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Hot Water System Maintenance: Preparing For Winter

2 May

Is it just a coincidence that winter in Australia is traditionally the most common time of year for electric hot water systems or other types of hot water tanks and hot water units not to work efficiently and fail?

No, it’s not. There are logical reasons why your hot water unit or hot water tank malfunctions. For one, most people use more hot water and heat pump water heaters during winter as we tend to spend longer in the shower warming up in the morning. Most of us take advantage of the hot water tank or water heater automatically venting hot water supply in our bathroom and kitchen mixer tap. The cold water supplying the hot water system or water heater is more complex, which causes the hot water system to work harder and heat longer. And the general temperature overnight is colder. The hot water system, associated valves, and pipes are cooler, contributing to more work the system has to do. But this is necessary to provide us with reliable hot water each morning.

Cold water attracts minerals and causes systems to work harder to heat water for hot showers and taps. Colder overnight temperatures make valves, pipes, and tanks cooler – requiring more energy to reheat each morning. Increased hot water usage in winter also strains systems functioning properly.

That’s why it’s critical to perform regular inspections and maintenance to keep your hot water system working efficiently all winter. Minor unchecked issues can lead to breakdowns, no hot water supply, and costly repairs. Don’t take a chance on waking up to a cold shower. Read on to ensure your system is functioning correctly and ready for increased demand this winter. Our expert team can get your hot water running optimally.

Prepare Your Existing Hot Water System For Winter With Proper Scheduled Maintenance

Think of your hot water system or hot water unit as sending your soldier to a battle. If you and your hot water system are prepared for the war, it’ll be in your best interest.

So, even before the cooler season settles, it is worth having some preventative hot water system maintenance in place, especially for the old hot water system or heat pump. For example, have your pressure relief valves or TPR valves checked by hot water specialists as they are fitted as the secondary safety measure in your hot water unit. Having your system serviced regularly will minimise costly repairs and double your hot water system’s lifespan. There are some simple things that you can do, with and without the help of a licensed plumber, to avoid a hot water system failure and lessen the likelihood of waking up to no hot water or malfunctioning hot water heaters on a chilly morning.

Why Do Hot Water Systems Fail?

1. Heating and Thermostat Failure

The most typical hot water system repairs are due to the heating element and thermostat failure.

A heating element and thermostat in a hot water system are like the working of an electric kettle. Depending on use, the heating element in a hot water system will cycle over 15,000 times in a decade.

2. Tank Failure

The second most common repair of a hot water system is the tank’s failure.

When water is heated inside a hot water system, it expands — the cooler the water before heating, the greater the expansion. Over time, the tank weakens by oxidising or rusting and increases, causing a weld or the cylinder within the tank to fail.

It is not widely known that there is a sacrificial anode rod, a metal rod, inside electric hot water cylinders. Sacrificial anodes are an important aspect of a hot water unit and can be found where mechanical components are in contact with water. They work by oxidising or rusting as the weaker metal rather than the steel tank.

They dissolve due to an electrochemical reaction inside the hot water cylinder. And after five years, they become spent and require replacement.

Temperature Pressure Relief And Expansion-Control Valves

The rise and fall of the temperature of the water will change the volume of water and the pressure it exerts on the pipework and storage tanks. Temperature pressure relief and expansion-control valves protect tanks and pipework from bursting when the water expands or collapses as the water contracts.

The law requires the installation of Cold Water Expansion valves on any new hot water system installations.

Cold Water Expansion valves relieve expanded water from the cold supply pipes, not hot water, during the heating cycle. This saves wasting hot water, which you have already paid to heat and discharges cold water instead. It also increases the life of the pressure-temperature relief valve (PTR).

The function of a relief valve is to relieve excess pressure, so it must work correctly. The Pressure Temperature Relief valves prevent devastating consequences such as the rupture or explosion of a hot water system if the thermostat fails and the hot water system continuously heats. It’s ideal to replace these safety valves every five years.

Hot Water System Regular Maintenance Schedule

Hot Water System Maintenance (Every Six Months):

  • Operate the Pressure and Temperature Relief valve
  • Operate the Cold Water Expansion valve (if fitted)
  • Check the operation of the Isolator valve (which is also a non-return valve)

Hot Water System Maintenance (Every Five Years):

  • Replace Pressure and Temperature Relief valve
  • Renew the Sacrificial anode
  • Check Isolator valve
  • Check Tempering valve
  • Check Element and Thermostat for correct operation

Signs Your Hot Water Heater Needs Replacing

If your water heater is over 10 years old, it may be time to consider replacement. Failure to perform routine maintenance can lead to dangerous issues like extremely hot water, water leaks, and build-up affecting the water heater’s efficiency.

Some signs your water heater needs to be replaced:

  • Very hot water that can cause burns
  • Frequent breakdowns requiring repairs
  • Loud rumbling noises from sediment build-up
  • Rust accumulation that can lead to water leak
  • Higher energy bills despite less usage
  • Long wait times for hot water

Our plumbers can assess your water heater’s age, condition, and performance to determine if it needs to be replaced for safety and efficiency. We recommend replacing your water heater regularly to prevent extremely dangerous issues.

Already Have Plumbing Issues? Reach Out To Us For Peace Of Mind

May this maintenance advice help you keep those hot water systems and hot showers running through the cooler months! From checking your TPR valve and checking to see no leaking from the outlet pipe and other parts to addressing concerns about your water heaters or old system, you’ll surely be ready for the cooler months. If you already have hot water problems or plumbing issues, check out our hot water system troubleshooting guide or contact the highly recommended and the best plumbers Gold Coast residents can rely on for an excellent hot water service! You can not only depend on our licensed plumber for your heat pumps and hot water unit maintenance every six months but also for other plumbing work.

Not sure who to call for an amazing service on your plumbing emergency? Reach out to our local plumber with great experience. No one knows better how your plumbing works than our emergency plumber! From hot water tanks and another hot water service to a blocked drain problem, new pipes installation, low water pressure, faulty temperature and pressure relief valve and other plumbing issues— you can rely on us for excellent service and great work. Our whole team go the extra mile to provide you with a fast response and the best solutions in a professional manner! We’re your hot water experts and more. We get the job done fast and effectively. So worry no more about your hot water heater, gas or electric systems, malfunctioning TPR valve, blocked drain, and more.

Call us for an excellent service provided in a timely manner! Our fully qualified and highly skilled licensed plumber will get your hot water systems done fast and efficiently at a reasonable price. Our fully qualified and fully licensed team of experienced plumbers can help you with any plumbing problems and plumbing issues with our full range of plumbing services. From all your hot water system needs, including hot water system repair and maintenance to new system installation, blocked drains, gas fitting, leaking tap and new taps installation and many more, our great team has got you covered. Our service areas cover the wide Gold Coast region. Reach out to us now for high-quality work.