Shower Not Hot Enough? How to Troubleshoot The Problem

April 08, 2015

If you can barely get through a shower because the water never gets hot enough, this article is for you.

We’ve put together a series of questions that can help you find the possible causes of this annoying problem.

Let’s start with...

How is the hot water in the rest of your home?

Check your other faucets, baths and showers. Do you get good hot water everywhere else?

Hint: To check the temperature of your hot water, fill a cup of water from the faucet and place a candy or meat thermometer in the cup.

If the shower is the only place you’re having a hot water problem, possible causes could include:

  • A problem with the shower valve. The shower valve could be malfunctioning and is letting in an incorrect amount of hot water.

  • The shower is farther away from the water heater. If the shower is on the opposite side of the house as the water heater, the water could be cooling too much by the time it gets to the shower. Try raising the thermostat temperature on your water heater.


If the whole home is having hot water issues, keep reading.

Has your water heater been regularly maintained?

Manufacturers recommend flushing your water heater yearly.

If you’ve ignored this routine maintenance, a buildup of mineralCR deposits (calcium and magnesium) on the bottom of your tank could be the problem. This buildup of minerals can reduce the water heater’s ability to heat your water. And it also can increase your energy costs.

If the problem with hot water in your shower has been getting gradually worse, this is the likely culprit.

Which brings us to…

Did this just start happening or has it always been happening?

Have you been experiencing this annoying problem for as long as you can remember, or did it just start?

If it just started, it’s a sign that something recently changed. That could mean:

  • A broken dip tube — This is the part that shoots incoming cold water to the bottom of the water heater tank where the heating element is. If the dip tube is broken, your water heater can’t heat the water well.
  • A malfunctioning heating element — The heating element is what heats the water. 

  • A change in the thermostat setting — Did someone recently lower the water heater’s temperature? If so, try putting it back where it was and see if that solves the problem. The temperature should be around 125 to 140 degrees. Any lower than 125 and you risk Legionella bacteria multiplying in your water.


If this has been a long-standing problem, it could still be one of the above issues.

But it could also indicate problems with plumbing, a water heater that’s too small or other, larger problems that are best diagnosed in person.

Do you live in the Kansas City area?

If so, we can check this problem out for you. Contact Santa Fe Air for help.


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