increasing the risk of scalding, the pressure-balancing valve responds by simultaneously regulating the hot water input, thus maintaining the cold and hot water balance that is delivering your desired water temperature.

Specifically, these valves are designed to maintain desired temperature within a range of three degrees.

Pressure-balancing valves are often standard in newer plumbing installations. However, homes with older plumbing often lack these types of valves.

They are a relatively easy fix for a professional, and a simple switch from an old-fashioned valve to a pressure-balancing valve is a quick way to drastically improve your water temperature consistency.

  • Improving temperature consistency with a tankless heater:

For those suffering through regular temperature fluctuations due to the cycling of a tankless water heater, there are solutions that still maintain the energy savings that make these heaters so popular.

The most common solution is a mini-mixing tank. While a tankless water heater is more efficient because it doesn’t have to maintain 50 gallons or so of water at a specific temperature, the one advantage a traditional hot water tank has is its consistency.

A mini-mixing tank is a great compromise. These do not store water long-term, but instead hold a small amount of water temporarily to provide a constant temperature when the tankless heater is cycling.

  • Adjusting an overzealous anti-scald ring:anti-scald ring

While there are water temperature regulators installed on your water heater, many modern showers also come complete with an anti-scald ring. This is another layer of defense designed to ensure you don’t suffer accidental burns when showering. These devices work by regulating the maximum hot water to cold water mixture in your faucet.

While these are incredibly important and useful devices, unfortunately they can be set with too low of a maximum temperature.

It is possible to adjust your anti-scald ring on your own, but like the temperature-regulating cartridge, in order for this device to work properly, it needs to be adjusted precisely. Unless you are a confident do-it-yourself plumber, it is a job best left for a professional. Otherwise, you may go from having tepid water to having dangerously hot water instead.

  • Replacing a faucet:

Unfortunately, your temperature regulation problems may be caused by a faulty faucet. While some faucets may be adjusted, sometimes these issues are beyond repair.

This may be because the temperature-regulating cartridge is so damaged that adjustments aren’t possible. But if you live in an old house, you may simply have a faucet that was never designed to give you the level of control you need.

In either case, a new faucet may be your best solution. In fact, as the prices of modern faucets continue to become more affordable, a simple replacement may be your most cost effective solution as well.need for a new faucet

One of the most common indicators of the need for a new faucet is a single shower that is causing problems while other showers seem operate normally. That means the problem is limited to one shower, and thus requires a localized solution.

  • Replacing a water heater:

Finally, sometimes the best way to address insufficient water temperature is to simply expand the size of your water heater. If you have found that your water temperature issues correspond with an increase in water usage, say from a growing family, then your best bet may be to expand the capacity of your water heater beyond the standard 50 gallons.

That being said, make sure your issues can’t be solved with smaller adjustments or replacements before opting for this larger overhaul. While a larger water heater may be exactly what you need, you don’t want to invest in this kind of installation until you are sure it is your best option.

The Importance of Professional Plumbing

While it is true that money can be saved in the short term through do-it-yourself home improvement, when it comes to plumbing and water heating, it is important to know when it’s time to call in a professional.costly consequences

The truth is, a small mistake can have costly consequences.

To begin with, leaks can gradually cause damage for a long time before getting noticed. In fact, small, almost imperceptible leaks often cause the costliest damage in the long run, because they are left for a long time before being repaired. Mold, structural damage and more extreme plumbing issues can all result from an undetected small leak.

That being said, one of the biggest issues with ill-advised DIY hot water repairs occurs when a hot water heater is improperly repaired. If you have a gas-powered hot water heater, a small gas leak could prove deadly. Furthermore, imprecise adjustments could result in dangerous water temperatures resulting in scalding injuries.

While electrical hot water heaters may not pose a risk in the form of gas leaks, they are still subject to dangerously high temperatures. Furthermore, any device that combines electricity and water should be maintained with the utmost care.

Either way, with the exception of basic adjustments, any repairs to a hot water heater should be left to those who are fully trained.

