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Old 04-16-2013, 02:16 PM   #1
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no hot water in apartment (well ok, maybe a little)


First post! I'm not a plumber but i've done a bunch DIY stuff for my parents and siblings. First of all, before you get the wrong idea, since I live in an apartment i do not plan on doing the repairs myself as i believe a professional should be handling major repairs like this. I am here for advice and knowlegde only from guys and gals like you who know much more than i do.

ok here's my problem. I moved into my new apartment 8 days ago. I have not had a hot shower in my apartment yet (and the other faucets get almost-warm, not hot). I have tried showering at all different times throughout the day without really getting any warmer water. I do not have a water heater in my apartment, a bunch of units share a boiler (i have zero experience with boilers).

My first maintenance request got someone out to turn the boiler up. that's all they did and i did not see any difference. I wrote a cordial, but stern letter (3 pages) to my apt people telling them that something is wrong so they had some people out yesterday and today to look at it and the other apartments around me. apparently no one else is having any hot water problems.

I got a call today and they have ordered some shower valves hoping that will fix the problem but... i have my doubts. It is my understanding that if my shower valve was the problem, the other faucets should still have hot water available to them. They do not. In fact, since my sinks only have mildly warm water and my shower doesn't even get that, i have resorted to heating water on my stove to shave with.

In your opinion, is the problem in fact the shower valve? or is it something else that could be the problem? the office lady told me the boiler can't run out of hot waterso that's not the problem, is this true?
Thanks everyone!

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Old 04-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by snunicycler View Post
First post! I'm not a plumber but i've done a bunch DIY stuff for my parents and siblings. First of all, before you get the wrong idea, since I live in an apartment i do not plan on doing the repairs myself as i believe a professional should be handling major repairs like this. I am here for advice and knowlegde only from guys and gals like you who know much more than i do.

ok here's my problem. I moved into my new apartment 8 days ago. I have not had a hot shower in my apartment yet (and the other faucets get almost-warm, not hot). I have tried showering at all different times throughout the day without really getting any warmer water. I do not have a water heater in my apartment, a bunch of units share a boiler (i have zero experience with boilers).

My first maintenance request got someone out to turn the boiler up. that's all they did and i did not see any difference. I wrote a cordial, but stern letter (3 pages) to my apt people telling them that something is wrong so they had some people out yesterday and today to look at it and the other apartments around me. apparently no one else is having any hot water problems.

I got a call today and they have ordered some shower valves hoping that will fix the problem but... i have my doubts. It is my understanding that if my shower valve was the problem, the other faucets should still have hot water available to them. They do not. In fact, since my sinks only have mildly warm water and my shower doesn't even get that, i have resorted to heating water on my stove to shave with.

In your opinion, is the problem in fact the shower valve? or is it something else that could be the problem? the office lady told me the boiler can't run out of hot waterso that's not the problem, is this true?
Thanks everyone!
Yes, it could be a bad valve.
Let them replace it and see what happens.

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Old 04-16-2013, 02:33 PM   #3
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If the water isn't hot in the sink or shower then no, I don't see how a new valve would help any. Unfortunately with the apt scenario since you can't DIY you have to be someone's PITA until your problem gets fixed. That or leave of course, but from the sounds of it you just want some well deserved hot water! Good luck
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:42 PM   #4
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Take it from a guy who was in the military and lived in a dorm with a few hundred other guys. Yes, boilers can run out of hot water regardless of what the lady in the office says. If your trying to shower after everyone else then guess what, they get the hotwater & you get luke warm.

Wanna see if it's the valve or the boiler? Take a shower at 3:30 in the morning when the entire building is asleep and has been for a couple hours. If it's still luke warm probably NOT the boiler, more likely something in line with your specific unit. If the water is hot then that just means the boiler is overloaded for the number of apts it's trying to service and nothing they do short of redoing all the plumbing so additional boilers are installed or giving each apt it's own tank is going to fix this problem.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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Have you befriended any neighbors yet? Would be nice to see what their temp is like compared to yours.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:04 PM   #6
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If the water isn't hot in the sink or shower then no, I don't see how a new valve would help any. Unfortunately with the apt scenario since you can't DIY you have to be someone's PITA until your problem gets fixed. That or leave of course, but from the sounds of it you just want some well deserved hot water! Good luck
He said the sinks get warm but not hot.
Sounds like hes getting a cross connection from hot to cold, and the most likely place is a bad valve.

