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 Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: Anonymous User

We live in a six year old apartment complex, where the maintenance guy should fix things like this, but he has exactly one year of experience in maintenance in general, which plumbing is only a small part of. If I can tell him what to do, he'll probably do it, though.

When we first moved in in November, the hot water would work everywhere, except in the bath/shower. It would be hot for a while (30 seconds to 5 minutes, depending on how cold it was outside), then it would go cold (this temperature varied). If we turned on any faucet while the water in the shower was cold, they would still be hot.

We noticed that it worked when the dishwasher, washing machine, or heat was on (the heat works from the water heater, somehow). He came and drained it a few times, until I called the corporate office and complained. They responded by replacing the water heater with a new one.

With a new water heater, it seemed to work better for a while (the rest of the winter, basically), but it stopped working as well when the heat wasn't on all the time. Now, the water in the shower gets cold pretty fast again (about the same rate), but running the dishwasher or the washing machine won't help anymore, and neither will turning the heat on (even though it's warm).

Now, when I run the water in the shower/bath, it will work for about 30 seconds, to 5 or so minutes, (it's as hot as it should be, depending on how we adjust the heat) then it will start cooling down. If I shut it off and wait for a bit before turning it back on, it will be hot again for a shorter period of time (10-15 seconds), then get cold again. When it's cold, every other faucet in the house is also cold.

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: dlh (TX)

it sounds like your balancing spool isnt working properly

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: Anonymous User

Where is the balancing spool found?

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: hj (AZ)

Inside the shower valve, but when it doesn't work properly, you usually only get hot OR cold water, very seldom warm, nor does it fluctuate. Without actually seeing your building and doing my own tests, I cannot tell you which of several possibilities you have.

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: Anonymous User

I guess I have to insist on a real plumber to come fix it then, rather than the maintenance guy who admitted he doesn't know much about anything.

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: RWP (SD)

If there is a recirculating system on the hot water the check valve could be bad. This is a system that has a thermostatic controlled circulating pump to keep hot water in the piping at all times. The check valve only allows on way circulation. If it is bad then cold water can and does reverse flow and thus you get cold water out of the hot water faucet. It will happen even with the pump working.

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Retired after 50 years of plumbing and heating.

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: Wheelchair (IL)

Do you have a single handle shower valve or separate handles for Hot n Cold?
Best Wishes

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 Re: Shower has hot water, then it turns cold really fast.
Author: hj (AZ)

In some mulitfamily buildings, the cause of your problem could be in one of the other units, which is why you need an "expert" who can diagnose the symptoms.

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