Hot water systems can be problematic. When they’re working, you would hardly every think about them. But as soon as they start playing up, it can be frustrating and very stressful.
Usually, all a hot water system needs is a service or repair to get it back into perfect working order. But eventually, there will come a time in every hot water system’s life when it needs to be replaced completely.
So how can you tell when a hot water system just needs to be fixed or that it’s reached the end of its working life?
The following signs all point to the fact that hot water system might be on its last legs. If you run through this list and check each of them as soon as you notice any issues with your hot water system, you’ll have a pretty good idea of whether it’s time to organise a repair, or start looking at replacement options.
How old is the hot water system?
Typically, a hot water system is expected to last around 8 to 12 years. If you have the original manufacturer’s manual and warranty, you should be able to get a more accurate time frame for your specific system, but in general, after 10 years you’ve probably got your money’s worth.
If your hot water system is closer to 15-20 years old, and it has started playing up (making noises or tepid water), it’s almost certainly time to replace the unit.
If you’re in an older property, or you don’t have any information about when the hot water system was installed, it’s a good idea to get a professional plumber out to take a look and determine whether it can be repaired.
Is the water hot enough?
One of the first signs that people notice with their hot water systems is their showers often turning cold halfway through, or failing to heat up enough at all.
Before you rush out to replace the whole system, this problem can be often be caused by a faulty thermostat or a broken heating element. Sometimes, resetting the thermostat can improve the situation almost immediately. Replacing the thermostat might be the only work needed to restore full heating functionality.
Is there rust or sludge around the fittings?
Corrosion around your hot water system’s fittings means you almost certainly have a leak. Try tightening all the fittings. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you might need to replace the fittings. Hot water system leaks are often difficult to fix, so it’s best to call a professional plumber to assess the best course of action.
Is there a sizzling or hissing noise coming from the tank?
If your hot water system starts making a lot of noise, this is often a sign that it’s on the way out. However, a hissing or sizzling noise could simply be a faulty relief valve trying to discharge waste, which will probably need replacement, but not necessarily a whole unit replacement.
This is something you can do this yourself, but make sure you get the correct type of valve with the correct pressure rating. If there is a leak evident, it may need replacement. It’s always best to call an expert it to check it for you.
Need to replace the hot water system?
If it turns out that the best option is to complete replace your hot water system, there are some common mistakes that people make which you will need to avoid.
The first decision you’ll need to make when replacing your hot water system is the heating method: do you want to use electricity, gas, or solar?
There are a wide range of hot water systems available that could lower your energy bill plus reduce the amount of greenhouse gas you produce. Both the heating method and the size of your hot water system could have an effect on how much you pay each quarter.
For example, you can save a substantial amount of money by not buying a hot water system that is larger than what your household needs. The initial cost plus the ongoing running costs are likely to be reduced.
If you’re set on replacing your old system with a similar one, make sure you check the government regulations in your area. Some older systems now have restrictions on them due to green initiatives.
The professional plumbers at The Brisbane Plumbers are experts in helping Brisbane families get access to reliable hot water from hot water systems that last.
Whether you need simple repair work, a whole new hot water system, or aren’t sure, our friendly team will be happy to give you advice that suits your family’s needs. Get in touch any time!