Towards the beginning of Groundhog Day, Phil Connors gets into the shower. The water is freezing. He jumps out. A minute later, he encounters the innkeeper in the hallway.

Phil: Yo, ma'am. Isn't there any hot water?

Innkeeper: (laughing) No, there wouldn't be today!

Phil: Of course not. Silly me.

Why wouldn't there be hot water on a particular day? Does it have to do with the weather? I've lived in sunny California most of my life, and water temperature isn't much affected by outside temperature.

  • 2
    I always assumed it was related to weather, and the crowded hotel. Cold weather absolutely affects hot water temperature and wait times, i know this from my own personal experience (I live in Pennsylvania). Adding in the variable of 10-30 people sharing one water tank, during a blizzard, i personally would expect little or no hot water in that situation, at anything less than a large chain hotel.
    – Dpeif
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 20:07
  • @Dpeif Really? Wow! I guess I've been spoiled in Los Angeles. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 22:06
  • 1
    ...plus, its of course a lot more shocking when you run out if the incoming unheated water is 33 degrees than when its 70.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:16
  • 2
    Wow, the stuff you can find on the internet is amazing - average cold water inlet temperature by city gfxtechnology.com/WaterTemp.pdf . In LA its ~73F, in Pittsburgh its ~58F ... but that is only a difference of 15F. But I guess that gets bigger in winter.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 16:28
  • “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Mark Twain
    – wip
    Commented Feb 11, 2018 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


This is just a joke on provincial small hotel or bed & breakfast places, that are quaint but are low on amenities and comforts like 24x7 hot water.

"Today" is almost certainly not due to the weather. Hot water would not be massively affected by the weather. Cold water inlet temperatures on average do vary by location, but the pipes are buried in the ground and won't change massively day by day.

It is probably caused by the hotel being busy due to Groundhog Day draining all the water. His response is a sarcastic acknowledgement of the poor service and her attitude by laughing rather than apologizing.

Coupled with Phil's ongoing misery at being forced onto location for the events of the day, its intended to be another example of his sarcastic and superior nature, and the rather provincial circumstances he finds himself in.

  • 8
    Except I would say that because it is Groundhog Day, there is extra business, therefore hot water would be scarce. The innkeepers response is an obvious one.
    – user25738
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 19:39
  • 3
    That's why I say "not likely" rather than "not". The point is that its a joke about the difference between the expectations and realities of Phil's day.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 19:41
  • Ok, I'll work that into the answer then :)
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 19:43
  • 4
    The way she says it makes it seem like it should be obvious why "today" is special. The Tuesday/Thursday theory doesn't seem likely. I'd go with the heavy business.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 20:48
  • 19
    Yes, its almost certainly due to the Hotel being full for Groundhog Day, and every one of those people getting up early (and likely taking a shower) to be in the park on time for the ceremony. There are these days a lot of heat-as-you-go systems, but back in the 80's almost all hot water came from very slowly reheating reservoir tanks. When all the water in the tank gets used, it will be a while before it can heat up more. And if people are still using it in the meantime, it never will get hot until they lay off it.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:13

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