Your Best Professional Option in the Midstate

plumbers in central paIf you do find yourself in need of a plumber and you are a resident of Carlisle, Chambersburg, or Harrisburg, PA, then look no further than Tuckey.

We have years of experience offering the best plumbing services in South Central PA. Combined, our experts offer centuries of plumbing experience, meaning we have encountered the full range of plumbing issues. So if you are experiencing water temperature irregularities and you simply cannot figure out the cause of the problem, you can count on us to get to the bottom of it.

Part of our recipe for success can be found in our consultative approach to plumbing. We know that your home, like all homes, is unique. So are your needs and desires. That’s why we take the time to get to know you and your plumbing. In doing so, we are able to address your particular needs, and we can design and implement a solution that is perfectly catered to you and your home.

Furthermore, because Tuckey specializes in a wide range of mechanical services, including heating and air conditioning, we can tackle the needs of your home as a whole, not just the plumbing. This is especially important when dealing with hot water heaters. Many modern heaters are integrated within a wider system to lower energy costs while increasing efficiency. Because we are familiar with all of the residential mechanical systems that are installed in your home, we can make repairs and recommendations across systems.

Finally, we are committed to preventive maintenance. When you employ us to provide such maintenance, you are making a much smaller investment to stave off potentially costly future issues. This is a far more cost-effective approach to plumbing, as future damage and costly total overhauls can be avoided. Additionally, regular maintenance is a great way to improve the energy efficiency of your system, further saving you money.

So if you are a resident of Harrisburg, Carlisle, Camp Hill, or Chambersburg, PA and you find you are in need of a plumber, whether you are experiencing temperature control issues or some other plumbing concern, contact us today. Our professional and courteous staff are eager to connect you with a plumbing professional so you can get your hot water issues addressed quickly and effectively.

 

 

All material Copyrighted © by The Tuckey Companies, 2015.

[Photo “Showerhead”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Showerhead.JPG#/media/File:Showerhead.JPG]

Comments

  1. Lillian Schaeffer says:

    This is some great information, and I appreciate your suggestion to call a professional if the problem isn’t having your water heater temperature set too low. I’ve been having problems getting hot water out of the shower in my master bathroom, and I tried turning up the temperature on the heating unit, but that didn’t help. I’ll definitely look into having a professional come inspect and repair the system. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Lee says:

    Any ideas will be appreciated. I was experiencing low water temps after firing up my 40 gallon electric hot water heater. Instead of taking the time to test each stat and element, I just replaced both the stats and both the elements. The tank is 5 years old, so I thought that would be the best route. I set bot stats at 130 and still did not get more than 110 at any faucet in the house. I raised them both to 140 and still only get 120. Does anyone know what the issue is. I know that a safe temp is 120 but why would I have to raise the stats to 140 to reach the 120. As I said, they are all new. I removed the anti-scald rings in the 2 faucets that had them to see if that was the issue with no results.

    Thanks

    • Tuckey says:

      Thanks so much for the question – it’s a good one! First, though, a disclaimer: Our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies. Now on to the good stuff:

      To start, it’s important to recognize that, unfortunately, most water heater thermostats are not very accurate as far as temperature setting versus actual control point (even when they’re operating properly). Most are easily 5 to 10 degrees off on replacement units. This may be one reason why manufactures have moved to thermostats without temperatures on them; rather, they use “A-B-C-D” labels and list “approximate” temperatures. That being said, a 20-degree difference (as you reported) is still very off.

      One thing to check would be to make sure the replacement thermostats are making good contact with the metal tank wall. Another would be to ensure the insulation is property installed over the new thermostats and that the covers are properly in place.

      The water heater uses the lower element for the most part, as the upper element heats the initial top of the water for recovery then switches to the lower thermostat / element to complete the heating. The water heater also has a tube in the cold water inlet so when hot water is being drawn off, the cold water is delivered to the bottom. This brings the lower element on first and the heated water rises to the top, often keeping the upper element from turning on. Of course if you deplete the hot water fast enough, or in enough quantity it will revert back to the upper element and repeat the cycle.

