No Water in the Shower but Sinks Are Fine: Reasons and Solutions

Taking a shower is an important part of our daily routine. But when a faulty shower faucet disrupts your refreshing hours it can be very disturbing.

Especially when you realize the other faucets, like the sink one, are working just fine rather than your shower one. 

Confusing right? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered.

To help you tackle this situation, we’ve curated this article, outlining all the potential causes and cost-effective solutions. This will not only save you time but also money on labor.

A close up view of a shower head, not spraying water.

Some Common Causes of No Water in the Shower

Here are some potential causes of the problem:

Faulty Shower Cartridge 

There is a shower cartridge within the shower valve system, which regulates the temperature of water drizzling out of the shower faucet. A shower cartridge mixes the cold and hot water in a ratio that delivers the preferred shower water temperature. 

But, when you find that no hot or cold water is coming out of the shower, but sinks and other faucets work fine, most probably, the shower cartridge is at fault. 

Malfunctioning Pressure Balancing Valve

Another common cause of the problem is a malfunctioning pressure balancing valve. The pressure balancing valve maintains a consistent water temperature by adjusting the flow or pressure of hot and cold water. 

If the pressure balancing valve is not functioning correctly, there could be an imbalance between hot and cold water, leading to a lack of water in the shower.

However, other triggering factors within the shower plumbing system may cause the problem. 

Frozen Water Line

If the water line is frozen, water will not flow into the shower, and you may not get any water from the shower at all. 

However, if the water line is frozen, other faucets in your home may also be affected and not provide water. This can impact multiple fixtures and outlets that rely on that particular water supply. 

It mostly happens when plumbing pipes run through the uninsulated space of the homes, like attics, where the pipe is likely affected by the environmental conditions. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the impact of the weather while building or renovating attics.

You can carefully take steps to thaw the frozen pipe to restore water flow. Methods like heating the affected pipe with a hairdryer, a heating pad, or warm towels are effective in defrosting the pipe. 

To prevent this any further, you can use heating tape or pipe insulation to protect the pipes from harsh environmental conditions.

Mineral Deposit Buildups in Shower Head

Over time and use, mineral deposits can build in the shower head, which blocks the water supply, especially the hard water. The accumulation of mineral deposits can happen in many parts of the shower. 

You can open the shower and remove the build-ups easily. Then, the water may start flowing again from the shower. 

Water Heater Issues

If you have a separate water heater for your shower, there may be issues with the heater itself. For example, a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse in an electric water heater can result in no hot water. 

When the pressure balancing valve finds no hot water pressure, it will try to balance the pressure of cold water by stopping the cold water flow as well. Basically, this is how it functions.

Checking the conditions of the water heater and fixing it can help resolve this issue. Check whether it is powered on, reset the tripped breaker, or replace a blown fuse. If you have a gas water heater, ensure that the gas supply is not depleted, and try reigniting the pilot light if necessary.

How to Fix It?

Replace the Shower Balancing Unit

If the shower balancing valve malfunctions, it may prevent the mixing of the cold water with the hot water and disrupt the water flow. As a result, you may not get water from the shower. The problem can also lie in the cartridge, which is likely broken or torn. 

Therefore, inspecting the cartridge and shower balancing valve can unveil the causes of the problem. If you find any issue with the shower balancing valve or cartridge, you must replace it. The pressure balancing valve remains inside the shower faucet and is easily visible when you remove the handle and cartridge assembly. 

Here is the step-by-step process of replacing the pressure balancing valve. 

Pro Tip: Different shower models may have separate methods for replacing the valve. To avoid getting stuck in the middle, it is wise to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation in the owner’s manual. 

However, our step-by-step process can facilitate the most common shower unit models, but not all of them. 

Step 1: Preparation

Gather all the necessary tools such as screwdrivers, Allen Wrench, or Hex Key. Make sure the replacement model of the shower balancing unit is the right one. 

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply

Before doing anything, first, turn off the water supply by closing the shut-off valve located near the shower or by shutting off the main water supply to the house. This step is a priority when working on any plumbing fixtures in the house. 

