What To Do If Your Hot Water System Leaks
If your hot water system leaks, don’t put it off any longer. A bit of a leak in your hot water system may signal the onset of a much more severe problem. Today’s leak may turn into tomorrow’s gushes. In general, the lifetime of our hot water system is about ten years, depending on how well it is maintained.
We seldom give this appliance much thought since we rarely have any problems with it. The only time we truly become aware of it is when we have a hot water issue. So even a tiny leak may go undetected for an extended period, resulting in cold or no hot water flowing out of the faucets.
Hot Water Systems
Water heating accounts for 15% to 27% of your total home energy consumption, depending on where you live. It may account for up to 25% of a typical Australian home’s greenhouse gas emissions. There are little or no emissions when a renewable energy source is utilised.
There are different kinds of hot water systems but most are:
- Storage-based – Hot water is maintained in a tank and is available at all times as needed. Off-peak systems produce heat only when they are not being used.
- Instantaneous – No waiting for water to warm up in a tank.
Powering Of Water Heaters
Hot water systems are powered in several ways including:
To use solar hot water, you’ll need solar panels or evacuated tubes on the roof or the ground, as well as a storage tank. Solar hot water systems may need a gas or electricity booster in places with little mid-year light and long chilly nights.
Compared to traditional electric hot water systems, heat pump water heaters are 30 percent more energy efficient. The heat is extracted from the air via a refrigeration cycle in these systems. Heat pumps cost a lot of money upfront, but they pay for themselves over time.
Due to the need for venting, gas water heaters are often placed outside the home. The expenses of acquisition and operation are all on the higher end of the spectrum. The most popular gas water heater has a continuous flow (also known as an instantaneous flow).
In colder regions, gas storage systems are highly inefficient because of the way they store heat. They lose a lot of heat because they can’t insulate the part of the tank heated by the gas flame.
Fixing A Water Heater System Leak
Step One: Locate the leak’s source
The Thermal Expansion Valve (Pressure Relief Valve or the T&P Valve) is the most frequent culprit. It indicates there is too much pressure in the tank, and although it is the most straightforward problem to address, it is also the most concerning. The valve leaks a little water to relieve the water heater of excess pressure (150 PSI or 210 degrees).
By lifting the valve two or three times, you should be able to stop the leak completely. However, if you notice leaking hot water pouring from the faucet, the valve is likely worn out and needs to be replaced. Moreover, leaks are often discovered in the joints and plumbing pipes around and extending from the water heater. If there’s a drop or a leak in them, it could be mistaken for a water heater leak.
When the pipes start to leak, it is an indication that the water heater needs to be replaced. Additionally, one of the primary reasons for the water heater leaking is a faulty drain valve. The valve may be tightened until it fits snugly, but don’t tighten it any more than necessary if you see water leaking from it.
Another frequent location to discover a leak is in the drain valve at the water heater’s base. Drain valves often fail to shut entirely, allowing water to seep out. Drain the water heater and replace the drain valve with a new one to repair it. But hold on, before you hurry to contact a plumber, take steps to keep yourself and your home safe while you wait.
Step Two: Shut off the water supply valve
As a further step, turn off the heater’s gas or water supply by closing the water or gas intake valve and the house’s primary water or gas supply valve.
- Turn off the heater’s water system by closing the intake valve.
- Before turning off the water, fill a few buckets in the bathroom with water for your daily tasks and keep jugs and bottles of drinking water in the kitchen so that you have spare water to drink and cook with because there won’t be any running in your house.
- The water mains for most Australian houses are either in the front yard or right next to them. If you live in a strata building, it’s most likely beneath the sink or in the laundry tub, but if you can’t find it, ask your strata manager for help.
Step Three: Evaluate your choices
If your water heater has failed or been disconnected, you’ll need to know what to do next. Some individuals attempt to fix their hot water system problems independently, and this method sometimes succeeds. Most of the time, a broken hot water system indicates something more serious, and bandaging it up won’t help.
Your fast repair will eventually fall apart, and you’ll find yourself in a worse position than you were before you attempted the quick fix. In general, it’s advisable for homeowners to avoid working on their hot water system and respond quickly in the event of a leak. If you wait 24 hours or more, a hot water leak may get considerably worse.
Step Four: Contact hot water system specialists
Your hot water system should be shut down, and a professional repair service should be contacted without delay in order to rectify the situation. Keep in mind that even a minor leak in your hot water system may lead to more severe issues and shorten the lifetime of your unit if not addressed immediately.
What Causes Leaks In Your Hot Water System?
When a water system leak is unchecked, it tends to grow worse. Any of the factors listed below may cause water heater leaks.
Top or bottom tank leaks are the most frequent source of a leaking hot water system.
Leaking tanks usually indicate that an interior component has failed. An older unit at or towards the end of its life is more prone to have this issue.
Pressure relief valve fails to seal
Your pressure and temperature relief valve may be leaking. This will usually result in a few droplets of water escaping from time to time, but it should cease eventually. However, if water is constantly flowing or a puddle forms, you’ll want to get a new one.
Rough weather or other non-environmental factors may cause fittings to loosen. In this instance, you may expect your plumber to be able to handle the repairs.
When Do You Need Hot Water Repair Services?
To avoid further damage, contact hot water repair experts as soon as you see any of these symptoms.
No access to hot water
Many things may cause water to lose its heat. A tripped limit switch or a failed heating element may cause an electric hot water system problem. A failed heating element can be readily replaced. A filthy flame sensor may be the source of problems too.
Soot on the flame sensor may cause the hot water system to think there isn’t a flame, making it turn off. In gas hot water systems, the problem may potentially result from a faulty thermostat or pilot light hood. When the pilot hood, igniter, and flame sensor have faults, the whole pilot assembly must be replaced.
Loud noises that aren’t usually there
If you hear pounding noises coming from your hot water tank, check for sediment accumulation or a malfunctioning power vent mentor that may be causing the noises.
Hot water leakage
If you see water puddles forming at the base of your water heater or storage tank, there is a leak. A broken pressure relief valve may be to blame for the leak. If the inner tank is leaking, the whole tank must be replaced right away.
Discolouration caused by exposure to rust
Your hot water’s colour should be bright and clean as it exits your pipe. It’s possible that your hot water system has rusting components if the water has an orange or yellow tint. This already necessitates replacing the water heater if the whole tank is rusted.
Too hot water or no hot water
Water may be made hotter or colder than desired if the gas valve isn’t working correctly. The thermostat on an electric water heater may not be working correctly.
Expert Maintenance Of Your Hot Water System
Your home’s hot water system is critical to your well-being and the health of your family members. Maintaining a properly functioning hot water system is critical, and the good news is that you have control over it. Keeping your hot water system and your family healthy and happy may be as easy as following these basic recommendations.
Make a point of checking your hot water system at least once each month. Check for any cracks, water leaks, or general wear and tear on the system from the outside. If you do this 5-minute check once a month, you’ll catch problems early on. However, should you experience any major concerns, it is always best to contact a licensed specialist to sort out the issues for you.