No cold water supply to shower

13 Jul 2013
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United Kingdom
We recently noticed no cold water was coming out of the shower. When turned to cold, no water comes out. It's a very old mixer shower so I thought it just needed replacing. I've completely removed it and switched on the water again to check the hot and cold water copper supply pipes. The hot one is working but nothing is coming out of the cold water pipe. All other taps in the house work fine as does the other shower.

We have a loft water tank that feeds water down to the cylinder in the airing cupboard. There are gate valves and 1 stopcock.

It's worth mentioning that we've had builders come to fit a new kitchen and they shut off the mains and a tap in the airing cupboard to isolate the hot water.

Is it possible that there's a tap that's specific to the cold water in that shower? Is it an airlock? Or a blockage? Any advice would be great thanks.
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Old gate valves have a bad habit of the spindle breaking when you try and re-open them leaving the gate in the closed position. There is a chance that someone may have closed every valve they could find and not bothered checking that everything opened properly again.
Thanks for your reply.

There is 1 gate valve in the airing cupboard that keeps turning. I believe that's a sign that it's broken but I don't know if that pipe is the cold water supply to that shower.

In order to turn off the water supply completely I turn off the stopcock in the airing cupboard and another gate valve that goes behind the cylinder. That takes care of the hot and cold water taps and shower, which makes me feel that when switched on the cold water supply to the shower should also run. Or could it be that broken valve?

The problem is I'm not sure what the builders turned in the airing cupboard, whether or not they broke that gate valve.
I would check to make sure all gate valves are open and as the above person said, gate valves have a tendency to break when they're turned on/off after not being used for a while. If they are open then i would put it down to an air lock in which case just leave the hot water valve on the shower until it kicks in.

If you think that one or more of the gate valves have broke and are stuck in the off position then you're better of buying new and replacing. When replacing, i would drain the WHOLE system by turning the stop tap off and draining down the tank and cylinder through various taps and drain offs. Yeah its a waste of water and takes longer but i'd do it to avoid turning the other gate valves and the same happening to them.
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Thanks for your advice. Looks like you guys were right.

Had a neighbour come over who turned out to be a plumber. Since it's an ensuite shower turns out there are specific valves for it. He had a look in the airing cupboard and the broken gate valve that I had mentioned is on the cold water pipe that leads to that shower.

We'll replace it with a ball valve tomorrow, which will hopefully take care of the problem. Only thing is, if the gate valve was stuck on the ON position in the first place then it might be an airlock/blockage. Hopefully not...

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