There's No Cold Water in My Shower, Only Hot

Shower Temperature dial
If there’s anything worse than a cold shower, it’s one that is scalding hot! If your shower only sprays hot water, no matter how hard you turn the handle, it’s time to investigate the inner workings of your shower. No cold water in the shower may indicate defective parts within the shower faucet. If you have a single-lever control in your shower, you likely need to replace the cartridge that houses the pressure-balancing valve.

If that sounds like an overwhelming task, worry not because the friendly team at Mr. Rooter® Plumbing is here to walk you through the replacement process. Plus, the team is always available if you’d rather save yourself the hassle by letting the pros handle the job.

Why Is There No Cold Water in My Shower?

First things first, it’s important to get to the source of the problem by determining whether the issue is only in one shower. If no cold water is a widespread issue throughout the home, it’s possible a shutoff valve in the main water supply line may have been turned off accidentally. If that’s the case, you can simply turn the valve back on and get back to showers as normal.

However, if you determine other faucets in the home do have cold water, the issue is likely a defective pressure-balancing valve and you will either need to replace the valve cartridge yourself or call a professional plumber to get the job done.

Why Is My Pressure-Balancing Valve Malfunctioning?

A faucet’s pressure-balancing valve serves two purposes:

  1. To regulate the water pressure
  2. To regulate the ratio of hot and cold water flowing from the faucet or showerhead

As time goes by, mineral buildup or corrosion can inhibit the effectiveness of the cartridge. This is especially a problem if the shower isn’t in use on a regular basis. The process of replacing the valve cartridge is not overly difficult; however, it does involve disassembling the faucet. For many DIYers, the hardest part of the job is removing the old cartridge. The good news is, at any point in the process, you can always call on the experts at Mr. Rooter if you’d rather let trained technicians take the job from here.

What You Need to Replace a Shower Cartridge

Before you begin the removal and installation of the shower cartridge, you will need to buy a new one at your nearby hardware store. It’s important to choose the right style to get a good fit. Bring the old cartridge with you to the store to get the perfect replacement piece. While at the store, you will also need to purchase a cartridge puller, unless you have one already.

The tools you need for the replacement job include:

  • Phillips and flathead screwdriver
  • Cartridge puller
  • Allen wrenches
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Plumber’s grease or silicone
  • Locking pliers

10 Steps for Replacing a Failed Shower Cartridge

  1. Shut off the water supply to the shower.
  2. Cover the drain in the shower with a cloth to block it completely, which will prevent small components from falling into the drain as you work.
  3. Remove the shower handle and any metal covers by removing the screws. Hold the handle in place and lift it off the stem; you may need to tap on the handle to encourage it to come off.
  4. Snap a photo of the internal parts of the faucet to provide a quick reference during the reassembly process.
  5. Remove all parts inside the faucet structure.
  6. Dissolve any existing build-up with a commercial cleaning solution.
  7. Use the needle-nose pliers to pull out the retainer clip.
  8. Use the cartridge puller to remove the cartridge.
  9. Install the new cartridge using the plumber’s grease or silicone product.
  10. Reinstall all faucet parts including the valve stem and retainer clip, looking back on the photo you took to guide you.

Once you’ve installed a new shower cartridge, it’s time to turn on the water supply and test it out to ensure you are getting the balanced ratio of hot and cold water you desire.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Reach Out to Mr. Rooter Plumbing

Many homeowners would rather find a professional plumbing service to take care of the shower cartridge replacement for them. If you agree or if you have other bathroom plumbing concerns, our trusted, local experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing are here to help. Call to speak to one of our technicians or request an estimate online.

Are you struggling to keep your shower doors clean? Our friends at Glass Doctor can help. And because they are part of the Neighbourly family of home services, you know you can rely on them for great advice that works.