How to Fix a Shower with Extremely Cold Water

Being able to turn on a tap and have hot water come out is one of the best things about the modern world. It’s likely something you take for granted most of the time. However, there are not many things worse than getting in the shower only to discover you don’t have hot water.

No one likes a cold shower. If you are experiencing issues with your hot water, you’ll want to get the problem fixed as quickly as possible. Never hesitate to call a plumber if you cannot resolve the issue. They will be able to diagnose and repair whatever is causing you to have lost your hot water.

If your shower water has turned cold, read on to determine the problem.


The first thing to do is check every faucet in your home. Turn on the hot water to see if there is any. This will verify if the issue only affects the shower or is a whole-house problem. If all the taps in your house are suddenly cold water-only, the issue is most likely with your water heater.

 On the other hand, if every faucet except the shower does produce hot water, you will have pinpointed that the problem lies with the shower itself.


The next step in diagnosing the issue when you have no hot water in your shower is to consider timing! Are others who live in your home showering immediately before you do? Do you tend to do laundry immediately prior or run a load in the dishwasher? Your lack of hot water may be due to the water heater needing time to regenerate.

Some water heaters also have specific on-and-off cycles, affecting your hot water if your shower happens during an off-cycle time. Aim to wait thirty minutes after someone else has a shower or after running an appliance to allow your water heater to warm the water up again. Consider upgrading to a larger tank if this is always an issue.

Water Heater

Your lack of hot water could be because the temperature on your water heater needs adjusting. If the thermostat appears correct, you can check that the elements are in working order. An element that has burnt out may mean the water may only retain heat for a short time or never heat up. If you have a gas unit, check that the pilot light is still lit.

On older model water heaters, it is advisable also to check the cold water supply dip tube. Deterioration of this component means the water may never get to the heater elements. Finding bits of plastic in your faucet filters signifies that the cold water tube is the problem. Calling a plumber is your best action when your water heater is not working.

Shower Valve

If you have determined that the shower is the only place not getting hot water, then the issue must be within the workings of the shower itself. Check the shower valve first. This component allows hot and cold water to mix so that the water from the shower head is at the right temperature. The valve will not work correctly if the o-ring or washers have worn out.

Replacing these parts is possible for an experienced DIYer, and you can buy the parts at any hardware store. However, since plumbing is found inside your walls, it can be complicated. Sometimes calling in a plumber to repair for you is the best course of action.

Anti-Scald Device

The majority of showers have an anti-scald device installed. An anti-scald device is a safety feature that limits how far you can turn the shower handle in the hot water direction. Is there hot water available in other faucets but not in your shower? It could be due to a defective anti-scald device.

To check if this is the issue, remove the faucet’s handle. You should see a plastic device right under the faucet head. You should be able to determine if it is in good shape just by looking at it. If the device appears damaged, it needs to be replaced. It is also a possibility that the device is simply set incorrectly.

If this is the case, all you do to adjust it is pull it out a little, turn it to the right, and push it back into place. When you test the water, it should be getting warmer than before.


Do you live in an older house? Corrosion within your home’s plumbing system could cause your hot water problems. Most newer homes are constructed with plastic or copper piping, so it is not as likely to be a problem. Call a plumber to assess the situation if you think that corrosion in your pipes might be the problem.