I recently shut off the water main to the house to repair a leaky downstairs shower. When I finished and turned the water back on, I found that only my kitchen, which is upstairs and nearly directly over the water heater, was getting hot water. Other spouts in the house would run warm water for a few seconds and then go cold, while the kitchen continues to get a steady flow of very hot water. Pressure in all spouts is strong.

The house was built in the 1950s. The piping is simple, with one hot water source out of the water heater immediately going to a “T”, turning left to feed the upstairs kitchen and right to feed the rest of the house. No anti scalding valves that I am aware of. Water heater is about 10 years old. Everything worked perfectly before.

Faucets are a mix of single and double handle, makes no difference. It’s very confusing that water flows freely yet is cold, when the only source is the hot water heater. The line coming out of the water heater is quite hot. I need Colombo here.

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    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 3:36
  • Try turning on the hot water at one of the bathroom sinks that has a separate hot faucet and let it run. Then go down to where the tee is above your hot water heater and feel the right side of the tee tracing it as far as you can toward the bathrooms. You should be able to hear the water running and feel the temperature increase in the pipe. Assuming the water is flowing and hot and the hot water side is open with water flowing in the bathroom - it should begin to warm. This might help you isolate the problem.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Apr 30, 2020 at 3:40

2 Answers 2


This is a very strange issue. Do you have any shutoff valves for your cold water? If so turn your cold water valves off so that only hot water lines can reach your fixtures. Now run the hot water. If no water at all comes out of your faucets clearly there is an issue and this could be a clue. If water does come out of your faucets it eventually has to be hot.


Start with the only thing that has changed: the plumbing at the shower you 'fixed.' Since, according to your description, the kitchen hot water stays hot forever but everything on the lower floor doesn't get hot, I would be very suspicious that you forgot some check-valve or mixer-valve in the downstairs shower. This would lead to cold water running freely backwards to all the other hot-water spouts on that floor.

If there are local cutoff valves at the shower (which, BTW, you should have installed while doing the repair if there weren't any), shut them down and see if hot water flows properly.

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