At this time of year, hot showers are valued and many homeowners change the temperature of their hot water heater to reflect their desire for warmth. Still, some homeowners find it difficult to find the perfect equilibrium in their hot water heater, and the result is a shower or bath that runs too hot or too cold. Other baths and showers simply run too hot or cold, regardless of the hot water heater temperature. There are several options for solving this problem.
It’s possible your shower runs hot or cold because you just haven’t found the right temperature setting for your hot water heater. In general, 120 degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be the magic number for hot water heaters. This temperature is warm enough to stem the growth of bacteria in the hot water heater, and also warm enough to reach a perfect hot temperature in your shower.
In homes with young children or elderly occupants, 120 degrees may be too hot. Homeowners living with young children or elderly relatives should consult with a physician before changing the temperature on the water heater.
On some hot water heaters, adjusting the temperature is as easy as turning a dial. However, on other hot water heaters the temperature setting is hidden behind a panel. Follow these steps to remove the panel and adjust the temperature in your hot water heater to a toasty 120 degrees.
The mixture of hot water and cold water available in a shower or tub can be adjusted at the shower valve stem, the part found under the faucet. The exact process for adjusting the hot and cold water will depend on the type of faucet in your shower or tub, but the general idea is as follows:
There are several videos on YouTube that document this process. We’ve posted one below:
For more information for your specific faucet, look in the manual that came with your faucet. If you don’t have the manual (many people don’t), you can likely find directions or a video online by typing the model of your faucet into a search engine along with the keywords “adjusting rotational stop limit.”
In addition to the YouTube videos above, there are several online resources that may help you adjust the hot and cold water in your shower or tub. Here are a few:
Note that if you’re installing a new faucet, the rotational stop limit may be at the coolest setting for liability reasons.
When in doubt, you can always contact a plumber to help you adjust your shower’s hot and cold settings. Residents of the Pittsburgh area can call Terry’s Plumbing. We’re happy to make any necessary adjustments to your faucets or water heater.