Plumbing in the Home/Cold shower


QUESTION: My shower has separate hot and cold knobs.

When taking a shower if you barely crack the cold water on
the shower becomes way too cold. So we are stuck either taking very hot or very cold showers.

We have lived in the house 20 yrs and this is a new problem.

Any thoughts on what could be going on  ?

ANSWER: Hey, this is a no brainer...if you cannot regulate the water flow then I think you would need to remove the stem from the body and find out why....most likely the washer is gone but it is amazing that it would not leak when you shut it to the off position. Outside chance that the water heater dip tube is bad but if you have hot water long enough to take a shower that is not likely??? when a water heater dip tube goes bad it effectively makes the water heater tank ineffective and you only get a few gallons of hot water before getting cold water out of the hot water pipes. The water heater dip tube is on the cold/inlet of the water heater and it conveys the cold water into the bottom area of the tank down through the already heated water in the storage tank. Sometimes it breaks off (just a plastic tube) or splits and allows cold water entering the tank to short cut directly into the heated water and into the hot water supply pipe.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the information.

I considered the dip tube , even to the point of attempting to remove it to inspect it. However the fitting to remove it was almost like it has fused together. I mean I'm a good sized man and I was putting a lot into it and felt as though it break if I went any further so I stopped.

So I could have a dip tube issue no doubt.

But the thing is if you take a shower with only the hot on its fine, if you barely add any cold it gets way to cold.

Any thoughts ?

Again thank you for your time, you guys are awesome !!

I only mentioned the dip tube because you do not say how much hot water you receive...??? If you are not having trouble with the hot water anywhere and there seems to be plenty at the kitchen (for example) then it is not a dip tube. Take the valve stems out and see what is causing your have to understand a little about volume and pressure....if you open the cold to temper the hot does the volume increase noticeably?

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Cortez (cort) Cate


PLEASE read this entire introduction. I have been doing this for a long time and I have come to the conclusion that if you are not willing to take the time to write a detailed question then don't expect a detailed solution! I am getting far to many questions that do not give enough detail to warrant a good solution. I realize it is a little difficult to formulate a good question but if you want a good answer you have to give me good this entire introduction please....remember this website is world wide I have no clue where you live if you don't tell give more detail on the fixture you are having problems with...a one piece eljer 3.5 gallon flush will be totally different than a one-gallon flush toto.....details are important. I can answer most questions related to residential and commercial plumbing for many buildings. I have sufficient knowledge of the UPC and UMC. I will speculate for you if necessary. In those cases I will try to give you some guidance and you should use that to refine the question further and we, together, can seek the answer via a follow up. Plumbing codes and practices vary around the world--If you don't tell me where you live the answer I give may not fit your locality. I am giving my time to you as a way of fulfilling my perceived obligation to share. I am here to try to help you find a solution to your problem. REMEMBER, If you want a good answer you need to ask a detailed question and include where you live, type of pipes, type of building, water pressure if it is a water problem, type of heater, age of appliance & building all these and many more are variables that have an effect on various situations. Detailed information will help produce a better answer.


Since 1972 a California licensed B-1 General Building Contractor, C-36 Plumbing and C-16 Fire Sprinkler Contractor; also installing and servicing Heating, Air Conditioning and Sheet Metal operating as C and C Building and Plumbing, California State License 279516. In 1995 I downsized the company to become semi-retired. Still I remain active in the construction industry. As head of a company I placed personnel and job safety as the number one objective followed closely by training and continuing education. Always seeking to stay informed of leading edge technology in the industry. Also I have spent several years as an Apprenticeship Instructor in the Pipe Trades Unions. Additionally I am a certified OSHA instructor.

United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters Instruction Training, Ann Arbor, MI Bakersfield College, Bakersfield CA Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA Foothill College, Los Altos, CA California Licensed Contractor from 1971

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