Thoughts on Bathroom Shower Plumbing Issue?

I’ve never called a plumber for anything. Probably never called anyone for anything, now that I think about it- except one time when my AC went out.

I’ve got this issue with 1 of my bathrooms. The shower has never had hot water, and right now I don’t think it even turns on. We’ve just always used the second bathroom for showers. Now, it would be much more convenient to use the broken shower (which is the only 1 with a tub, too).

While I am not a “handy” person, I’ve used online instructions, manuals, Youtube to DIY repair several things on my cars and house- which I never imagined I would be able to do. Being poor influenced that, too.

I have a decent chunk of “extra” money coming this week and think I will just call a plumber (I guess that’s who I should call?). Of course I don’t want to get ripped off or anything either. I still sorta have an itch to try to DIY, too. Especially if it’s going to be more than a few hundred bucks.

Do plumbers typically charge a trip fee or something and then look at it and give an estimate? Should I be trouble-shooting anything obvious?

You don’t mention what kind of a valve you have on the shower, ie, a single knob or separate controls for hot and cold. Anyways, you could have a shut off valve closed, it may be hidden behind a panel for the shower plumbing if not in plain sight or in a closet or down in the basement. If you have a temperature control on the shower, it may be set for a cold shower, or defective. The shower valve itself may be damaged. Plugged hot water line, or maybe not even hooked up, maybe a leak and the po just took it out.

My initial reaction tends to a bad cartridge in the shower handle. But I don’t even know if you have a cartridge, based on the description.

I’ve replaced the cartridge on my shower, the same was I do it in my faucets. Except I don’t have a cut-off valve for the shower, so I have to turn off water to the house when I do it.

But yes - if you want to have work done on this, a plumber is a reasonable person to call. Depending on the issue, a handyman may be able to help as well. Too many possibilities based on what we know right now.

First of all, I applaud you for never having called anybody. That’s the spirit.

A plumber is going to have a fee just for coming out. He will probably be able to diagnose your problem. From the limited info given, you could have any number of problems. If possible,and inclined or interested, try to explore where your pipes enter the bathroom, ease of access etc.

If you can trace out the lines do that. Find out does the shower have both hot and cold supplies. And are there and local shut offs.

If the hot was turned off there may be a reason. Faucet leaked hot water or piping leaked may be one reason.

If piping is ok what brand and model are the shower valve(s) and can you still get parts. If you can replace everything. You can try that before calling a plumber.


House (SFD) or multi-uni?

Age of structure?

Look on the back side of the plumbing - it was once common to have an access panel behind the plumbing.

MUCH more info required to address the Q

"Do plumbers typically charge a trip fee or something and then look at it and give an estimate? "

This really depend on the company , I had plumbers wanting money just to walk in my door , said no thanks ! Other will give a free estimate but you needs to be careful with this . The plumber can say the job is bigger than he expected
and it will cost a lot more . If you’re a senior some plumbers will give you a discount . You can look on line to see what kind reviews a plumber has and if their license is still good. I have found plumbers who license is good in one state and not the next one.

How long have you owned the house, and how did it pass your walk-through well enough to make you want to buy it?

I’m not clear: Does water still flow to the tub? Does the tub have hot water but not the shower? Or is the tub in the same situation as the shower?

I have a plumber and an electrician I deal with on a time +materials basis. And they generally charge travel time from their shop/last job (subject to some negotiation).

If you give the plumber as much info as possible up front, he might be able to supply his truck so as to handle your job on the initial visit. If he requires something specialized, he may need to make a trip to pick it up.

I suspect working on the plumbing in a finished bathroom might require special tools, and some experience. More complicated than simply working on the exposed pipes in our basement.

I agree that there is not way to even guess at the issue based on the limited info in the OP, but to answer the other question - a plumber is almost certainly going to charge for a visit to diagnose. The may waive the diagnostic fee if you let them do the work, but they do (and should) expect to get paid for the time spent diagnosing.

Assuming this is an issue at the valve and not a shutoff somewhere else in the house, you either have to replace the whole valve or just the cartridge. Major manufacturers like Moen tend to have very good support, detailed instructions, and demonstration videos to help you do the repair.

If the valve is modern enough, and it is a problem with the cartridge, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to replace yourself with out disturbance to the tilling/enclosure. A plumber is likely to charge their minimum fee for such a job; it would be pretty quick for them.

If the valve must be replaced that is more involved, the wall has to be opened up for access. If you can access the wall from the opposite side, a drywall patch and painting will be required, something that plumbers don’t do. If you are confident with a torch and soldier you could replace the valve yourself and might as well if that is you inclination, since you are going to have to deal with the wall repair anyway. If you cant access the wall from the back you are going to be faced with a tile repair (expect tile to brake on removal) if you have tile. If you have acrylic paneling you are going to need a new paneling kit (they are a pain in the ass I would rather just tile myself). If you have an enclosure, well lets just hope you have other access.

If you are not up fro the wall repair I would suggest finding a skilled handyman or carpenter to do the whole job.