      The above differs from the situation in which you would run out of hot water too quickly. In this case, there can be a problem with the tube that delivers the cold water to the bottom of the heater. If this tube breaks off then you end up not delivering the hot water at the rated quantity. The easiest way to check for this is to take the temperature reading right on the hot water pipe coming out of the heater. If this temperature remains at or near the setting, then the likely culprit could be cold water mixing into the hot water piping which can in itself have many potential causes, from mixing valves to bad seals on a single handle faucet where the faucet does not drip out, but allows cold to hot passage internally.

      Hopefully this is helpful. Again, our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  3. Barry Shay says:

    When I turn on the faucet in the bathtub/shower the water comes out at different pressures each time to begin with & generally within 5 minutes after pulling up the stopper for the shower the pressure changes.If it starts with low pressure with the temperature set to the desired heat it will suddenly change to a higher pressure plus,it seems,more volume with the temp at least as hot as where it was set only to,in a matter of seconds,decrease pressure & 98simultaneously the temperature goes from hot to cold until u readjust the setting.Its been doing the same thing for months so ideas would be very much appreciated.

    • Tuckey says:

      Thanks for your question! To be honest, there are many different variables that come into play (for just one example, the answer may partly depend upon whether your water source is a well system or city/municipal supply). As such, a good review of the situation by a professional plumber would be in order to investigate the root cause and suggested resolutions. And please keep in mind that our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

      That being said, there are a few things you could consider:
      1. If it is a well system, you will have higher and lower pressures based on the well pump cycle rate.
      2. With the plumbing structure in a home, you often have different friction losses in the piping between hot and cold water which can effect pressure at delivery.
      3. You can get build up on the outlet of the water heater where the pipe connects – or in the piping (if it is older galvanized piping), which can affect the flow and / or pressure.
      4. If the faucet is an older model, it likely does not have a pressure balance valve. If it is a newer valve, the pressure balance feature may not be working due to debris stuck in the valve body or a component failure.

      A pressure balance valve will also have an anti scald device which allows for the water pressure and temperature to balance with changing pressures.

      An issue like this is particularly common in older plumbing systems. IE: When the shower is turned on and someone would run water at another location (kitchen sink for example) the pressure would change in the line and affect the shower temperature. Some people would have fun with this – IE: Someone would be showering and someone else would turn on the hot water in the kitchen sink and the shower water would get cold!

      True story regarding a home serviced by a well system that had the problem you described: the problem was resolved by replacing the tub/shower unit and installing a newer-style pressure balance valve.

      Again, thanks for your post! If you continue to have trouble, please reach out to a professional plumber (like those at Tuckey) who can assist with the diagnosis and resolution. Have a great day!

      Finally, a disclaimer: our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  4. Kevin Gallegos says:

    I agree for taking help from professionals is the best way to handle such situations. That will help to solve problems like drain pipe boring

  5. Roger Young says:

    One morning I take a shower and it will take your skin off and the next morning there is Luke warm water. I changed the lower element. The upper one tested fine. Breaker is good and I turned up the temp a bit. I don’t know where to go from here.

    • Tuckey says:

      Greetings, and thanks for sharing your experience! First, a disclaimer: Our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies. Now on to the good stuff:

      To start, you could be experiencing either a mixing issue or an issue related to another water source being turned on at the same time you’re taking a shower. Either way, this scenario may come down to a pressure balance issue in your plumbing system. If we go down this train of thought, we’d need to ask some additional questions. For example, what is the age of the plumbing fixture/faucet that you’re dealing with? Newer faucets employ anti-scald devices and a pressure balance assembly that will automatically adjust to changes in pressure. This could be one cause of temperature variation. A professional plumber could take a look and help determine whether this is the root cause or not.

