Deal with a Leaking Hot Water System in 4 Easy Steps
For most of us, the way our hot water systems work is pretty simple: you get under the shower after a long day, you revel in the steaming hot water, and you get on with the rest of your evening. It's not until there is a problem like a leaking hot water system that it even gets a second thought.
It's important to understand a little more about this very important part of your household plumbing and everyday life. For a start, make sure that every six months or so, you check and operate the relief valve. Another occasional plumbing maintenance check is to visibly check out your hot water system because something alarming might be starting to occur: Is your hot water system leaking?
But before we get to what to do about that leaking hot water system, let's explore a few things that might have gone wrong:
Why is my hot water leaking?
Hot water tank leaking. While a damaged or corroded storage tank is a fairly common cause of a hot water leak, unfortunately, it will probably require a new hot water system replacement. Most often an electric hot water tank is leaking from the top where the hot water anode is installed.
Leaking pressure relief valve. The reason you should operate this valve every six months is because they, as expected, relieve pressure. If you see hot water leaking from the valve itself, you can probably just get it replaced.
High water pressure. If the pressure in your hot water system becomes too high, it can lead to a leak. This is often due to a faulty pressure relief valve, which is designed to release water when the pressure or temperature inside the tank gets too high.
Leaking pipes and fittings. You'll notice a lot of pipes and fittings connected to your hot water system and home, and they sometimes become loose or wear. Most often the leak is at connections such as the inlet or outlet to the hot water unit. A top rated local plumber should be able to fix this sort of hot water leak for you.
So now that you have a basic understanding about what the hot water problem might be, it's time to think about what you should do if you notice your hot water system leaking.
What to do about hot water leaks
1. Don't panic
Plumbing problems generally make the heart flutter, because they can be expensive. But if you're lucky, your leaking hot water system will be less than 10 or 12 years old, meaning it could still be under a manufacturer's warranty.
2. Identify the hot water leak
As hinted at above, there are a number of different ways a hot water leak may be occurring. If it's not a pipe, the tank itself or a valve, it may not be a leaking hot water system at all - but you'll still need to call your plumber!
3. Turn the water supply off
With your hot water system leaking from somewhere, you might be tempted to ignore it if it's minor. But clearly something isn't working properly, so if it's enough to be reading this article, it's probably best to be safe by turning off both the mains water and the supply of power.
4. Turn the power supply off
Locate your home's main electrical switchboard. Find the circuit breaker that controls the hot water heater, it should be clearly labelled. Flip the switch to the "off" position. This will cut off the power to the water heater. For a gas hot water system the gas supply valve, which should be located near your leaking hot water unit. Turn off the gas supply by turning the valve handle so it is crosswise/perpendicular to the pipe.
5. Call your local plumber
With a hot water leak, and no mains water or even power, it's definitely time to call the friendly team at In Deep Plumbing! DIY hot water plumbing is not only illegal and dangerous, you're also messing with your expensive hot water system and possibly voiding your warranties and insurance, too.
Should you repair or replace a leaking hot water system?
The decision to repair or replace leaky hot water units comes down to the location of the leak and the age of the system. A simple loose fitting is a definite repair situation. You may be able to replace parts like a hot water anode or valve. Once a hot water tank is leaking that's going to need a full system replacement and usually occurs with older systems 8 years old or more.
Gold Coast homeowners have been trusting In Deep Plumbing with their hot water system repairs, replacements and installations for years. With over 20 years of experience in affordable repairs, and working with great hot water brands like Rheem, Rinnai, Aquamax and Dux, we know exactly how to get the right hot water system back up and running at your place. Call the friendly team today!