Cooling And Heating
Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
Stay Updated with Expert Tips!
Love our DIY guides and solutions for common household problems? Get expert advice, tips, and exclusive offers in our newsletter. From garden hacks to home maintenance and special deals, we've got it all. Join our growing community now!
If you have hot water downstairs but not upstairs, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is it's likely an easy fix. The bad news is if it's not solved by the easy fix it's likely going to cost a few pounds to get fixed. Now we're going to tackle the issue to get your hot water flowing everywhere in your home. No more cold showers for you!
The most common causes for hot water downstairs but not upstairs are the valves, corrosion in your pipes, and distance from the water heater.
Let's get into it, shall we?
Read Next: Hot water tank not heating? Here's why.
Let's begin by taking a look at the easier fixes before we get into the spendy stuff, yeah? After all, there's no sense in making big fixes when a ten-second one does the trick, right?
This is an often overlooked cause of hot water only coming to one section of the house. It's common practise with most plumbers to install a valve (like the ball valve pictured above) in water lines leading to bathrooms. This allows them to turn off the water to a single part of the building and make repairs more easily than if they had to turn off the water to the whole home.
Sometimes they get bumped by accident, leading to the hot water either turning off or being less readily available. To check if this is the issue, you only have to do a couple of easy things:
Read Next: How to fix your hot water when it runs cold.
Another potential cause of a lack of hot water is a temperature-regulating faucet. While they're not super common, this is a possibility to look out for. Newer homes (and renovated old homes) both make use of these - it's essentially a stop-gap measure designed to prevent a faucet from getting so hot it can burn you.
To see if you have one (or adjust it), do the following:
This is something that a lot of people don't consider. In order for you to get hot water anywhere in your house, the water needs to travel through pipes. If you only have a single water heater and a large house, it's very likely that the water is just cooling before it reaches its destination.
Take a look at the path your pipes take - do they travel through a crawlspace or along the side of the house? It's possible that they're just not insulated well enough (or simply go too far) to prevent outside temperatures from affecting the water inside.
You can either insulate your pipes or invest in an auxiliary on-demand water heater that's closer to your bathroom. Neither is going to be cheap, and the latter option requires that you find space for the second heater - but boy will it be worth it to have steamy showers again.
This is an especially likely issue if your home is old. Galvanized steel pipes will absolutely corrode from the inside and restrict water flow. The more they build up rust and mineral deposits, the less water will be able to flow through them. And the worst part about this is that hot water speeds up the rate of corrosion.
While it's less common, copper pipes can also corrode. Unfortunately, if this is the cause, you'll need to replace all of the corroded pipes. And that's definitely not a job for the average Joe - you're going to want a good plumber for this.
READ NEXT: Copper pipes in concrete - yes or no?
This is another cause of a lack of hot water on one floor that nobody wants to hear. If you're noticing that a single faucet is struggling to provide hot water, examine its path. If you find even a hint of moisture, it's time to get your pipes inspected. Often a burst pipe will first present with a drop in water pressure and poor temperature regulation - so keep an eye out.
Test the water pressure of your faucets with a pressure meter. If it reads lower than the pressure at your water heater, there's a leak somewhere along the line.
There are a lot of things to look out for when it comes to your home's water system. If you're noticing that you've got hot water downstairs but not upstairs (or vice versa), go through the above steps to locate the issue. It could be something as simple as a valve accidentally getting turned, or even a temperature regulator you didn't know existed.
If those aren't the causes, it's time to look for major issues. Whether that means you've got a leak somewhere along the line, or corrosion in your pipes, these are both fixes that will require a professional assessment to solve. You could also simply have the heater too far from your upstairs faucets - this can be fixed with pipe insulation or an auxiliary heater. One way or another, this list will have your showers hot and steamy again in no time.
One More Thing Before You Go!
Craving more DIY insights? Don't miss our expert guides and exclusive deals. Subscribe now and get the best of home and garden tips straight to your inbox. Join our community and stay in the know!
Get Cashback Faster & Earn Free Fraffle Tickets
Shop at your favourite stores and enjoy cashback in days, not months. Plus, sign up today to get 5x Free Fraffle tickets!