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Marc
Marc, Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 1411
Experience:  Plumbing heating & home maintenance contractor
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No Hot Water to shower and sink, but the hot water heater has

Customer Question

No Hot Water to shower and sink, but the hot water heater has plenty of hot water available. When I turn on the shower initially there is hot water. After a few seconds the water becomes luke warm. The hot water side has a recurculation pump for instant hot water. Please explain what could be causing the hot water to stop flowing.

Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.

thePLUMBER :

Hi my name isXXXXX will do my best to help solve your problem

thePLUMBER :

Hello

thePLUMBER :

You say you replaced the cartridge, which one the shower valve?

Customer:

in the shower valve, but it didn't make any difference.

thePLUMBER :

Is the sink a one handle faucet as well?

Customer:

yes

thePLUMBER :

Thats probably the bad cartridge to find out shut the shut off valves to both hot and cold to the sink under the cabinet then try the shower if the shower works normal then the sink cartridge needs replaced its mixing

Customer:

Even when the sink faucet is off?

thePLUMBER :

Yes if its a bad cartridge it can mix when off

thePLUMBER :

Its easy to find out by doing how i explained

Customer:

I'm not at home right now, so I'll have to try it tonight

thePLUMBER :

If you shut the shut off valves under the sink then its off for sure and will take the faucet out of the picture

Customer:

The water starts out hot on both the sink and shower, so does it take time to mix the hot and cold?

thePLUMBER :

Yes

thePLUMBER :

do you have a tank type water heater or tankless?

Customer:

tank

thePLUMBER :

then its most likely a one handle faucet or could be a washing machine as well where its mixing

thePLUMBER :

are you home now

Customer:

Nope, not at home

Customer:

If it's mixing, wouldn't it affect other areas of the house? The master and kitchen are not a problem.

Customer:

Could water preasure be a problem?

thePLUMBER :

Would usually show up at room where its mixing

thePLUMBER :

you could also have a clogged hot line, but since you say it starts out as hot then gos luke warm thats the sign of mixing

Customer:

Reason I ask about the presusre is because the hot water side has a full loop that recirculates constantly.

thePLUMBER :

Yes but that loop is to get you hot water faster does not effect pressure

Customer:

The cold water seems to overpower the hot once the shower is turned on.

thePLUMBER :

Do you have copper lines? or galv or plastic for water?

Customer:

copper

thePLUMBER :

when you turn the sink valve all the way to hot is the pressure good?

Customer:

When I touch the copper pipe coming into the valve, it is very hot when I first turn it on, but like the water it get colder once the water is on for a while.

thePLUMBER :

Its a valve mixing it sounds like the faucet in that bathroom

Customer:

presure is ok, but not as strong as the cold side.

thePLUMBER :

which would be fixed with a new cartridge

thePLUMBER :

bad cartridge can cause pressure drop to

Customer:

One other thing I tried and it solved the problem was shuting the valve going back into the hot water heater from the hot water line.

thePLUMBER :

If you hit accept we can continue with this problem on same charge for up to 30 days just try what i suggested when you get home and its probably a $20 cartridge to fix, we will not know until you try

Customer:

I don't like this solution because now it takes a litte while for the water to get hot.

thePLUMBER :

You killed the circ line you mean

Customer:

yes

Customer:

once I killed the circ line the water stayed hot in the shower and sink. It just takes a while to get hot

thePLUMBER :

Its a bad cartridge

thePLUMBER :

i will be on all night if your going home later to try

thePLUMBER :

One you shut that sink off you should be able to leave your circ line on and check shower if its good just change the sink cartridge

Customer:

Okay, I

Customer:

I'll try that when I get home. I'm in California, so that will be several hours from now.

thePLUMBER :

Thats fine i will be around another 6 hours anyway

Customer:

I hope that's it because I like the instant hot water. We recently purchased this place and I didn

Customer:

't even know it had it until I started trying to figure out this problem

thePLUMBER :

Im sure thats going to be it, well find out

thePLUMBER :

Talk to you later tonight just reply to this and i will rely back when you get back on thanks Gary

Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I shut off the water to the sink (both hot and cold), opened back up the circulation line and plugged the pump in. I let the pump run for a little while, ran some water in the master bathroom and kitchen.

 

Then I went to the shower in the guest bathroom that is having the problem. I ran a little water to get it hot. Stopped the flow, waited a minute and turned on the hot full blast. The water started out hot and then turned luke warm. Shutting off the water to the sink didn't make a difference.

Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
Then the cartridge for the sink is not the problem. Do you have more then one water heater?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Nope, just one.
Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
You did change the shower cartridge not just clean in right
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Purchased a new one at Lowe's and installed it Sunday.
Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure the thing that has me confused is that the rest of the house is fine, and you say if you shut off the circ line it works right, that circ lines end probably ties in right before this bathroom to return to the heater so maybe the mixing problem is near the heater and the circ pump is pulling the cold water from there. It really depends how your circ line is set up. I would leave your circ line on, but one by one go to every one handled faucet in the house and after shutting the hot and cold shut off valves to one check the problem bathroom again each time and see if the problem stops (to try and find a bad cartridge) The washing machines valve could be bad too.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'll give that a try and get back to you.
Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
ok let me know
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I just received a follow-up email. The initial problem is still there. I have left the valve closed to re-circulate the hot water back into the water heater and that gives us hot water. When it is open the water dosen't stay hot. I checked out all the suggestion you made, but none made any difference.
Expert:  Theplumber717 replied 2 years ago.
I will opt out incase there is another expert with a solution for you
Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.

Hello and thank you for using JA.com. I will assist you today with your question. Please accept the answer upon completion of the Q&A process.

I have read what thePLUMBER has already gone over with you and as I believe he was on the right track, as soon as you shut off the recirculation line it fixed the problem with respect to the hot water being luke warm. Although you now have an issue with the hot water taking much longer to get to the faucet....am I on track so far?

With isolating the hot water recirc line, and it fixing the problem tells me that there is a problem with a check valve on the recirculation line. it is failed and is causing tempered water to enter into the piping. Typically the recirculation return to the tank enters the cold water side thus with the failed check valve, the cold water is taking the path of least resistance back into the hot water line. locate the swing check valve in the return recirculation line and change it. ]

The best way to tell if this is the problem is to locate where the recirc line return enters the cold and hold the recirc line while someone turns on the faucet...I bet that it gets cold on you...

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The hot water line does return and enter the cold line just before going into the water heater, but I don't recall seeing a check valve or back flow valve, but I'll look closer tonight when I get home. And I'll try the test you suggested to see if the return line gets cold.
Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.
Very good. There needs to be a check valve to prevent the backflow. If there is not...get one installed. Let me know how you make out.
Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.
How did you make out with your test on the recirculating line?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Marc,

 

I ran the test and you are correct. The hot water return line gets cold when the shower is running. The return line has a pump on it, but I'm not sure about the valve you mentioned. I have a few pictures, is there a way to send them and have you comment on what's there or should I bring in a plummer to install or repair the valve?

Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.

Perfect! We are on the right track... as for the pictures, you can use the paperclip icon to post them on here for me to see.

This may be what your check valve looks like...

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hot Water Heater w/ Return line exposed #1
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think the valve is just to the right of the Red Pump in the picture I supplied. Let me know what you think. I'm suprised the cold water flows back past the pump.
Expert:  Marc replied 2 years ago.
that is correct. That is the check valve. I would replace it with a new swing check...which is what you have. As for the pump, water will take the path of least resistance, and the pump does not "push" enough to overcome the pressure when the faucet is opened.
Marc, Plumber
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 1411
Experience: Plumbing heating & home maintenance contractor
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