Why Is There No Hot Water In My Shower Single Handle Faucet?

While we usually turn to the water heater when there are hot water issues in our homes, it’s not always the culprit. This is typically the case when issues are isolated to sole fixtures in our homes, like the shower. So, if your single-handle shower faucet doesn’t seem to be getting any hot water (but has a steady stream of cold water), it could result from a few culprits.

Sometimes, the problem requires a quick and easy fix, but in others, you’ll need the help of a plumber. Before you cut to the chase and call a plumber, read through this guide. The fix might be easier than you think!

Why Is My Shower Not Getting Hot Water?

When your shower isn’t getting any hot water, one of 3 culprits is usually behind the issue. Some of these problems are easier to fix than others, but before you call a plumber, try these methods:

1) Water Heater Issues

Sometimes, the culprit behind the issue is the water heater itself. It might malfunction due to one reason or another, leading to a lack of hot water in your home. When the water heater is the culprit, the issue will be widespread, not isolated to your shower.

So, to check if this is the cause of the issue, check the water temperature in other taps throughout your home. If the water is cool in every fixture throughout your home, the problem lies with your water heater. However, if the hot water temperature in other taps throughout your home exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the problem lies within your shower.

How To Fix It

When your water heater goes on strike, you’ll notice issues with the taps throughout your entire house, as hot water will temporarily be a thing of the past. The problem causing the malfunctioning heater could be a leak in the tank, sediment buildup in the tank, a broken heating element, a broken gas valve, or a busted dip tube.

Since working with pressurized water heaters can be dangerous, it’s usually best to leave the troubleshooting and repair processes to the professionals.

2) Low-Temperature Setting

Delta Faucet Foundations Shower Valve Trim Kit, Shower Handle, Delta Shower Trim Kit, Chrome BT13010 (Valve Not Included)

Many single-handle shower fixtures feature a temperature limiter, which prevents the handle from turning too far and getting hot enough to scald you. The device puts a stop at a certain point in the rotation, creating a “maximum” temperature.

In some cases, this setting might be too low, causing your showers to feel lukewarm or cooler than you’d like. Luckily, repairing this issue is straightforward. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench (as necessary)
  • Towel
  • Wrench

How To Fix It

First, you need to turn off the water supply to the shower. Sometimes, there might be a water stop valve on the faucet itself. Use a large screwdriver to turn both valves off, turn the handle into the ON position, and drain the water from the lines.

If your faucet doesn’t have specific shut-off valves, there might be a control panel in a nearby closet. Or, if you can’t find one, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve.

Once the water is off, you’ll need to remove the faucet handle. Use the screwdriver to remove the plastic cap at the end of the faucet handle (if applicable). Once you remove it, set it aside. There should be a screw behind the cap, so use a Philips screwdriver to loosen it, then remove it and the handle.

You can remove the metal sleeve and backing plate with the handle out of the way. You’ll need to unscrew the screws in the backing plate, then set aside these parts for later. Note the proper orientation and order for later.

Some shower faucets require Allen wrenches to remove the set screw (common with lever handles), so use that to loosen the nut and set it aside. Now, you should see a plastic disk and sleeve. Slide both pieces out, pull the limit stop toward you and turn it to the left. This will adjust the hot water temperature to a new limit.

Once you adjust the handle, push it back to close and reinsert the limiter. Reassemble the faucet and turn the water back on. Check the water temperature – if it’s warmer but not hot enough, raise the temperature again. Or, if nothing changes, continue to the following method.

3) Faulty Cartridge

Moen 1222 One-Handle Posi-Temp Faucet Cartridge Replacement for Moen Tub Shower and Shower Only Configurations, Brass and Plastic

Some shower faucets don’t feature temperature limiters, so if that’s the case, check the cartridge. If the cartridge is full of debris, like grime or mineral deposits, it can hinder its function, causing a lack of hot water. Or, like any plumbing component, it can wear out after a time and become almost useless.

While you can try cleaning the cartridge, it might not fix the problem and is incredibly time-consuming. So, it might be better to replace the entire cartridge instead of tinkering with it. Of course, you can always try working with it to save money on buying a new cartridge, but be warned – it might not fix the problem.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Allen wrench (as necessary)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Towel
  • Wrench
  • Cartridge puller

Once you gather your tools, turn off the water supply again and drain residual water from the lines. Next, remove the faucet handle by popping off the cap and unthreading the set screw. Remove the temperature limiter; then, you should see the cartridge.

This is usually a round plastic piece fitted into the faucet body tucked inside the shower wall. Before removing the cartridge, take note of its orientation inside the faucet body, as it needs to be aligned to work. Remove the retaining clip securing the cartridge with a pair of needle-nose pliers. The cartridge can be hard to remove, so you can either use a cartridge puller or reattach the handle.

If you don’t have a cartridge puller, reattach the handle to the stem and carefully pull the cartridge out of the shower valve. Once you remove the cartridge, examine it for wear and tear. If everything looks okay, give it a good shake. While you’re shaking the cartridge, it should sound like shaking a spray can, which indicates the balance spool is still functioning correctly,

If you don’t hear anything, the balance spool may be jammed. While you can remedy this issue yourself, it can be tricky, so it’s usually easier to install a new cartridge.

You can buy new cartridges from the manufacturer of the faucet. Avoid mixing different brands for the cartridge, as only some cartridges are compatible with your shower. So, use the model number from your tap to find the correct replacement part from the manufacturer’s website.

Once you have the replacement (or clean the old cartridge), you can reinstall the cartridge in the faucet assembly. Insert the cartridge, ensuring it matches the correct orientation as before. Reinsert the retaining clip, then reattach the temperature limiter if it has one.

Retrace your steps to reinstall the faucet handle, turn the water supply back on, and check your handiwork.

Call A Plumber

Sometimes, the culprit might be more elusive than others, so pinpointing it is tricky. If you can’t seem to remedy the problem, despite your best efforts, it might be time to call a plumber. While this isn’t ideal, as it might take a few days before they can fit you into the schedule, it might be your best option.

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