Mon to Fri:

7:00AM to 5:00PM

Customer Reviews Graphic

Show Your Hot Water Systems Some Love

25 June

In our cooler months, show your hot water systems and heat pump some love. Whether you have gas hot water systems or something more energy efficient like a solar hot water system to heat your water, a continuous flow system, or another type of storage tank unit and a heat pump— it is worth considering some preventative hot water systems maintenance. While hot water systems are already expensive to run, avoid more costly repairs and some severely uncomfortable chilly morning showers! Trust us, you don’t want to be shocked when your usual hot water is not hot anymore. And it’s not as if you can buy and install your hot water system in a jiffy.

Let’s be thankful that we have many benefits here in Australia. We get off pretty lucky in our experience of what passes as ‘Winter’. We don’t have to endure months of sub-zero temps that can wreak havoc with our household plumbing, like our hot water outlets installed indoors and outdoors, and send us scurrying off in search of a new hot water system.

We can rejoice that pipes that freeze or burst are not a regular occurrence, especially here in sunny Queensland. But, even with our version of winter, we may want to consider a few plumbing precautions with our existing system. Our water heating devices can be electric storage systems or gas storage systems, solar hot water systems, or continuous flow hot water heaters.

Our temps dip from our usual balmy beach days during the winter months. And, as the days grow shorter and the mornings chillier, our reliance on our trusty mate, even if this be an old electric hot water system or gas hot water system, increases.

Do you prefer a hot or cold shower?

Are you more of an ‘ease into the day with a long hot shower that warms you up while it wakes you up’ type? Or, are you one of those who welcome a full-on cold blast from their morning shower ritual that shocks you into the day ahead? Suppose you’re the latter (or a minority); good on you! You’re more daring than most. Cold showers can be a terrific source of increased alertness, stronger immune systems, and improved physical recovery. But they’re not for everyone!

Hot Water, Cold Water Graphic

There are benefits to both hot and cold showering. If you’re curious about what they are, read this.

Please read on for all who prefer the welcoming warmth of a long, hot, steamy winter morning shower.

Why do hot water systems fail more often in winter?

  • Winter in Australia is traditionally the most common time for electric hot water systems to fail.
  • We use more hot water during winter as we spend longer warming up in the morning in the shower.
  • The cold water supplying the hot water systems is colder, which causes the hot water systems to work harder and heat longer to bring the desired warmth.
  • The general temperature overnight is colder. The hot water system, its associated valves and pipes are cooler, contributing to more work that the hot water system has to do to provide us with reliable hot water each morning.

What Causes Your Hot Water Systems To Fail?

Heating element and thermostat failure

The most typical hot water system repairs are due to the heating element and thermostat failure in your gas water heaters, electric hot water systems, and other hot water units.

A heating element and thermostat in a hot water system are similar to how an electric kettle works. Depending on use, the heating element in a hot water system will cycle over 15,000 times in a decade. When in need of repair, a licensed tradesperson is required to undertake it due to the requirement to disconnect electricity during the repair process.

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 the increase causes a weld or the cylinder within the tank to fail.

You can encounter more hot water system problems, but they’re no reason to panic. You can troubleshoot or call your professional plumber to do it for you.

This Insider Info May Help You Combat Your Common Hot Water System Issues

Direct from everything you needed to know about hot water systems but were afraid to ask for files… you must know the following about your hot water heaters:

What are sacrificial anodes, and how do they work?

It is not widely known that a sacrificial anode is inside electric hot water cylinders. A sacrificial anode works by oxidising or rusting as the weaker metal rather than the steel tank.

Sacrificial anodes are commonly found where mechanical components are in contact with water. Sacrificial anodes dissolve due to an electrochemical reaction inside the hot water cylinder. After five years, they are spent and require replacement.

This, again, is a task best left to a licensed tradesperson. Due to the different range of anodes and the potential for incorrect fitting to damage the hot water service, leave the task to the experts.

What are Cold Water Expansion Valves?

Another method to combat the failure of tank cylinders is fitting Cold Water Expansion valves. We are legally required to install Cold Water Expansion valves on any new hot water system installations. Cold Water Expansion valves are set to lower release pressure than a Pressure and Temperature Relief valve.

This allows the discharge of the expanded water from the cold supply pipes instead of hot water from the Temperature Pressure Relief valve. This saves wasting hot water, which you have already paid to heat and discharges cold water instead.

Do you know why you need Pressure and Temperature Relief Valves and have them tested regularly?

Every homeowner can prevent their hot water system’s failure by regularly operating the Pressure and Temperature Relief valve. (Us, older plumbers, know them as TPRs)

Pressure and Temperature Relief valves are essential to prevent devastating consequences. One example is a hot water system rupture or explosion if the thermostat fails and the hot water system continuously heats. PTRs should be operated every six months to check their operation and keep them in working order.

Most hot water cylinders have a warning from the manufacturer to replace the PTR valve at five-year intervals. This is to ensure the valve’s reliable operation if required. If your PTR has begun to discharge water or leak, it is a sign of a problem and should be inspected by a licensed tradesperson. Other valves on the hot water system fail and require replacement.

Put, preventative maintenance can prevent more severe hot water problems from occurring.
A Recommended Hot Water System 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 the Pressure and Temperature Relief valve
  • Renew the Sacrificial anode
  • Check Isolator valve
  • Check Tempering valve
  • Check Element and Thermostat for correct operation

I hope this hot water system maintenance advice helps you keep those hot showers and outdoor showers running through the cooler months!

Need Help With Your Hot Water System?

Not sure who to call for an efficient service at a reasonable price? Reach out to a great company with a full range of plumbing services and years of industry experience. Call us! No matter your household size, you can rely on us to provide excellent service at a great price. From helping you choose the best hot water system to installing a storage tank to repairing your electric instantaneous water heaters, gas hot water systems, solar hot water systems, continuous flow systems, and any old hot water system— call us today for an exceptional service. Our team always goes the extra mile to do an excellent job, whether it’s installing a new unit or repairing and maintaining your hot water heater or hot water tank.

So, if you’re not a fan of the cold shower and need to schedule a hot water system service or replace your existing hot water system, we can help you. Or if you need a consultation about hot water system brands, we know the best performing from Rinnai, Rheem, Thermann, and more. All systems we’ve installed score high in a reliability survey published in Choice Magazine, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group.

If you already have hot water problems, check out our highly recommended hot water system troubleshooting guide. Or get in touch with the best bunch of highly trained plumbers here on the Gold Coast—all it takes is one phone call. Follow us and learn more about our cost-effective plumbing and hot water services! From heat pump maintenance to natural gas leaks, blocked drains, water leaks, backflow prevention, etc.

Interested to know more about the energy efficiency and running costs of gas systems, electric systems, or other types of water heaters? Call us.