My house has 3.5 bathrooms, one in the basement, the half directly above that and another directly above the half bath. The final full bathroom is in a different area of the house and is on a different line. The problem I am having involves the shower/bath tub in the bathroom in the basement. My father installed this bathroom about 15 years ago when he added an apartment in the basement. For 13 years there was not a single problem with this bathroom. Roughly two years ago something changed, the shower no longer puts out hot water after the first minute or two. For the past two years I have dealt with walking up to the top floor to bathe and returning to the basement to dress and it is getting rather annoying.
The setup in the shower has three knobs, one hot, one cold, and one in the center to move the water from the faucet to the shower head. We have an oil burner to heat the water for heating the house and heating water to be used at faucets. We used to use well water to supply the house but changed over to “city water” a few years ago.
Turning on just hot water or a mix always ends up with the same result, cold water within 2 minutes. The other two bathrooms on this line don’t experience this problem at all, nor does the sink in the same bathroom. Lately though the sink in the basement bathroom has started to whine and eventually the pipe starts hitting something and making some loud banging noises when using only hot water or a mix of mostly hot water. When a little more cold water is added the noise stops briefly. I don’t know if that’s a related issue, but I figured its better to provide the info.
I guess my question is, What could be causing this one shower to not produce hot water while everything else has no trouble with this? And How can I fix it?
First of all, thank you for your well laid out question. This issue that you have described is quite interesting given the set of facts and information you have provided. One truth that cannot be dismissed is that the bathroom shower in your basement worked properly with out fail for many years, strongly supporting the conclusion that the current problem is not an inherent structural issue. It is also interesting the you indicated that this problem first cropped up a couple of years ago which is around the same time you said that you switched your main water source from on site well water to city service. Though further diagnostics would be needed, one consideration is to evaluate water pressure of the current water supply coming into your home. If you had the water pressure metrics from when the home was on your local well, then the comparison might lend some clues as to the source of the problem. Obviously, moving water through the home takes time, and with a under pressured system, it can take additional time for warm/hot water to reach is intended destination. This, along with any blockages in the line (i.e. you noted there are some odd noises coming from your pipes) is one key area of investigation and takes into account for the speed of movement of the water throughout the home
Another consideration is to evaluate the source of what heats the water, in this case, your “oil burner”. Again, knowing more about how this burner has functioned in heating the water in the past as compared to the present would be very helpful information and could also potentially lead you to the appropriate conclusion.