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    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Feb 28, 2007, 09:43 AM
    New water heater, hot water in shower only lasts 3 minutes
    I have been in this apartment 6 months and have never been able to have a warm shower longer than 3 minutes. I told my landlord and he replaced the water heater. But that didn't solve the problem. So he had a plumber come over and the plumber said maybe the water heater was defective. But then he said he was able to fill the bathtub before the hot water ran out so there is no problem with the water heater. What else could it be? My landlord doesn't respond to my emails, calls, or letters about this now. I'm assuming he is not going to fix the problem so I thought maybe I could do it myself or hire my own plumber to do it. I would give anything for a 5 minute shower!
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #2

    Feb 28, 2007, 10:42 AM
    Do not replace the heater on your own. Can you raise the heater temperature? Under a plate screwed to the side of the tank you should find an adjustable thermostat, sometimes there isn't even a plate. Set the temp to the hotter side of hot. Be careful the first time your use the shower after this change. You would be safer to let the water run without getting into the shower.
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #3

    Feb 28, 2007, 10:51 AM
    The water heater was already replaced and I still do not get more than 3 minutes of hot water in the shower. I did try turning the temperature up on it but that didn't help either.

    The shower has 3 different knobs- I don't know if that helps...
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #4

    Feb 28, 2007, 12:13 PM
    I meant you should not replace or reair yourself as a response to your "...I'm assuming he is not going to fix the problem so I thought maybe I could do it myself or hire my own plumber to do it. I would give anything for a 5 minute shower!" raising the temp should have made some difference? Three knobs; hot, cold and what?
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #5

    Feb 28, 2007, 12:43 PM
    We are talking a standard 30 gallon or larger tank? It is set for at least 120 degrees? Run the water until it gets cold. Go to the heater and drain some water out the drain in the bottom. If it is hot, some dip messed up the dip tube. There are ways of doing that. Hot water heaters have a plastic tube in the inlet that runs the incoming cold water to the bottom pushing the hot water on top out the outlet. Without it, the incoming cold water goes across the top and right out to your shower.

    It should be an easy fix, remove the cold water line and insert a new tube. Being a rental, perhaps post to the forum on rentals before doing it yourself.

    Was the plumber a real plumber?
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Feb 28, 2007, 01:25 PM
    It is a 40 gallon water heater. Yes, the plumber was a real plumber. :) He was the one who replaced the water heater after my first complaint of not enough hot water in the shower. Then I told him that I still wasn't getting more than 3 min hot water in the shower. He said it might be the dip tube but then he was able to fill the bathtub up before the water ran cool so he said the problem has nothing to do with the water heater. The 3 knobs are hot, cold, and the middle knob turns the showerhead on. I can only turn the cold side on just a little bit (if at all) or the water will only run cold even if I have the hot side turn on all the way. I have tried turning the temp on the water heater up nearly as high as it could go and that didn't make my hot water last any longer. It did make the water hotter at first, but as always the shower ran only ice cold water after 3 minutes.
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #7

    Feb 28, 2007, 01:31 PM
    There should not be any problem with a dip tube on a new heater unless he screwed it up. All though you say he was a plumber, it doesn't sound like he knows what is going on. The odd thing here is that you say he filled the tub with hot water without a problem. You should be able to get the same volume of water through the shower head. Someone else out there might see something we are all missing.
    doug238's Avatar
    doug238 Posts: 1,560, Reputation: 62
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    #8

    Feb 28, 2007, 07:45 PM
    Sounds like a loose washer problem. As the plumber was filling the tub he had the hot side full open. As you are taking a shower you may have the hot partially open. As heat passes over that washer some washers expand. Try turning the hot on a bit more when it turns cold during the shower. If this works, have the landlord see what is happening so he can have the tub valve repaired.
    letmetellu's Avatar
    letmetellu Posts: 3,151, Reputation: 317
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    #9

    Feb 28, 2007, 09:43 PM
    Turn on the hot water tap only, turn the middle handle to make the water go to the shower head, oh just to be sure do not do this with someone in the shower. Use a timer and time how long it takes for the water to get cool. Most shower heads are 3 gallons a minute heads therefore you should get around twelve minutes of extremely hot water before it get cool. Just a thought and a place to start.
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #10

    Mar 1, 2007, 08:59 AM
    I will try these suggestions when I get home... the water from the shower head does flow really fast. Could a 40 gallon water heater empty in 3 minutes with a high flow shower head?
    ballengerb1's Avatar
    ballengerb1 Posts: 27,379, Reputation: 2280
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    #11

