One shower turns cold!

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  #1  
Old 01-22-01, 11:14 AM
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Angry

Hello and thank you in advance for your help! I am stumped with what's going on with one of the two showers in my condo. (The condo has a common water supply but each unit has its own hot water heater and plumbing.) The shower
goes from hot to cold about five minutes into the shower. It takes about a minute for the water to turn freezing cold. My other shower and faucets are working normally. This problem started about a month ago and continues
even though I replaced my hot water heater last week. If you have any ideas on what is happening or how I can fix this, I would love to hear!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-22-01, 11:48 AM
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Kerry,

My initial response would have been a dip tube failure in your hot water heater. BUT, you said you replaced the heater. So, the next question is do you have single handle or dual handle hot and cold faucets in the shower? Is the tub/shower diverter (which switches flow from the tub to the shower), built into the wall between the tub spout and the shower head, or is it on the end of the tub spout? And the final question is, if you turn on the hot water in the tub only, does it stay hot or does it too turn cold?

If you can answer these questions, we can find more to ask you , but also we just might be able to help.
 
  #3  
Old 01-22-01, 01:01 PM
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Who replaced your water heater?

You say one of the showers has this problem, is there more then one shower, and if there is do you find it happening in the other one?

You, or a plumber?

Could be a element out on that new heater, it is under warranty if thats the case.
 
  #4  
Old 01-22-01, 01:11 PM
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PB 2000, He has two showers, but the problem only happens with one, so I'm thinking it can't be the water heater.

Rick
 
  #5  
Old 01-22-01, 02:19 PM
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What brand is that valve for the shower, if it's a posi-temp valve, it could be the cartiage.

 
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Old 01-22-01, 10:33 PM
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One shower turns cold!

I am very glad that you folks are here to help! The additional information is as follows:

1. Dual handle shower-your basic shower/tub combo from 1985

2. Diverter built into wall with its knob between the hot and cold knobs

3. The water heater was replaced by Home Depot contractors (I don't think they were actually plumbers)

4. I replaced the water heater because I did have a dip tube problem in the old one. The new one seems to be working fine. Incidentally, FYI, there was a class action law suit with a $ settlement for people whose water heaters had the dip tube problem -- but you had to have reported it by 12/31/00 to be compensated.

5. The water turns cold after five minutes with both the shower and the bathtub

6. My other shower is great -- thirty minute showers are still piping hot

7. I'm unfortunately not quite sure what or where the shower valve is, what brand it could be, or what a posi-temp valve is ... if it's one of those nifty temperature control dials where you turn on the shower to a specific temperature setting, the answer is no. I just have that basic three handle set-up (one for hot, one for the diverter, one for cold). There is no brand marking on the shower head, tub spout, or handles.

8. My new water heater is under warranty, but since the problem existed for only one of the showers and with both the old and new water heaters, it seems less likely that the water heater is the problem. Would you agree?

Please let me know if any additional information would shed some light on what's happening! I'm looking forward to hearing what you think.

Thanks,
Kerry Ann
 
  #7  
Old 01-23-01, 07:29 AM
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Answer to #8 is true.

If this only happens at the one tub and all others are good, then could it ba possible that that one tub and shower is connected to the other condo's water heater line?

Try this turn the hot water on in the tub that your having problems with, now go to the water heater, and, with a glove on, don't want you to burn your hand, touch the hot water outlet on top of the water heater, do you feel water moving through this line?

If you do, then the tub is connected to that heater.

If you don't then it's not connected to that heater.

Let us know what you find.
 
  #8  
Old 01-24-01, 06:15 AM
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Getting worse ...

Hi plumbing experts! I checked to make sure that my new hot water heater was connected to the problem shower, and indeed it is. But more bad news -- for the first time, the *other* shower is exhibiting the same problem! A couple minutes of nice hot water, and then it goes cold.

I had an idea as to what the problem might possibly be, and thought I'd run it by you guys to see whether it's a possibility. As I mentioned, I replaced my old hot water heater because of a bad, disintegrating dip tube. I understand that many water heaters installed about 1995-6 had this problem. When Home Depot came to install the new water heater, they had to remove it still full of water since they were unable to drain the old one because of all the sediment.

