I recently purchased a house that was flipped (that was my first mistake) and the 2nd story bathroom was added altogether, and the shower has always leaked into my kitchen. Finally, 9 months, 4 people, and lots of money later, it is fixed. But now the problem is that I can't really get hot water to come through. My water heater is in the basement, so I expected it to take a little longer to get hot, but I just let it run and it was warm-ish for a minute but finally turned cold before ever getting to be as hot as I would like. The strange part is that both sinks in the same bathroom will get hot. My hot water heater is turned up as high as it will go. Any ideas? I have taken a shower up here a few times, just when my plumber would claim it was fixed, and I was able to get hot water then. However, that was a few months ago so it wasn't quite as cold outside then. Not sure if that's relevant. I'm pretty desperate to get a working shower on the same floor as my bedroom, so any advice is appreciated.

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    Is the shower valve a thermostatic type? – ThreePhaseEel Feb 2 '17 at 4:43
  • @ThreePhaseEel I'm not sure if it is a thermostatic type... how would I be able to tell? – EllBee Feb 2 '17 at 4:45
  • What make and model is it? – ThreePhaseEel Feb 2 '17 at 4:46
  • @ThreePhaseEel so I should maybe have prefaced this with the fact that I'm a single female and this is my first house. I really have no idea about any of this stuff. – EllBee Feb 2 '17 at 4:49
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    @EllBee, We all had to start learning, you will find lots of help available by asking some times a few tools are needed but if you want to try to Do It Yourself don't worry about inexperience or gender and after a few projects you just may be helping your friends. I am thinking along the line as ThreePhaseEel that this is a thermostatic shower valve these are designed to prevent scalding, some are adjustable if you cant identify the type of valve take a photo of the valve and post it here someone will probably know or be able to help find more information. – Ed Beal Feb 2 '17 at 14:19

SInce you know hot water is making it to the 2nd floor, there are pretty much two possibilties. One, as TPE suggested, is that you have a thermostatic shower valve that's not working -- or even a mixer valve that isn't opening on the hot-water side. The other is that the shower is on a separate hot-water feed line from the sinks, and that this line is kinked, or has a cut-off valve somewhere that is shut or jammed (or is just letting a trickle of hot water through.

I fear that without being on-site none of us can tell what your plumbing "map" is. My usual advice is to ask your friends who they have used and recommend for plumbing work, and explain in the same detail as you did here what's wrong.

  • Okay, I think I know what you're saying. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if this is something the plumber could have missed when he was putting everything back together. Basically I don't want to pay any more money if it's something they messed up. I will give them a call. – EllBee Feb 2 '17 at 19:15

If you are sure you are waiting long enough for the hot water to get there, it may be an issue with the mixing valve for the shower. With water it either flows where you ask for or it does not, so if you are getting some hot water, then the piping should not be the issue but likely the valve itself.

  • Yes, I definitely sat there with my foot under it for about a half hour and it got slightly warm, but never hot, and then it eventually got cold. So do you think if I just paid somebody $1,100 and they were replacing stuff in the wall, it could be something they did or did not do? – EllBee Feb 2 '17 at 4:47

Another potential problem besides a theromostatic valve is an anti scalding valve. This would be attached to the pipe behind the shower, and is designed to prevent the water from getting over a certain temperature. I've had them fail from mineral buildup where they would only allow cold water to pass through.


This is something your plumber should catch. If you paid for his service and he said it was fixd call him back to have him fix it right. If it's the shower valve he should be able to identify that problem very easily. You tell by takeing trim ring off. Run the fixture. Feel hot inlet with finger after running for minutes. If hot problem with the shower valve. If only warm. Other problem.

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