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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    6

    Default Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    I have a 53 gallon water heater which should be plenty for a household of two. The problem is that just 5 minutes into a wonderful steaming hot shower, the water would suddenly become just warm and I would need to turn down the cold water to keep it hot. I thought the possible cause would be that as hot water is drained from the heater, it's filling with cold water at the same time so the water inside the tank gets cold. Or maybe there's something else. Could anyone shed some light as to any other possibilities?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    If the water heater is hooked up backward, that is the cold is hooked up to the hot side and the hot is hooked up to the cold side, that would cause the problem described. Another cause could be a missing dip tube on the cold water side. Another cause , if it is only the shower, is a mis adjusted anti scalding or temperature controlled shower valve.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    5,441

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    In 5 minutes you drain about 10 gallons. There should be more hot water than what you're getting..

    Look at all the points Jack said.

    Is it gas or electric? What is the set temperature? what kind of faucet do you have?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    If you have an electric water heater then it's likely to be an element ( probably the bottom element ) or thermostat failure.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    Thanks for your replies. It's a gas unit and the problem is only with the shower. Bath sink and kitchen sink work just fine and plenty of hot water. As JLM mentioned above, I will definitely check the shower valve (need to google for what it is...) Does anyone know how much it may cost to fix it? Repair or replace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,441

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    It's hard for us to estimate your cost of fixing or replacing without checking the faucet, access to the body (valve), etc.

    To get a better idea about the costs, call 3 local plumbers for estimates.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    I will first thing tomorrow because I also have a problem with my gas pipe. Just posted a new thread.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    18

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    I'm having a similar problem. I feel I can eliminate the possibility that the pipes are hooked up incorrectly since the problem only appeared after living in the house for nearly three years. The heating elements have been replaced since I have lived there as well. What about the other possible causes like the dip tube, the anti-scald valve or the thermostat? Are these things I might fix myself or should I call a plumber?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,509

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    Take the valve body apart and blow out the valve body with water. (this takes 2 people)

    Clean the valve cartridges. Look for gunk.

    We once had a small roofing rock travel 2 floors to the hot side of a valve, and cut the hot water after a few minutes. Once the pebble was removed, the valved worked normally.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,441

    Default Re: Water gets cold 5 min into shower

    Quote Originally Posted by uh_clem View Post
    I'm having a similar problem. I feel I can eliminate the possibility that the pipes are hooked up incorrectly since the problem only appeared after living in the house for nearly three years. The heating elements have been replaced since I have lived there as well. What about the other possible causes like the dip tube, the anti-scald valve or the thermostat? Are these things I might fix myself or should I call a plumber?
    How old is you heater (the date it was manufactured is printed on the label)?
    Replacing any of the parts you mentioned is a skilled job, and we don't know your level.
    Calling a plumber would not be a brilliant idea, if your WH is old, in which case replacing it will be the thing to do.

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