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Hot Water Problems: Your Troubleshooting Guide

30 November

There’s nothing worse than getting up on a cold morning ready to jump into a warm shower only to find your hot water is cold. Or perhaps you’ve spotted a leak from your hot water system. You may even turn on the tap to find there’s no water flowing at all from your hot tap.

But the most dangerous thing is to find scalding water instead of the warm water that usually comforts you. This is a plumbing emergency, needing a plumbing expert, so don’t tinker with the problem yourself.

A hot water system problem isn’t a cause for panic. Although hot water problems are a pain, there are some things you can check yourself before contacting a local plumbing service.

This post looks at common issues, troubleshooting, and when to call a plumber.

Hot Water Problem #1: You Have A Water Leak

If your water heater leaks, you’ll notice water pooling at the base of your water heater or running down the side of the hot water tank.

If the leak is coming from the pressure relief valve, you might be able to replace it. Or sometimes unwanted sediment can build up, clogging the valve, which could be solved with a simple cleanout.

Unfortunately, it might be a severe problem if the leak is elsewhere. Shut off the water supply immediately and call an expert plumber. You’re probably due for a hot water system replacement.

Hot Water Problem #2: Your Hot Water Is Cold

Hot Water Problems - Hot Water Valves

If you have water – but it’s only cold water – the problem could be your hot water system’s circuit breaker.

Take a look at your fuse box and switch the hot water breaker back on if it has tripped. Be sure to wait a while to give it a chance to heat up.

If you have a gas hot water system, then perhaps it’s simply a matter of replacing the gas bottle. Or call your gas supplier to check whether it has been switched off in your area for some reason.

If these don’t solve the instant gas hot water system problems, or you find the circuit breaker repeatedly tripping, you should call out a plumber.

If the hot water seems to have dropped in temperature, this may be that the outside temperature has dropped. Your hot water is cooling in the pipes on the way to the tap. Check that the hot water pipes have insulation to stop this heat loss.

Hot Water Problem #3: Your Hot Water is Too Hot

The first thing to check if your hot water is too hot is to adjust the temperature dial on the water heater’s front. Wait an hour before rechecking the temperature. If this doesn’t change the temperature at all, there is a problem, and you should contact accredited and licensed plumbers to test your property’s Thermostatic Mixing Valves (TMV).

Hot Water Problem #4: Faulty Hot Water Tempering Valve

A Thermostatic Mixing Valve (TMV) is installed primarily on hotels, schools and other high-risk locations, including health and aged care facilities. The valve works by blending the hot and cold water at an adjustable ratio and then piped to the bathrooms or house.

In the late ’90s, regulators made fitting tempering valves mandatory on new or replacement hot water systems. This was a great idea as it helped stop kids from being scalded by hot water. Young skin can be burnt by water at 60 degrees in seconds. Water at 50 degrees would take minutes to inflict a severe burn.

Tempering valves, like any mechanical item, are prone to failure. Problems with tempering valves can cause various issues, including complete loss of hot water supply, a lack of pressure or a reduced hot water temperature. Besides leaking around the tempering valve connections, it can be challenging for the untrained to detect a problem. So if you suspect the tempering valve could be the problem, contact a plumber. TMVs need to be tested every year to ensure the hot water temperatures remain suitable and safe. And to also see if the valves are fully compliant and functioning correctly. The good news is replacing a tempering valve is much cheaper than the entire hot water system.

Tempering Valve Hot Water Problem

Hot Water Problem #5: You Have No Water At All

If you see little more than a dribble after you’ve turned on your tap, check the cold water to ensure it’s not a problem with your supply.

Suppose it’s just the hot water with no flow check near your hot water system for an isolation valve. Not all installations will be fitted with one, but look for a red or yellow handle near the water intake. If it’s been switched off, that might be all you need to do. If not, don’t try adjusting or probing the system further. It’s time to call in some expert help.

Hot Water Problem #6: Your Hot Water System Makes Strange Noises

Bangs, pops, and gurgling sounds can be caused simply by the expanding and contracting metal parts. This is increased in older hot water units as minerals and hard water can build up on the inside of the tank. A plumber can help remove this by flushing the tank, which will extend the life of your hot water unit.

This is a different story if you hear a boiling sound. It shows overheating and pressures, and it can be dangerous. In this case, call an emergency plumber immediately.

Let’s Fix Your Hot Water System Problems

Hot water accounts for about 30% of your total power bill, making a cost-effective repair or a new and state of the art hot water system something that could save you serious money on future bills. You might not be a plumber, but sometimes your hot water issues might have a straightforward solution. However, don’t take your hot water system apart with a wrench! It’s still best to seek the help of professionals. And rely only on a fully licensed plumber and a professional service for your plumbing problems. There’s a genuine problem that has the potential to cost you thousands of dollars and unnecessary heartache. It’s the dodgy tradie epidemic that is getting worse, not better. For installation of a new hot water system, whether it’s electric hot water systems, instantaneous hot water systems, or gas hot water systems, you can still reach out to us.

But we’re not just your expert hot water plumbers! Our full range of plumbing services includes maintenance and repairs for other plumbing issues — all for a reasonable price. We are the all-around plumbers that cover all types of plumbing services. Contact us today!