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Last updated: 8th August, 2023


Why Is My Shower Cold & Not Getting Hot?

Why Is My Shower Cold & Not Getting Hot?

There’s nothing worse than expecting to have a nice warm shower… only to discover your water is in fact running cold.

In this article, we’ll be explaining some of the common reasons behind showers falling to get hot (going cold) and taking a look at some simple fixes you can try before calling out a plumber.

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Test Your Taps

To begin with, you should identify whether it’s just your shower that is failing to produce hot water or if there is an issue with the hot water throughout the house. To do this, switch on your hot water taps one at a time and check to see if they heat up.

If your taps become warm, you can be confident that the issue is with the shower system as opposed to your entire hot water system.

If your taps also stay cold, there could be a number of explanations as to why. First start out by checking the gas, electric and water supplies.

Whether you have a gas or electric boiler, you should double check that the energy supply is actually connected and in working order as well as making sure the water supply is still on. You’d be surprised by how easy it is to accidentally switch these off, so save yourself the hassle of calling out an engineer.

If everything seems to be connected and in working order, you might want to try resetting your boiler with the customer-operated reset switch to turn the power on and off again.

Should the issues continue further, there are a range of other areas that could be responsible including the thermostat, the clock and timer, a power cut, airlocks in the pipes, frozen pipes, low boiler pressure or leaks.

Check Your Boiler

As your boiler is responsible for supplying the warm water to your shower, it’s a good place to start when working out any issues with your water temperature. To begin with, double check that the water temperature has been set correctly. If your temperature is set too low, you’re only going to get cold water.

If you have an old heating system, you may find that your cold water drip tube is in poor condition, causing the cold water to go to the hot water pipe instead of the burner for heating. A tell-tale sign of a poor drip tube is if there are small bits of plastic in your tap aerator.

If you have an electric water heater, the issue may be caused by a worn down element that only provides hot water for a short period of time or not at all.

Check Your Shower Valve

The shower valve mixes hot and cold water to help you get the perfect temperature, however, sometimes some components such as the washers or O-rings can become worn down, reducing the effectiveness of the valve. If this is the case, you could be getting cold water even when the valve is turned to ‘hot’.

Normally, this can be repaired or replaced quite easily or you can attempt to fix it yourself but sourcing the necessary replacement parts online or from your local DIY shop.

Take a Look at Your Cross Connected Pipes

If you have an older property, you may have cross connected pipes which were fitted to balance out the flow of hot and cold water. Modern shower valves render cross connected pipes useless, so if you have a mixing valve you can skip this information.

If you still use cross connected pipes and you notice a difference shower outlet such as a hand shower heating up when the main shower head is switched off, then your issue is likely to do with cross connected pipes. In this case, the best solution is to call out a professional plumber to carry out any repairs to the pipework.

Plan Your Showers or Switch Boiler Type

Sometimes if you live in a busy household and use a regular boiler system (as opposed to a combi boiler), it might just be the case that your other household members have used up all the hot water.

Not only can other people impact the amount of hot water available to you but other appliances can use up your hot water resources too. For example, if you decide to go for a shower right after the washing machine has finished a round of laundry you may find that your shower is cold.

This is because with a regular boiler, the hot water is stored in a tank and once it’s used up you’ll usually have to wait around 30 minutes before trying to have your shower to allow it to fill back up again.

If other people or appliances using up all of your hot water is a common issue in your household, you may wish to switch to a combi boiler instead. Unlike regular boiler systems, combi boilers work by producing hot water on demand as they combine a water heating system and a central heating unit into a single body to produce hot water instantly- hence the name ‘combi’ or ‘combination’ boiler.

Whilst you might be unable to have two showers/appliances running at the same time (depending on your water flow rate), you won’t need to wait 30 minutes for the water tank to refill itself when it does come time for your shower.

At iHeat, we install brand new A-rated efficient boilers that could potentially save you up to £380 on your energy bills each year according to the Energy Saving Trust. Get a free, fixed quote on a brand new combi today and have it installed as soon as tomorrow!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a shower that is too cold?

If your shower is too cold, start by checking the water heater settings. Ensure it's set to an appropriate temperature. Additionally, inspect the shower valve for any faults, and test the water heater for proper functioning using a multimeter. Moreover, examine the dip tube, which may have worn out and needs replacement.

Why is my shower not getting hot?

A shower may not get hot if there's an issue with the gas, electric, or water supply. Check that the energy supply is connected and working and that the water supply is on. If the water heater burner is faulty, it may cause the hot water to cool quickly, affecting the water temperature.

What to do if your shower water won't get hot?

If your shower water won't get hot, first check the temperature of your water heater and adjust it as needed. Next, check the water tank for any issues and examine other faucets in your home to see if the problem is isolated or widespread. Inspect the shower valve, and replace damaged parts if necessary.

Why is my shower only running cold water?

If your shower is only running cold water, it might be because of insufficient hot water supply, incorrect water heater settings, or a malfunctioning shower valve. Inspect your hot water system, water heater settings, and shower valve to determine and resolve the problem.

Why am I getting hot water everywhere but the shower?

This issue might occur due to a damaged shower valve, which regulates the water temperature. Examine the shower valve and replace it if needed. However, if other faucets are also affected, the problem may lie with the water heater or plumbing system.

Why does my electric shower produce only cold water?

An electric shower may produce only cold water if there's a problem with the unit's heating element or a blown fuse. Troubleshoot these components by testing the heating element's connections using a multimeter and replacing any damaged parts. Additionally, ensure the fuse is intact and functioning properly.

Why does my shower turn cold after a few minutes?

If your shower turns cold after a few minutes, it could be due to an insufficient supply of hot water, sediment build-up in the water heater, or a broken dip tube. Address these issues by cleaning the water heater, checking the hot water supply, and replacing the dip tube if required.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.