A cold shower may be a great way to cool off on a hot day, but most people prefer their showers to be warm and refreshing. If the water in your shower takes forever to heat up or runs cold, here are a few possible causes and what to do about them.

The Showerhead is Broken

This is an easy fix. Test the faucets on sinks, tubs and other showers in your home. If the water is hot and maintains its heat, then the issue lies with your showerhead. It most likely has a broken valve, so you should buy a new showerhead. If you get a replacement and the issue persists, there’s most likely a problem with the plumbing behind the wall, so you’ll have to call in a plumber to take a look.

Your Water Heater is Dirty

Water heater tanks need flushed annually to remove the dirt, debris and water sediment that builds up at the base. If there is too much, it creates a blockage that prevents hot water from reaching your showers. This can also cause your water tank to leak, so you should have it flushed as soon as possible.

Leaving your water tank for too long without having it cleaned can lead to an early breakdown and cost you thousands of dollars to replace.

Your Water Heater is Old

Water heaters typically last between eight to 12 years. After 10 years, most systems need replaced. Even if it still runs, you’re more likely to suffer from heat loss and leaks. Consider upgrading your unit to a tankless model, which is more modern and also helps conserve water use.

The Pilot Light is Out

This is the simplest fix on the list. If you have a gas heater, the pilot light is a small flame that ignites the burner in your system. Check to make sure that it’s on and, if it’s not, simply reignite it. Before you attempt to do this, make sure that you turn the gas shut-off valve and wait at least five minutes.

If none of these remedies work, you should contact a plumber and have them take a look at your water heater. Your tank may need flushed, or you may need to consider a new water heater installation. The best way to ensure that all of your plumbing problems are fixed safely and quickly is by trusting the expertise of an experienced professional.