Waking up to a cold shower is never fun, particularly in the midst of a freezing cold winter. And in the midst of all of these beautifully sunny summer days, you’re probably not thinking about your hot water system at all! Rather than waiting until woolly-sock-weather hits, why not consider whether your system will make it through winter now? But how do you tell if your hot water system needs to be maintained or if you need a completely new one? Here are a few signs that you may need to replace your hot water system.
When the water isn’t hot enough
One sign that you probably need a hot water system upgrade or maintenance check is if your system is unpredictable or failing to give your household the hot water it needs. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a hot shower and then finding that the water turns cold halfway through or it fails to heat up at all!
However before you rush into replacing the whole system, it’s worth getting a professional plumbing service to check things out for you. Leaks, faulty thermostats and damaged heating elements can all cause a loss of hot water, and the experts at Yarrow Plumbing Services will perform the required maintenance checks and then advise you on the next steps you should take to solve the problem.
When you hear strange noises
While hot water systems typically emit sounds as the water heats, strange noises like banging, cracking and popping aren’t normal and should be attended to as quickly as possible before the problem gets worse. Sizzling or hissing noises can sometimes be due to a faulty relief valve, and sediment build up can also be the cause of noisy systems. Natural minerals in water can accumulate at the bottom of the tank over time, and the noises you hear are steam bubbles escaping from beneath the sediment.
Regardless, any unusual noises should be attended to by a professional plumbing service because even if a new hot water system isn’t required, delaying the problem can cause further corrosion and overheating.
When you notice discoloured water
Red, brown or rusty coloured water coming from your hot water system can be due to corrosion, rust inside your system’s pipes or storage tank, or even a build-up of sediment in the tank. Once again, your professional plumbing service should be contacted and a full appraisal done in order to determine whether you just need hot water system repairs, or you need to consider replacing your entire system.
When you spot a leak
Leaking hot water systems are not only a problem in themselves, depending on the location, leaking water can also damage walls, laundry cabinets and flooring. Unrepaired leaks can go on to cause mould or mildew to grow, which has the potential to cause health problems.
Leaks can commonly originate from the outlet or inlet connections, at the pressure relief valve or from the tank itself. They can also be caused by corrosion around your hot water system’s fittings, and if this is the case, you’ll often notice sludge or rust around the fittings. The solution? Contact your professional plumbing service ASAP!
When the overflow valve is constantly dripping
Hot water systems create a lot of pressure doing the important job of heating your water, and when the steam and heat expands, it results in condensation and high pressure. To account for all this pressure, all hot water systems come with an overflow valve that allows water to escape from the system as it heats up. That’s why you’ll often see water intermittently dripping from the valve – but don’t panic – it’s actually a sign that your system’s working properly!
However, if you pull the lever, let the water flow for about 30 seconds and your system continues to leak, then you may have a maintenance issue or you may need a hot water system upgrade. Either way, it’s best to call a professional plumbing service.
When it’s old!
Most hot water systems have a healthy lifespan of between 8 and 12 years. After this, the efficiency of the water heater can begin to decline as internal parts break down, and silt and sludge may begin to flow into your sink, shower, basin or bath. Premature ageing can also occur if your household has outgrown the system itself, resulting in it working overtime to keep up with the washing machine, dishwasher and multiple bathrooms!
If your system is over 15 years of age, it may start to become noisy and fail to give you the hot water that your household consistently needs. If your system is approaching this age, or you’re experiencing frequent problems with hot water supply, then it may be time to consider a replacement.
What to be mindful of if you do need a hot water system replacement
If you have recently consulted your professional plumbing service and their expert opinion has been that you need to replace your current hot water system, there are a few things you should be mindful of.
Up until 31 January 2013, the Queensland Government’s mandatory requirements meant that owners of both new and existing houses and townhouses were required by law to install energy efficient (solar, gas or heat pump) hot water systems if they needed a replacement. That law was repealed in February 2013, meaning that homeowners are now able to choose a system that best suits their individual circumstances, which includes choosing to install an electric system.
However, the heating method, the size and the type of hot water system can all determine not only your system’s efficiency, but it’s ability to save you money on your electricity bills, so it’s a big decision. Particularly because replacing your hot water system can be a costly exercise!
Need some expert assistance? Yarrow Plumbing is a Queensland owned and operated business, a member of the Masters Plumbers Association of Queensland, and we pride ourselves as industry leaders in technology, innovation and customer service.
Hot water system on the blink? Contact Yarrow Plumbing today on (07) 3277 5742.