Do you think it's possible that sediment could be the problem? Could the little white flakes of dip tube or some outside sediment be clogging the hot water pipes, then settle to let water pass, then get swept into a big clog within a few minutes, and then settle again a few hours later so that this cycle of hot/cold would keep happening?

Also, I'm wondering if you know whether ensuring that no sediment gets into the pipes from the old hot water heater would be a part of the water heater installation procedure? Should they have flushed the system or something? It would be super if something like that could be covered by my installation labor warranty. Does it sound like the installers forgot a step? Or would that definitely be something that only a plumber would do on a specific request, and separate from a water heater installation?

Thanks a million for your kind attention, Plumber2000 and Arkayassoc!

Regards,
Kerry Ann
 
  #9  
Old 01-24-01, 07:07 AM
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Kerry Ann,

You may be on to something. But I don't understand why any sediment has preferentially found its way to just the two tubs, and not lavatories, kitchen sink, dishwasher, washer, etc.

Having said that, I'd start disassembling valves on the hot water side and flush the lines. You'll need to shut off hot water at the heater, and remove the hot water valve stem on one tub, and then turn the hot back on and flush water out the valve body. This is probably a two person job, one to open and close the hot water valve at the heater, and the other to deflect the flood into the tub. I'd put the stopper in the tub, so you can see if anything flushes out, plus hold a pan or something in front of the valve body to deflect the water spray.

You may need a set of valve stem sockets to do the stem removals:




You should probably remove the diverter and repeat the flush. Do this for just one tub, and see if it solves the problem, and how much sediment you flush out. If it solves the problem, go to the other shower/tub.

IF, you have a shutoff valve on the hot water line behind the tub, and you can access it, you don't have to shut the hot water on and off at the heater, just do it at the tub.

Cannot answer the question about the normal installation procedure, but I am sure Plumber2000 can.

Let us know what you find.
 
  #10  
Old 01-24-01, 07:13 AM
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I'd call and have this checked out under the warranty, it is possible the water heater was turned on before it was totally full, this would burn elements out.

Home Depot has an obligation to satisfy the customer, call and have them return.

The new water heater should not be full of sediment
 
  #11  
Old 01-25-01, 03:31 AM
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Cool Warranty me!

Hello! I'll go ahead and call Home Depot to have them come out and look at the hot water heater to make sure all the elements are working correctly as you said, Plumber2000. If that's not the problem, then here's hoping that flushing the hot water pipes will work per your instructions, Arkayassoc!

I thought about trying to flush it myself with my roommate's help, but I suspect that I could end up doing more damage than harm. Perhaps a professional plumber would be the best idea at that point. ) Otherwise, my next post to you guys might be titled "House flooded and pipes mangled!"

I should be able to get Home Depot out today to eliminate any questions with the water heater. I'll drop you a post to report what happens! I am so thankful for your help in pointing me to a viable direction.

Sincerely,
Kerry Ann
 
  #12  
Old 01-25-01, 08:20 PM
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Unbelievable!

You guys are not going to believe this -- I had the manufacturer send out a plumber under the warranty for the new water heater. It turns out that the people who installed my new water heater last week *forgot* to put in a diptube. Isn't that bizarre? I never would have thought that something could have been so wrong with the installation. So the plumber cut open the pipe, put in a diptube, and sealed it back up. Voila, it works.

We know that the old water heater diptube had disintegrated, and the new water heater had no diptube, hence the problem continued. Only one shower was affected because I would shower with the water that had been slowly warming all day and night, while my roommate would try to shower with water that had just recently entered the water heater.

Arkayassoc, you had a great point about how strange it would be for a sediment problem to affect only the showers, and Plumber2000, your pointing me back to the warranty was the key. I probably will need to flush out the pipes too, so I appreciate the directions on that as well!

Thanks a million!
Your plumbing pal,
Kerry Ann
 
  #13  
Old 01-25-01, 08:44 PM
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Funny this happened, all new water heater come with the dip-tube pre-installed, what they do remove the tube from the water heater when they installed it.

What were they thinking?

I do hope you was not charged for there return.
 
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