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Old 01-08-2008, 08:52 AM   #1
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Cold showers


We just had the plumbing completely replaced in our 1920's craftsman with PEX plumbing back in August. The water heater is about 12 years old so we know we'll have to replace it soon. It's a 40 gallon tank and normally is fine. Recently, as the weather has gotten colder, the first shower is fine, but waiting even close to an hour and then taking another shower isn't much of an option. Even though the shower is cold, the sinks (both kitchen and bathroom) will still have plenty of hot water! We insulated the hot water pipes and it doesn't seem to have solved the problem.

Any ideas?
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Old 01-08-2008, 10:30 AM   #2
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Cold showers


What type of shower valve controls do you have? Brand? Dual handle? Single handle?
It's probably a problem in the valve.
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:50 PM   #3
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Cold showers


single handle, moen, probably about 2 years old, looks like this:

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Old 01-08-2008, 07:55 PM   #4
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Cold showers


the dip tube in the tank is probably gone? either replace it. but if you can do that you probably can change the tank? and thats the better option
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Old 01-08-2008, 08:54 PM   #5
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Cold showers


edit from what i wrote...... i'll shut up, jp is correct about this being a different mechanism.

Last edited by moneymgmt; 01-09-2008 at 05:25 AM.
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Old 01-08-2008, 11:09 PM   #6
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Cold showers


I am having trouble on this one. You say the first shower is fine (how long of a shower and does it go lukewarm in a little while) and have to wait an hour for another, yet you have plenty of hot water everywhere else. Are you sure you have hot water at the other taps after the hot water in the shower peters out? I am guessing you don't and am leaning towards the dip tube problem in the water heater as it doesn't make sense that the shower would work once for a whole shower and then not work.
BTW...the valve you show does not look like the Moen posi-temp which simply rotates to the left to turn on the cold water and further left for hot....that Moen style you show pulls out to turn on and rotates left for hot and to the right for cold or vice versa, but the point is it pulls out to turn on and has a different type of cartridge.

Last edited by jpplumber; 01-08-2008 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 01-09-2008, 05:57 AM   #7
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Cold showers


how is the pressure on the hot side vs the cold side with the bath/kitchen sinks and the shower...if you see the hot water is any less you could have a mineral build up on the hot pipe adapter (swet x thread) fitting just out of the HWH slowing down the hot water out.flushing the tank won't hurt either you might have so much in the bottom of the tank it is limiting how the water recovers to get hot on that 1 hour wait for the second shower.
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Last edited by biggles; 01-09-2008 at 06:20 AM.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:57 AM   #8
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Cold showers


Quote:
Originally Posted by jpplumber View Post
I am having trouble on this one. You say the first shower is fine (how long of a shower and does it go lukewarm in a little while) and have to wait an hour for another, yet you have plenty of hot water everywhere else. Are you sure you have hot water at the other taps after the hot water in the shower peters out? I am guessing you don't and am leaning towards the dip tube problem in the water heater as it doesn't make sense that the shower would work once for a whole shower and then not work.
BTW...the valve you show does not look like the Moen posi-temp which simply rotates to the left to turn on the cold water and further left for hot....that Moen style you show pulls out to turn on and rotates left for hot and to the right for cold or vice versa, but the point is it pulls out to turn on and has a different type of cartridge.
First shower is about 10-15 min. It doesn't go luke warm at the end of it at all though (Added: Actually, I've taken steaming hot showers in there for over 30 min. without any problems with temperature dropping off.). And yes, we're sure we have plenty of hot water at the other taps. We have washed dishes after the showers (though we don't if we're trying to get the hot water up for the 2nd shower).

I must have chosen the wrong picture, I honestly just picked it from the Moen site without reading it's mechanism, I apologize. Ours is such that you turn it CCW to turn it on (cold) and further CCW to get hot water.

Last edited by jkrodger; 01-09-2008 at 10:19 AM. Reason: added information
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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Cold showers


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Originally Posted by biggles View Post
how is the pressure on the hot side vs the cold side with the bath/kitchen sinks and the shower...if you see the hot water is any less you could have a mineral build up on the hot pipe adapter (swet x thread) fitting just out of the HWH slowing down the hot water out.flushing the tank won't hurt either you might have so much in the bottom of the tank it is limiting how the water recovers to get hot on that 1 hour wait for the second shower.

Pressure is the same on both hot and cold sides with all faucets. Also, we flushed the tank when the problem first appeared, even before insulating the hot water pipes. Flushing the tank showed virtually no sediment at the bottom and did not help the problem (though we'll still do it once a year as part of regular maintenance of course).
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:44 PM   #10
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Cold showers


See the post about "shower valve doesn't mix" started by moneymgmt and see if you can get Moen to send you the posi-temp cartridge for free...it may in fact be a problem with the cartridge...(so you didn't need to edit that post moneymgmt) There is also an adjustment on these valves that limits the distance the handle will rotate to the left if you so choose (most ppl don't care to do that unless they have kids using the shower) Turn off the water and follow the instructions that come with the cartridge
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