Having hot water available at all times is something most households take for granted. We expect to be able to shower, do laundry, and wash dishes without issues. But when your gas hot water system unexpectedly stops working correctly, it quickly becomes a frustrating disruption to your daily routine.

Preventing problems with proper maintenance is key to ensuring your gas hot water system continues operating efficiently for years to come. Like other household appliances, gas hot water systems require regular servicing and periodic repairs to keep everything in good working order.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything Brisbane homeowners need to know about maintaining their gas hot water heater. This advice lets you keep your gas hot water system running optimally, avoiding unexpected breakdowns and expensive emergency repairs down the line.

Why Yearly Maintenance Is Crucial For Gas Hot Water Systems

Maintaining your water heater regularly and servicing your gas hot water system annually is one of the best ways to prevent issues and keep it operating at peak efficiency.

Gas hot water systems have several components that must be inspected, tested, and replaced periodically. This includes the gas valves, ignition controls, pressure relief valves, anode rods, and various hoses and fittings. Over time, these parts wear out from regular use and exposure to elements like water, minerals and sediment.

Without maintenance, the small issues that develop can eventually lead to complete hot water system failure or dangerous gas leaks. However, with a yearly service from a qualified gas plumber, minor problems get identified and repaired early before causing bigger headaches.


An annual hot water service will check and test all components for proper and safe functioning. The plumber can also flush out any built-up sediment that interferes with performance and longevity. Replacing common wear-and-tear parts like valves and anode rods extends the system’s lifespan significantly.

Investing in preventative maintenance now saves you money in the long run by avoiding costly emergency callouts and major repairs later on. Well-maintained gas hot water systems can provide up to a decade of reliable hot water versus struggling along for a few years before failing if neglected.

So, make it a habit to book a yearly maintenance service with a licenced Brisbane plumber. Properly maintaining your gas hot water system gives you peace of mind, knowing your family will have hot water when needed.

Warning Signs Your Gas Hot Water System Needs A Service

While yearly maintenance is ideal, it’s important to watch for any abnormalities in your gas hot water system throughout the year. Awareness of the warning signs means you can address problems promptly before they escalate.

Here are some of the most common indicators that your gas hot water system may need servicing:

  • Strange new noises – Listen for unusual rumbling, banging, or high-pitched squealing noises from the unit. This often signals internal wear and tear.

  • Leaking water – Dripping or pooling water around the unit indicates a leak somewhere in the system. Leaks should be repaired immediately to prevent water damage or dangerous electrical issues.

  • Faulty temperature and pressure relief valve – If the TPR valve is dripping or discharging very hot water occasionally, it likely needs replacing.

  • Reduced hot water flow – Notice the hot water running out quicker than normal or weaker pressure? Sediment buildup is a likely cause.

  • Rust accumulation – Check for rust spots outside the hot water tank. It’s a sign of internal corrosion.

  • Foul odours – Unusual rotten egg smells may mean a gas leak. Turn off the unit and call a plumber urgently.

  • Chimney Smoke – Smoke coming from the flue can indicate combustion issues.

  • Higher energy bills – A spike in gas usage points to an inefficient system requiring maintenance.

Never ignore warning signs or assume minor issues will fix themselves. Call a Brisbane plumber promptly whenever your hot water tanks or system seems off. Timely repairs prevent more extensive damage down the road.


Simple DIY Maintenance You Can Do

While it’s ideal to have a licensed plumber handle your annual hot water system maintenance, there are a few basic tasks you can DIY in between professional servicing.

Here are some simple maintenance steps to keep your gas hot water system operating properly:

  • Inspect the pressure relief valves – Located near the top of the tank, the TPR valve is an important safety component that should be tested 1-2 times per year. Briefly lift the lever and check that the water flows out as expected. Replace it if the valve is stuck shut or leaking.

  • Drain and flush the tank – Sediment buildup reduces efficiency over time. Once a year, attach a hose to the drain valve and flush out a few gallons to clear sediment. Let it refill, and repeat 1-2 times.

  • Check supply lines and fittings – Inspect all gas and water lines for leaks, corrosion, kinks, or cracks. Tighten any loose pipe fittings. Replace deteriorated rubber washers and hoses.

  • Test for gas leaks – Wipe gas fittings with soapy water and look for bubbles. Bubbles indicate a leak that needs professional repair for safety.

  • Inspect exhaust flue – Ensure the flue remains clear of obstructions and vents properly outside.

  • Clean the burner – Use a vacuum with a brush attachment to gently remove dust and debris from the burner.

  • Check water filters – Replace any old water filters connected to the hot water system.

Occasionally performing these simple maintenance tasks lets you keep your gas hot water system running smoothly and minimise repair needs between professional servicing. But call a plumber immediately if you encounter any issues beyond your DIY abilities.

Making the Repair vs Replacement Decision

If your aging gas hot water system needs a major repair, you may be faced with deciding whether to fix it or replace the entire unit. This can be a difficult decision. Here are some factors to help determine if repairing or replacing your system makes the most financial sense:

Repair Considerations:

  • Age of the system – Older systems over 8-10 years are reaching the end of their lifespan when repairs are no longer worthwhile.
  • Extent of damage – Comprehensive repairs involving the heat exchanger, gas valve or other core components may not be cost-effective.
  • Frequency of repairs – Constant repairs due to pervasive issues indicate replacement should be considered.
  • Availability of parts – Obsolete systems where parts are difficult to source favor replacement.
  • Efficiency benefits – Repairs will not improve energy efficiency like a new system.

Replacement Considerations:

  • High upfront cost – The substantial price of a new system may not fit your current budget.
  • Installation costs – All replacement costs, like removal and installation labour, should be calculated.
  • New warranty – An extended 5-10-year warranty offers better protection than continued repairs.
  • Improved efficiencyA new Energy Star-rated unit will significantly save costs.
  • Later replacement – Replacing a marginally functioning system now prevents emergencies later.

Carefully weighing all these factors will determine if replacement or repair is the smarter choice in the long run. Consult a licenced Brisbane plumber for their professional recommendation. They can assess if your system is beyond viable repair and guide you on selecting a suitable new one if needed.

Contact Brisbane's Gas Hot Water Experts

While some basic gas hot water system maintenance can be DIY, there are many scenarios where a professional plumber is essential. Never attempt complex repairs or work with gas lines yourself.

At The Brisbane Plumbers, our gas-certified plumbers have the experience, skills and tools to quickly identify and resolve any problems with your gas hot water system. We handle repairs, maintenance, installation and replacement of all makes and models.

Don’t wait till you have an urgent hot water crisis. Schedule annual maintenance now with Brisbane’s top-rated plumbers to keep your system running reliably for years. Call us on 0450 932 850 or use our online booking form to request a service.