I was doing a bath remodel out of town . I finished the rough of the bath room.
I didn't install the cartridge in the shower valve as I was going to return in a couple days to do the trim after the tile was installed.
Home owner called to say they had no hot water, only luke warm.
I had to drive back ( hours) and install the cartridge, and that solved the problem.
I'm not saying this is the OP's problem, just saying its possible.
Look at the pics below and you can see how the valve would cause a cross connection with out the cartridge installed
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
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Gotcha, thanks. Hopefully that's it then.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:49 PM   #8
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Take a shower at 3:30 in the morning when the entire building is asleep and has been for a couple hours.
Ya, that's a good idea. I've tried showering at 11 but i guess that could still be low on hot water there too. I'll try it tonight if i remember. And I'll keep everyone informed of what happens too. I feel like i'm going to have a long (and cold) fight ahead of me. At least management is pretending like they are genuinely concerned and sorry.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:56 PM   #9
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no hot water in apartment (well ok, maybe a little)


If you have moen single handle style tub/shower valve or if all the tenants have them that is the problem, and by changing out the shower valve to another style it would correct this problem

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Old 04-17-2013, 04:23 PM   #10
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I'll try it tonight if i remember
I didn't remember.
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Originally Posted by JERRYMAC View Post
If you have moen single handle style tub/shower valve or if all the tenants have them that is the problem, and by changing out the shower valve to another style it would correct this problem
Now the lady DID say they have been replacing the old moen shower valves with... Delta (maybe? i should have written it down) but that mine had not been replaced yet. I hope you guys are right. They are supposed to be working on it today.
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:09 AM   #11
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ok so they replaced the shower valve and that did absolutely nothing. I know you guys cant really diagnose it but at this point, what kind of problem does it sound like? Leak? clog? something with the boiler?

I've taken over 2 weeks worth of cold showers and this is the pits. Everytime i call (while i'm at work) they tell me that they are looking at it right now and will let me know when they find something....
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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ok so they replaced the shower valve and that did absolutely nothing. I know you guys cant really diagnose it but at this point, what kind of problem does it sound like? Leak? clog? something with the boiler?

I've taken over 2 weeks worth of cold showers and this is the pits. Everytime i call (while i'm at work) they tell me that they are looking at it right now and will let me know when they find something....
IMO- someplace in your apt. you have a cross over. This can be at any of the faucets that are single handle such as your moen shower valve or lav faucet. What happens is the cartridge fails and cold water mixes with the hot across the valve while in the off position. This will temper the hot water to most of your valves.
One test you could do is turn off the water supply to your faucets then run the shower and check it for increased hot water temp. It's a process of elimination.
Its also possible that the issue could be in your neighbors since you share hot water- or is your unit fed directly from the boiler and dedicated to your unit?
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:53 AM   #13
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IMO- someplace in your apt. you have a cross over. This can be at any of the faucets that are single handle such as your moen shower valve or lav faucet. What happens is the cartridge fails and cold water mixes with the hot across the valve while in the off position. This will temper the hot water to most of your valves.
unfortunately, the only single handle faucet i have is the shower one they just replaced...

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It's also possible that the issue could be in your neighbors since you share hot water- or is your unit fed directly from the boiler and dedicated to your unit?
No we all share one... i was not aware of that when i signed my lease, that is something i will check on from now on... I guess the issue is someone elses unit?
Thanks for the quick response!

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Old 04-22-2013, 12:03 PM   #14
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Sorry you haven't had a decent hot shower yet since you moved in. I believe by law the landlord is required to ensure all tenants have hot water. Too bad new valve wasn't the answer. They should be addressing this promptly. As a paying tenant, you shouldn't have to do or be responsible for anything except report it, which you already have.

Have you given any written notice to landlord about problem? Start keeping good documentation. Who you talked to, date & time, what's being done, what's already been done. etc.

What kind of lease, (monthly or yearly) are you obligated to? Are there other tenants complaining of same thing?

We are not lawyers, but you may have legal rights in this situation. Like another poster already mentioned sometimes you have to be a PITA. Stay on them, they should make it right. Good luck to you.

Last edited by jmon; 04-22-2013 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:43 PM   #15
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Bummer dude. Talk to some of your neighbors, explain your problem to them and see what they have to say about their hot water. I would think any competent plumber wouldn't have this much trouble in diagnosing your problem.

Thing is, no one I know likes cold showers so something tells me it's likely a problem w/ just your unit. I'd be surprised to hear your neighbors tell you they take cold showers everyday but let us know.

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