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Thread: Cold showers in morning in apartment, all other units fine

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Kelsey's Avatar
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    Default Cold showers in morning in apartment, all other units fine

    Hi, I've been in my apartment for about a year and a half without any major problems, I'm on the second floor. Sometimes have to let the water run for 5 minutes to warm up.

    Suddenly in the last two weeks the water in both showers will not warm up in the morning. It gets to lukewarm at best. Water in sinks is warm/hot, just not showers. Then at night its hot again in sinks and bathrooms. They've been out a few times and run the water at 10 or 11 am and say it gets hot in 10 minutes. Very frustrated to not be able to take hot showers in the morning now. I have let the water run 20-60 minutes to try to flush out the cold water, but still doesn't warm up. And there is hot water in the sink, so it's not that we have run out of hot water. No other tenants are complaining. Any ideas??? They don't know what else to do. Thanks so much for any input or suggestions.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It sounds like one or more of the single handle valves in your building has degraded and has an internal cross-over. The fix is either replace the valve or install a new cartridge. Some brands are known for this. With them, it's not a matter of if, but of when they exhibit this behavior. It could be in your unit or another, depends on how the hot water is routed. If you have your own WH, then it's in your unit.

    What brand(s) of single handle faucets do you have? Also, if you have an apartment style washing machine that you connect to a sink faucet, that might also be a source of the cross-over.
    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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    DIY Senior Member Smooky's Avatar
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    A "Y" connect hose on the washing machine spigots can also cause a cross-flow of cold into the hot water as jadnashua mentioned.

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    DIY Junior Member Kelsey's Avatar
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    No we don't have a washer/dryer in the apartment. It's Kohler shower heads in both bathrooms. We don't have our own hot water heater, there are two in the basement. Would you suggestions still apply? Thanks so much!

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It's not the shower head, it's the valves...could be the shower valve, could be a kitchen faucet, could be a vanity faucet. If they will let you turn them off with the handle pushed all the way to one side, try that (some models will only turn off in the middle, and if there's a leak between the two supplies, it won't help you isolate the problem). If not, try turning the cold supply off to your sinks with the shutoff underneath the sink. When you find the one(s) that give you the crossover, then you'll be able to tell maintenance which one needs servicing.

    Your appartment complex might have hot water recirculation...if it does, you may have a bad checkvalve as well.
    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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    Homeowner
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    You probably have a temperture limit on the tub/shower valve. You may be able to adjust this limiter to allow for more hot flow. Check the temp of the cold water in the mornings compared to the afternoon.

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    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    If not, try turning the cold supply off to your sinks with the shutoff underneath the sink.
    Good advice, but I will note that many rentals/older homes seem to lack such basic amenities. The last rental home I lived in (1950's brick) I had to use a curb key any time I wanted to shut off water to a fixture... So in the space of two and half years the home gained a lot of new shut off valves, one or two for every time I worked on another fixture.

  8. #8
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There are so many possible causes that we cannot begin tell which is your problem. Getting hot water in "10 minutes", however, is not acceptable. How the hot water pipes are routed, whether you have a recirculation system or not, (a building like yours should have one), is also a consideration, along with the type of valves in the apartments.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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