Step 3: Remove the Handle

This step may be more complex than it sounds. Some models may require an Allen wrench to replace the handle. We know many people may not be familiar with the use of the Allen wrench, but Allen wrench and bolts work similarly to any screwdriver and traditional wrench. 

However, let us help you with the removal process. Get a correct-size Allen wrench. Insert one of the ends into the hex hole and turn the Allen wrench counterclockwise to remove the bolts and lose the handle. Once the bolt is removed, you can take off the shower handle. 

Step 4: Remove the Following Parts

Now remove the subsequent parts of the unit, such as the plate, also known as the escutcheon plate, cap, and other handle assembly. You will need a screwdriver to do this. 

Step 5: Remove the Cartridge Assembly

Once you have taken apart all the handle assembly, now you can remove the cartridge assembly by removing the securing screws. While doing that, inspect the cartridge for any visible damage and tear. 

Step 6: Remove the O-ring and Pressure Balancing Valve 

Under the O-ring, you will find a pressure balancing valve and take it out of its position. Inspect the pressure balancing valve thoroughly for any debris and damage. Sometimes, debris buildup can cause the problem.

Step 7: Install the New Unit

Finally, install the new unit, reversing the way you have removed the old one. Once the new valve and cartridge are installed, reattach the shower handle and tighten it securely. 

Step 8: Turn on the Water Supply 

Turn on the water supply to the shower and test the water temperature. Check if the water is now flowing properly.

If you are under warranty, the manufacturer should provide the unit for free. 

Kohler shower valve replacement

Replace the Cartridge

If you’ve inspected no visible damage or tear in the pressure balancing valve, replacing it would not be necessary. Rather, pay attention to the cartridge, which may be damaged, torn, or subject to the accumulation of mineral deposits. 

The cartridge basically controls the flow of water. Over time, it can wear out or become clogged, leading to issues with water temperature and pressure. Sometimes, not using the shower for a long time can cause corrosion inside the cartridge, indirectly triggering the pressure balancing valve to malfunction.

So, not getting water in the shower can be a potential indication of a cartridge problem. Replacing it may solve the issue. 

You don’t need to remove the O-ring and valve when replacing the cartridge, as you do with the pressure-balancing valve unit. Just remove the old cartridge assembly and install the new one. Remember that the new cartridge should be compatible with your shower system. 

What if the Problem Persists Despite All the Efforts?

If the problem persists despite trying all the suggested approaches, you need to seek professional plumbing assistance. Persistent issues may indicate more complex underlying problems within your plumbing system or fixtures that require expert diagnosis and repair. 

A licensed plumber can accurately assess the situation, identify the root cause, and implement the necessary repairs or replacements to restore your shower’s water supply effectively and safely. 


Why is My Pressure-balancing Valve Malfunctioning?

Ans: In most cases, the cartridge in the shower valve becomes faulty or wears out. As a result, the hot and cold water don’t mix evenly. Therefore, you may experience hot or cold water, but not the desired one. 

Sometimes, you don’t get water when it goes bad or corrodes. The pressure balancing valve also gets damaged or malfunctions when it has not been used for long. You can turn on the shower occasionally to keep the unit in good order.

Can Shower Valves Be Repaired?

Ans: The shower valve can’t be repaired traditionally. Common issues with shower valves are leaks, deposit buildup, and worn-out or corroded parts. Usually, replacing the cartridge solves the problem. 

If the exterior valve assembly or the pipes leading into the valve show signs of severe rusting or corrosion, it may be necessary to contact a professional plumber to inspect and potentially replace the water lines or the entire valve.

How Can I Tell if the Issue is Due to Lime Buildup in the Showerhead or Faucet?

Ans: You sense the mineral build-ups by reduced water flow and uneven spray patterns from the showerhead. Sometimes, excessive accumulation of lime can block the shower entirely, preventing both hot and cold water from coming out.


The article should help you to find out the root cause of your shower not functioning properly and troubleshoot the issues as well. But, when you fail to bring your shower faucet to a fully functioning state, you should seek a professional’s help as soon as possible. 

Remember, do not try to resolve or replace any parts (such as the cartridge or pressure balancing unit) without a clear understanding of the underlying cause.

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