      Alternatively, perhaps your water delivery (plumbing) system is fine (i.e. you don’t have any pressure balance issues) and the problem is actually with the water heater itself. A great way to pinpoint whether this is the issue is to test the temperature of the water at the source … right as it comes out of the water heater. (Again, we must recommend asking a professional to assist here). If you find that you’re not getting hot water at the water heater, then you can forego diagnostics of your larger plumbing system (at least for now). If this is indeed the case, the thermostat on the water heater is your most likely culprit (especially since you said you already changed out the lower element). We oftentimes recommend replacement of the thermostat along with any element change. When the element fails, it often causes excessive load on the thermostat which, in turn, can cause trouble with the contacts in the thermostat. If your thermostat is malfunctioning, it may “stick” on and overshoot the temperature one day, then not come on at all and undershoot the temperature the next day. Perhaps this is what you’re experiencing. If this is the case, it may be best to replace the thermostat as well (and, most likely, it’s the lower thermostat that you’d need to replace, as it has the most use on any dual element water heater).

      We admit, this is not exhaustive – and we’d need to physically inspect your water heating an plumbing system in order to give more specific information. Nonetheless, hopefully this is helpful. Again, our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  6. April says:

    I have consulted a plumber and so far they have no suggestions. The water in my shower has recently started turning hotter and then cold for a few seconds several times during a shower. The water pressure fluctuates too. I tested the water from the tub faucet and the water in the kitchen sink and the temp fluctuation there too. We are remodeling our other bathroom and the issue started when the plumbers started working. We have well water, an older water heater (water gets plenty hot and stays hot if cold water isn’t also running), and our water is hard. Any ideas?

    • Tuckey says:

      Greetings, and thanks for sharing your experience! First, our usual disclaimer: Our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies. Now on to the good stuff:

      To be honest, your mention that the issue started when the plumbers started working introduces a lot of variables into the equation. We’d need to physically examine the system and know some additional information about what work was performed (both now and in the past). With the information provided, we can’t say whether the issue is related to the plumbers’ work or not. We can suggest some additional avenues for exploration, though:

      * It could be a water heater issue – maybe a cold water pipe within the heater has rusted off or there’s a problem with the water heater’s element. A quick check of the temperature leaving the hot line from the water heater would determine if the water heater is suspect.
      * The water heater’s dip tube also comes to mind as a potential problem source; however, if the dip tube fails, it normally starts hot then runs out of hot water too quickly and stays cold (which is not exactly the problem you’re describing). Nonetheless, it’s still worth exploring as a possibility.
      * Depending on what type of work was performed by the plumbers, it could well be a cross connection that occurred when the plumbers did their work. Someone could double-check to see whether a cross-connection has occurred.
      * Was a recirculation line/pump installed in the past? Installation of this type of equipment can sometimes be challenging and result in issues for additional troubleshooting.

      Again, we’re sorry that we can’t provide more specific answers without having additional information about the system, its history, etc. Perhaps the recent plumbing work has nothing to do with the issue you’re experiencing. In the end, the troubleshooting process boils down to finding where the cold water is getting into the hot line (and why).

      Hopefully this has been helpful! Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog. Again, our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  7. Sarah says:

    While I’m taking a shower, the water will be the temp I have it set at for about 10 seconds and then switch to lukewarm water for about 20 seconds. It will continue doing this throughout the entire time I’m using it. I tested my kitchen faucet and it’s doing the same thing. This is a new home and so we have a brand new water heater.

    • Tuckey says:

      Hi, Sarah, and thanks for taking the time to visit our blog. We love questions like yours! Actually, the scenario you described reminded us of a scenario described by April (earlier in the comment thread – she posted on 11/27/16). Please check out our reply to her to see whether that helps you troubleshoot at all – or have a better conversation with your service professional / plumber. If there are distinctions between your scenario and April’s, please let us know and we’ll reply with any additional thoughts as appropriate.

      As always, our disclaimer: our comments on the blog are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  8. Chuck Mcphall says:

    I have a situation where the water at all faucets will turn hot after a few seconds of turning on the hot tap, however it will turn cold after a couple of minutes and will be cold for approx 30 seconds and then turn back to hot and remain hot as long as it keeps running. If it’s used intermittenly, as in rinsing dishes, the water will cycle again. We just had the water heater replaced, I’ve talked to a couple of plumbers and no one has an idea of what the problem could be. Amy ideas?

