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Old 12-09-2023, 01:47 PM   #1
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1995 30' Cutter Bus LE
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Hot water mystery

I can't figure this one out. Any help will be appreciated.

Yesterday we discovered we had no hot water at the galley or bathroom sinks. The water heater was running normally, but no hot water.

We checked everywhere for leaks and found none.

When we checked the shower, we found that Deb forgot to turn the shower faucet off, but turned the water off with the little button on the shower head.

When we turned off the shower faucet, we once again had hot water at the galley and the bathroom sinks.

Why?

The shower faucet is the single handle type.
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Old 12-09-2023, 01:54 PM   #2
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Water yakes the path of least resistance. Insttead of pulling hot water out of the water heater, it was getting it's "hot" water from the shower faucet which was open.
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Old 12-09-2023, 02:14 PM   #3
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Richard, you need to explain this to me. The shower head turn off is no different than any other "faucet" in the trailer. Having the shower head turned off is like turning off both the hot and cold faucets in the bathroom. How can the kitchen sink "draw" from the shower sprayer?
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Old 12-09-2023, 02:37 PM   #4
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The button on the shower head is not like turning off both hot and cold water. They are both open and water can flow from one to the other.
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Old 12-09-2023, 04:20 PM   #5
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The same thing will occur if you forget to turn the faucets Off at the outdoor shower. Cold water will pass thru the shower faucet to the hot side of that shower faucet and back-flow to the galley sink…feeding the higher pressure cold water to the hot-side of the galley faucet.

This occurred to a new house remodel I know of. My BIL retired from the home remodeling business. One day he rec’d a call from a former customer who was frustrated that their house, having added a new bathroom to one of the guest bedrooms, acted strangely ….in that SOME days they had hot water in the main house… other times NO hot water at the main house…. and at times, wildly swinging water temperatures at the main house. They simply could not figure this out. The remodeler they used couldn’t either.
They called two different plumbers who also could not find the issue…and the former customer called my BIL because they’d always had such good results with him before he retired.

BIL goes over to their house and when he learned they’d had an additional bath installed in the guest bedroom…he went to that shower and discovered that new shower did not have a “cartridge” installed inside that faucet. (The new bath installer had left the factory “pressure-test” device installed…which is an open connection from cold/hot sides of the faucet…intended only for pressure-testing the entire system for leaks.

What occurs is: The cold water has less resistance to flowing because it does not have the additional equipment resistance of a water heater…. so with any faucet in the house is opened…. only cold water will flow… UNLESS another cold faucet in the house is ALSO open…. which results in lowered COLD pressure….and THEN warm water would be dispensed.

My BIL installed the correct cartridge in the distant new bath and VOILA! everything works as desired.
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Old 12-09-2023, 04:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
The button on the shower head is not like turning off both hot and cold water. They are both open and water can flow from one to the other.

Not attempting to beat this dead horse any longer but......I understand how the shower head operates but I question the part about how the cold water and the hot water can flow from one to the other. Lets say, for the sake of further argument, you are boondocking and using your water pump. With hot water working, you get hot water at your faucet when you open the faucet. Water, under pressure, flows out of the hot water spigot and is replaced by cold water from your tank via the pump. The water "flows" from the cold water tank, into the hot water tank and exits via the sink drain. Nowhere have I ever heard that cold water will "flow" from your cold water line (which is past the pump) and into your hot water line.



Perhaps someone else can chime in and explain this concept to me. I wish I could offer a better explanation as to why you didn't have hot water until you turned off the shower head. When our shower is in use, you can still get hot water at the other faucets, just not a lot of pressure but hot water comes out. Same thing happens when we shut off the shower at the wand to soap up before finishing showering. Still get both hot and cold water at the other faucets.
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Old 12-09-2023, 04:37 PM   #7
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Thanks Boxite, never really had to face such a dilemma. I am still struggling with the concept though. Perhaps I will have to try this out as a test on my 25FB.
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Old 12-10-2023, 11:27 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the explanation of what was happening

Mystery Solved!
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:40 PM   #9
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aftermath,


Let me take a crack at explaining this.


When you take a shower, you adjust the valve to give you the right mix of hot and cold. In that state, you have partial openings from both hot and cold, and a full opening to the showerhead. If you close off the shower head, you still have partial openings to the hot and cold. So the hot and cold are tied together at the shower valve. Water will flow in one side and out the other, depending on which side has more pressure. In a trailer like mine, the shower is only about a foot from the pump. The round trip through the water heater is about ten feet. So the cold side would normally have more pressure and push some water down the hot pipe going backwards.



By the way, on my 2013 trailer, the shower handle shutoff does not let you fully shut off the water; it is made so there is always a dribble. That prevents the mistake of shutting off at the head and leaving it that way.
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:23 AM   #10
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SSquared, thanks for this. My problem was assuming that the trailer water system was under the same pressure like my home system is. With equal pressure, I doubt the hot water could "draw from" the cold water side. Your explanation makes sense.
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Old 12-11-2023, 09:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
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SSquared, thanks for this. My problem was assuming that the trailer water system was under the same pressure like my home system is. With equal pressure, I doubt the hot water could "draw from" the cold water side. Your explanation makes sense.
Actually, your “home” system is not under equal pressure once you open any faucet valve anywhere in the system. By design, each faucet “reduces” the resistance in its’ mechanism to allow the water to take that “easier” exit thru the outlet. This changes the pressure upstream from that faucet…. (and explains why, when you are standing in the shower and someone opens the nearby sink faucet..you get a shot of Hot or Cold in the shower.
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