    Mar 1, 2007, 09:30 AM
    Hard to answer because how high is high but yes it can drain your tank in less than 10 minutes. There are many low volume heads out there, maybe time to try one. I have a low volume head and the efficiency is great.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #12

    Mar 1, 2007, 11:08 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by lnz
    I will try these suggestions when I get home.....the water from the shower head does flow really fast. Could a 40 gallon water heater empty in 3 minutes with a high flow shower head?
    That is 13.3 gallons a minute. I wonder if the drain would take it?
    40 gallons of hot water should last 10 minutes at 4 gallons a minute. Longer if you are using partly cold. That is why I suggested checking the drain valve. Water heaters last longer if you occasionally run water out it. Tom frequently gives good instructions on it. If the water in the bottom is hot, and you only get cold in the shower and everywhere else, the dip tube is bad. If you get hot water elsewhere after the shower goes cold, follow Doug's idea of the loose washer. I thought the newer stuff all had cartridges, but maybe not. If it isn't too old and corroded, it is easy to pull the stem. Shut the water off, and for most 3 knob styles, pry the cap off, unscrew the screw, remove the knob, and unscrew the nut holding the insides. Inspect, clean, repair/replace. A good hardware will have cartridges to fit most brands and somebody to help you match the old one. I never go to Lowe's for stuff like that.
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Mar 2, 2007, 09:04 AM
    Well I attempted to remove the knobs but they are to old and corroded. I was able to fill up the bathtub with the shower head before the water ran cool. But the bathtub filled up in about 3 minutes... so I think what I'm going to do is install a low-flow shower head and maybe this will give me a couple more minutes of warm water in the shower. I have gone six months with short showers so I guess I can go 6 more. Then my lease will be up and I can move out of this place! It's an older buiding. Maybe built sometime in the 60s. The landlord does not take care of things and it's falling apart quickly. I just glad in 6 months it will no longer be my problem. Thanks for all of your suggestions.
    doug238's Avatar
    doug238 Posts: 1,560, Reputation: 62
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    #14

    Mar 2, 2007, 09:19 AM
    One of the things about older plumbing was that you got lots of volume. In the new showers it seems like you got to run around in the shower if you want to get wet. Flow restrictions are good but a strong shower feels great. If you filled your tub in 3 minutes from a shower head you either got a small tub or a huge shower head on a very old shower valve. I am hesitant to believe a standard tub can even be filled in 3 minutes by any shower head.
    labman's Avatar
    labman Posts: 10,580, Reputation: 551
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    #15

    Mar 2, 2007, 09:19 AM
    You did verify you can get hot water elsewhere when the shower goes cold?

    I hated renting and was glad to get into a house. There are ways of getting old stuff apart, but I resent doing what I am paying somebody else for.
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #16

    Mar 2, 2007, 09:53 AM
    I don't think my tub is smaller than normal sized tubs. I do love a good high pressure shower head but honestly this one is too much. If I turn the shower on all the way the water sprays so hard it hurts and water ends up all over the bathroom floor. I don't want a shower head that will produce only a trickle of water- just a normal flowing one that might give me an extra minute or two so I don't have to rinse my hair in ice cold water. :)

    By the way- is there a good way to try and unscrew an old corroded screw without damaging the head?
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #17

    Mar 2, 2007, 09:53 AM
    Oh- no, I do not get hot water anywhere else when the shower goes cold.
    doug238's Avatar
    doug238 Posts: 1,560, Reputation: 62
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    #18

    Mar 2, 2007, 02:38 PM
    On some of the older showers the arm is easily removed, some are not, some break in the wall. There is a tool to use if that happens. On some shower arms you can simply unscrew the head, on some the head has a ball on it and the whole shower arm must be replaced.
    I would get a personal shower with a hose that has 3 settings.
    lnz's Avatar
    lnz Posts: 8, Reputation: 1
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    #19

    Mar 2, 2007, 02:46 PM
    Yes, mine is the kind of shower arm with the ball on the end. I thought I'd just get an adapter instead of replacing the whole shower arm. I didn't want to risk it breaking off in the wall. They do make adapters for this sort of thing, right?
    doug238's Avatar
    doug238 Posts: 1,560, Reputation: 62
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    #20

    Mar 2, 2007, 02:52 PM
    [smilez]
    I don't like those ball arms, I get rid of them [personal opinion]
    It is most likely [but not garranteed] that you can unscrew the arm and replace the arm and the head. I am not aware of adapters, there may be.

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