Hot water is indispensable in our daily lives, from enjoying a hot shower to washing dishes. However, hot water plumbing systems aren’t immune to problems that can disrupt our routines.
This blog post will identify common hot water plumbing problems, explain their causes, and guide you on how to solve them. We’ll also discuss when to call in a professional plumber and preventative maintenance steps to prolong the lifespan of your system.
Water Heater Leaks
Leakage is a common issue that plagues many hot water systems. The causes can range from a loose drain valve, excess pressure buildup in the tank due to faulty temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve) to tank corrosion.
Solution: First, identify the leak source. If it’s the drain valve, tighten it. But don’t overdo it, as too much pressure could cause breakage. If the problem persists, you may need to replace the valve.
If it’s a faulty T&P valve or a corroded tank, these are more complex issues that a professional plumber should address. If you are in Queensland, we recommend proplumberbrisbane.com.
It’s worth noting that if your water heater tank is corroded, replacing the entire unit’s usually more cost-effective than repairing it.
Inadequate Hot Water Supply
There’s nothing more disappointing than a shower turning cold halfway through. This problem could be due to an undersized water heater, a faulty thermostat, or sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank.
Solution: If the issue is an undersized water heater, you may need to upgrade to a unit with a larger capacity. For a faulty thermostat, try adjusting it to a higher setting (between 120 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit is generally safe and efficient). If there’s no improvement, consider replacing the thermostat.
Sediment buildup can be addressed by flushing the water heater tank, a maintenance task we’ll discuss later in this post.
Your water heater might sometimes produce unusual sounds – popping, cracking, or rumbling. Such noises are commonly caused by sediment accumulation within the tank, which leads to water boiling and the formation of steam bubbles that subsequently pop.
Solution: The most effective method to resolve this issue involves draining and flushing your water heater to eliminate the sediment. This task can be carried out by you personally, however, if you feel uneasy about it, you can enlist the assistance of a plumber.
If your hot water smells bad, it could be due to bacteria growth in the water heater tank. This usually happens when the water heater is set at a low temperature (below 120 degrees Fahrenheit) for a long period, allowing bacteria to thrive.
- Increase the temperature to above 60C for a few hours to kill the bacteria.
- Follow this by flushing your water heater.
- Be cautious with the high-temperature setting to prevent scalding.
Regularly flushing your hot water system is a must for preventative maintenance. Over time, minerals and sediments from the water can accumulate at the bottom of your tank. Regular flushing helps remove these deposits, improving the efficiency and lifespan of your heater. You can undertake this task every six months to a year, depending on the hardness of your water.
Descaling is another maintenance procedure beneficial for those living in areas with hard water. Mineral deposits can accumulate inside the pipes, reducing water flow and efficiency. Descaling involves using a descaling solution to dissolve these mineral deposits.
Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing most hot water plumbing problems. Nonetheless, when confronted with complicated problems or if uncertainty prevails, it’s always advisable to reach out to a professional plumber. With their training and experience, they can accurately diagnose and rectify the issue, saving you time and potential additional costs from errors.