    • Tuckey says:

      Greetings, and thanks for sharing your experience! First, our usual (but important) disclaimer: Our comments here are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies. Now on to the good stuff:

      We’d have a few more questions to consider before providing specific advice. For example, are you on a well or public water system? Does the water line go through a crawl space where it can intermittently drop temperature? How many single-handle faucets are on the system? Are you dealing with a traditional or tankless water heater? The answers to these questions may help point a troubleshooter in the right direction. For purposes of this response, we’ll assume you’re using a traditional water heater.

      The plumbing system may be experiencing mixing as a result of pressure changes in the system while water is being run on a well system. It could also be that a single handle faucet is allowing cold water into the hot line because of a seal problem etc.

      A single-cartridge faucet may be failing by allowing water to go between the hot and cold lines without dripping at the faucet. In this case, the single-cartridge faucet is the culprit.

      Self help measures would include safely feeling the lines under each sink, one at a time, while running the water to see if the “warm” pipe gets cool just as it is happening. If you find this, then a good rebuild of that faucet would solve the problem.

      Of course, these are only a few possibilities – but hopefully they assist in trying to solve your puzzle. Again, thanks for reading and interacting with our blog!

      • Chuck Mcphall says:

        We are on a well system with a traditional 50 gal gas hot water heater, the temp doesn’t seem to change when the well turns on, seems to happen a few minutes after turning on the hot water faucets. This happens at all the sinks, would a bad faucet cartridge cause this through out the whole house? I have an ifra-red gun and noticed the water temp at the outlet of the hot water heater drops as much as 20 degrees at the time we are getting cold water at the faucets. The pressure switch is set at 45-65, is this too high? None of the water lines pass through an unheated area. Thanks

        • Tuckey says:

          Greetings, and thanks again for your interaction here on our blog. If the considerations outlined in our original blog post, plus the additional comments offered in reply threads have not assisted in resolving the problem, then we’d recommend an on-site visit from a qualified service technician who is familiar with the brand of water heater that you are using. We appreciate all the detail you’ve provided and have attempted to offer some additional suggestions – at this point, however, the numerous variables in this case are such that first-hand observation from an on-site technician would be best. If you’re in South Central PA, we’d encourage you to give Tuckey Mechanical Services a call for professional assistance!

          Finally, our usual disclaimer: Our comments on this blog article and in subsequent comment threads are provided as a reference guide only. All mechanical, plumbing, electrical, remodeling, and restoration projects should be handled by a qualified, professional contractor like the Tuckey Companies. Information presented here is of a general nature that may not be applicable in all situations. Tips, articles, and accompanying information do not represent an official recommendation of the Tuckey Companies.

  9. Sharon Reams says:

    Thanks for the post. I faced a problem few weeks ago and I just replaced my shower valve…Great post.

  10. Deborah says:

    Greetings,
    Thank you for your very knowledgeable website.
    For over a month I have had an issue with the shower.
    I contacted my landlady right away.
    The water temperature will be fine and then there is a sudden burst of very hot water. It will return to normal after about a minute. Twice I have been scalded. The filters have been cleaned out, the hot water temperature has been reduced to 110. It is still causing problems. I have continued to let my landlady know about the problems. It started after a new water heater was installed. I think she had her handyman install it.
    From what I have read, it appears to me that either the hot water heater is faulty or the regulator is faulty. I am afraid to get in the shower for fear of being scalded again. Please advise.
    Best regards,
    Deborah

    • Tuckey says:

      Greetings, and thanks for visiting our blog. Given the nature of your question, we can’t comment on its specifics. Please note the general information provided in our main blog post on this topic. Otherwise, we’d simply recommend troubleshooting / service from a professional, qualified plumbing contractor in your area. We wish you and your landlord the best!

Sign up to receive new posts right from your inbox!