How To Make Shower Water Hotter (5 Step Guide)

Last Updated On May 26, 2022
how to make shower water hotter

Do you want to increase your shower’s water temperature? A hot shower is a luxury that many of us take for granted until we are stuck with a cold shower.

After all, the history of the water heater is not all that old. Can you imagine unwinding after a long day in cold water!? Not us.

We provide a step-by-step guide on how to get your shower’s water temperature hotter. 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What you need to know about making your shower water hotter
  • Supplies you’ll need to make your shower water hotter
  • Step-by-step guide on how to make your shower water hotter

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need To Know About Making Your Shower Water Hotter

      Most water heaters are set to 120° F, but many of them can reach as high as 140° F. Anything higher leaves your family at risk of scalding, so you never want to exceed 140° F

      The first thing you need to consider is whether you want to increase the water to your entire home or just the shower. 

      If you want to change the water temperature for your entire home, you will change the water temperature settings on your water heater. 

      If you have an electric water heater or a gas water heater with an electric ignition, the unit probably comes with a digital control panel. A gas water heater with a pilot light ignition will likely have analog controls. That said, there are some fancy new gas water heaters that are pretty smart.

      Learn more by reading our guide on how to adjust the temperature of your water heater

      However, you may want to adjust the temperature to one shower in particular. In that case, you will address the situation at the shower itself instead of your water heater. 

      Why Isn’t My Shower Getting Hot Water?

      There are a number of reasons why your shower may not be getting the hot water you want from it. 

      One of the main reasons is that your traditional water heater isn’t large enough for your home’s needs. A standard water heater heats a certain amount of water in a tank, usually 40 gallons, 50 gallons, 80 gallons, or 100 gallons. 

      A tankless water heater works based on how much water you demand at a particular time in gallons per minute (GPM). You will size a standard water heater differently than a tankless water heater. 

      The water heater may be the right size. However, if you don’t have the water heater connected to the shower correctly or a component, such as the heating element, is broken, you may also experience a lack of hot water coming to the shower. 

      In some cases, you get hot water but not enough hot water. The water heater may be set to a low setting under 120°. Sometimes, your shower’s scald guard works too well and needs an adjustment. Another hack is simply installing a water heater blanket if yours is located in a garage, basement, or attic.

      Of course, if you have a large family and are showing back-to-back, it’s going to take some time to recover even if things are in good working order.

      Now that we’ve covered a range of possible causes behind a cold shower, let’s discuss some common steps to help make your shower water hotter.

      did you know how to make shower water hotter

      Supplies You’ll Need To Make Your Shower Water Hotter

      Thermometer

      Naturally, you’ll need a thermometer to verify the temperature of your shower’s water. 

      You will need a portable thermometer that can withstand temperatures up to 140° F. 

      Basic Tools

      It’s best to have a basic tool kit handy that includes a variety of screwdrivers, hex keys, and other tools to help you accomplish your task of increasing the water coming from your shower. 

      How To Make Shower Water Hotter (5 Steps)

      Step 1: Take Temperature of Water

      Start by taking the temperature of the water coming from your shower as well as the water pressure. 

      Ideally, the temperature matches your hot water heater settings. 

      When you test the water temperature coming from your shower, you should check the water temperature at other parts of your home as well. 

      If the water temperature is colder throughout your house as compared to the setting at your water heater, start by testing the thermostat to rule this out.

      Step 2:  Adjust Mixing Valve/Scald Guard

      Most shower systems have a scald guard that allows you to make adjustments to the water temperature at the fixture itself instead of at your water heater. 

      Scald guards, as the name suggests, are put in place to prevent your shower from getting too hot. However, some of us like to feel a little burn on our skin in the shower. 

      The shower guard location and how to adjust it varies from brand to brand. However, you can usually access them by removing the shower’s handle using a screwdriver. You may need a hex key to adjust the scald guard. 

      CAUTION: BE CAREFUL WHEN ADJUSTING THE SCALD GUARD AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURE SPECIFICATIONS.

      Step 3: Deep Clean Showerhead and Handle 

      Sometimes, dirty components can cause a shower head to produce water at a lower temperature than it should. 

      Take this time to completely clean the different components of your shower handle by cleaning them with vinegar and baking soda

      Step 4: Perform Water Heater Maintenance 

      While you’re at it, it’s a good time to perform standard water heater maintenance that will ensure that water gets to your fixtures at the temperature you set, assuming your thermostat tested out fine.

      Some basic water heater maintenance includes:

      This can be part of your preventative or routine plumbing schedule to ensure that hot water reaches your shower. This way your shower temperature will match the thermostat setting on your water heater.

      See this post for tankless maintenance tips.

      Step 5: Check Water Temperature Again

      At this time, you should check the temperature again in the shower. 

      Ideally, it’s higher than it was when you first checked it. 

      Remember that if you have a tankless water heater, you will get hot water on demand. Results should be instantly noticed.

      However, if you have a tank-style water heater, you will need to wait for the water to heat up before checking the temperature. Give this at least 5 minutes assuming nothing else is using hot water at the time of your test.

      If you get intermittent or inconsistent readings, it might be a sign your water heater is going out

      Also to note, the hotter the shower the more your shower curtain may blow in if you use one. Heat affects air movement, which is the science behind this phenomenon. All said, most people will overlook this small sacrifice in exchange for a more satisfying shower.

      FAQs For How To Make Shower Water Hotter

      Why is the water in my shower not hot enough?

      One of the main reasons that you may not experience hot water is that you don’t have a large enough water heater. However, you may also have a faulty scald guard, which you can adjust yourself. 

      How do I increase the hot water temperature in my shower?

      You can increase the hot temperature of your shower by increasing the temperature of the water coming from your water heater from 120° F to 140° F.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about "all things plumbing," helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

      About Plumbing Navigator

      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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