The shower can be a nice place to spend some time alone, relaxing under a warm spray of water and getting clean with nice smelling soaps and shampoos until someone flushes the toilet. If you hear screams form the shower when you flush a toilet in your house, it is probably because the water suddenly got very hot or cold. Also possible is that the temperature remained tolerable, but the pressure went away, leaving soap in hair and only a drizzle from the shower head to wash it away until the pressure returns. Understanding why this happens may help you figure out what to do about it.
Scalding Hot Water
Obviously the scalding hot water shower treatment associated with flushing a toilet in the home is the most concerning and can lead to serious burns in some instances or can land you in hot water with other members of the family at the very least as they become angered by your inconsiderate flush. The reason the rapid temperature change happens when some toilets are flushed is because there are two sources of water feeding the shower: a hot water line and a cold water line. Generally you balance the two extremes to create warm water at the tap. But when the toilet flushes, it is only being supplied with one type of water, usually cold, and that chokes off the supply of cold water from the shower as it fills. The result is the loss of the amount of cold coming through the shower and the hot remaining the same, which equals very hot water not suitable for a shower.
Hot Water Remedy
A remedy exists to the hot water flushing problem. The most obvious is not to flush while others are taking a shower. But you can also invest in a faucet monitor that will keep up with the supplied pressure from the hot and cold side in your shower. When the cold water pressure suddenly drops because of a toilet flush, the monitor reduces the hot pressure to equal the cold so the mixture remains consistent with hardly any change in actual temperature in the shower.
The other side effect of flushing during a shower is the loss of water pressure. No one wants a shower that drizzles. It makes washing shampoo out of your hair a hassle and simply doesn’t do as good of a job at refreshing you. The reason the pressure loss occurs when the toilet is flushed is the same reason the water gets too hot. The toilet uses water to refill its tank when the flush happens, which leaves less water to go around for the other uses in the home until it is finished filling. Running a washing machine or dishwasher while you shower may have the same effect if your water pressure is limited.
To keep your toilets from robbing you of a powerful stream of water in the shower, you can adjust the valve on the back of the tank. Typically, there is a silver adjustable valve that controls how fast the water rushes into the tank to refill after a flush. If you turn this valve down, it will take a bit longer to refill the tank and be ready for another flush, but it will not affect the pressure in the shower nearly as much, which may also help with temperature differences to some degree.
- Photo Credit Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images