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Thread: Shower stops working after water heater replacement

  1. #1

    Default Shower stops working after water heater replacement

    I'm happy with my new Bradford White water heater, but unhappy with the drywall damage and some other issues with the plumber that installed it: http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29799

    I'm not sure I can directly blame the plumber for the simultaneous failure of my shower when the new water heater was installed, but can't help but think it's totally unrelated, perhaps due to sediment or breakage of an anti-scald device ?

    When installing the WH the plumber got me to turn on all the taps upstairs to let the air out, after the water supply was turned off. I also turned on the shower tap, to about mid-way as it's the type with one knob going from cold to hot. It's a low-flow shower as required by local regulations, and I suspect it's a low quality model from a local hardware store.

    When the water was turned back on, but before the water heater electric was turned back on, I noted there was only a small dribble of water coming out from the shower. I presumed it was due to an anti-scald device, although both hot and cold were cold at that time. Still the same now; only a small dribble, although every other tap in the house is working fine.

    After the house water supply was turned back on I had to run all taps for a while to get rid of air and some sediment. I'm not entirely sure where the sediment came from, other than the house internal plumbing, since the WH was new.

    Any ideas ?

    Thanks !,
    Mike.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It is not uncommon to have a bunch of crud accumulate inside the pipes.

    On a pressure balance valve like that in your shower, if both sides (hot and cold) are not present when the valve is turned on, that valve will slam to one end. It can stick and prevent flow. Sounds like that's the issue. Sometimes, you can free it up, sometimes you need to replace it. The pros here would need to know the model to tell you the best way to approach the fix.

    It's also possible that the showerhead is clogged up with crud. You could try removing it and see if you get flow out the shower arm.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Anytime water is shutoff and turned back on, you can break things loose in the pipes.
    Especially with older galvanized piping.

    I would remove the shower head like mentioned above and see if it needs cleaning.

    This is just all part of the ongoing problems with keeping things replaced and running.

  4. #4

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    Thanks Jim and Terry.

    House is only 8 years old; I think/am pretty sure it's copper piping throughout.

    It's not the plastic shower head. I've already removed that and the flow is still just a tiny dribble. I haven't disconnected the threaded coupling with the 'plumber's tape' near the head though, so perhaps I'll try that.

    I note that both hot and cold water seem to be making it through, although with the low flow it takes a while to change temperature when I adjust.

    Shower is non functional effectively, so I'll take my time and remove the screws etc. I can to see what I can access. I'm not TOO comfortable with home plumbing but have replaced kitchen taps.


    Can't help but think it might not have broken had I left it closed during the work.

    Regards and thanks again,
    Mike.

  5. #5

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    Problem solved. It was gunk in the small metal piece that's threaded on one side and has a ball on the other for fitting into the plastic part of the shower head. The gunk built up on the screen inside it.

    I think, but am not sure this is the piece that restricts water flow. I'm hoping to replace this and get a better shower head that flows better, local bylaws be darned. Funny how a large and legal tub like we have can 'waste' so much more water than an 'illegal' higher flow shower head.

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiremichaelreid View Post
    Funny how a large and legal tub like we have can 'waste' so much more water than an 'illegal' higher flow shower head.
    An unrestricted showerhead can flow 5-6 gallons per minute...think about someone sitting in the shower for 15-minutes or more. That's nearly 100 gallons. An average tub only holds about 30-gallons. Yes, you can buy tubs that hold more, but even then, most don't hold that much. And, some people take much longer showers than that.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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