Troubleshooting Common Hot Water Problems

When you have the joys of indoor plumbing and hot water you also have the responsibility of maintenance and repairs when things go wrong. Here are some common hot water system problems you might experience, what it might be and what you can do about it.
Common Hot Water Problems

When you have the joys of indoor plumbing and hot water you also have the responsibility of maintenance and repairs when things go wrong. There are a number of things you might notice happening, your hot water system leaking, no hot water, low hot water pressure, odd noises and more. Here are some common hot water system problems you might experience, what it might be and what you can do about it, including if you have a leak.

What are you faced with?

It is not fun when you have problems with your water heater. You need to take a shower, you are running out of clean underwear, you have no coffee mugs left! Maybe you use hot water to heat your home and it is winter right now. Whether you are running a gas hot water system or an electric hot water system, having no hot water is a pain. Some common hot water problems include:

  • Odd noises like rumbling, whining or popping
  • No hot water at all
  • Some hot water but not enough
  • A bad odour like rotten eggs
  • Rusty leaking water
  • Hot water tank leaking around the base

This post will help you diagnose the issue and possibly fix it yourself if the problem is simple. But before you start anything, remember fiddling with gas or electric hot water system components is the realm of qualified local plumbers.

No hot water available at all

Several things might cause you to not have any hot water at all. It might be something simple like a pilot light that has gone out, the element in the tank is not working, it has been turned off, or it might be a thermocouple that has spoiled or a gas control valve that is now faulty. There are a few things that can be done depending on the cause and the age of the hot water system. You can tighten or replace the thermocouple, replace the valve or element, and relight the pilot light or turn it back on. If it is something more complicated or you see the hot water system leaking from the top you might need to call in your local Adelaide plumbers.

Some hot water but not a lot

Another common issue is that your hot water pressure is low. This is often caused by a leak which we’ll get to soon. Does your hot water run out completely? This can happen in regions that have hard water as the scale in the water can form on the metals in the tank. Even just a little scale can affect the capacity of your heater. It might also be a case of having a hot water system tank that is too small for the demand you are placing on it. When a hot water system is overtaxed you are more likely to face things like not enough hot water. Inadequate hot water can also sometimes happen when the installation is not done well so make sure you use a top company.

Are you smelling rotten eggs?

When bacteria get into the tank and it feeds on the sediment in there it can create hydrogen gas and that mixing with the decaying anode can lead to the rotten egg smell. Flushing the system and then adding a 3% peroxide solution helps clean that out and is also good to clean the water lines out with. The solution should sit in the tank for a couple of hours and it does not need rinsing after. If you are unsure about this though, then talk to a professional.

Is there water coming from a leak at the base of the heater?

If you have a leaking hot water system from the base of the water heater you will need to shut it all down and call someone in. This is likely going to need a hot water system replacement. It could burst at any time and flood your home and that is not worth pushing and waiting to see. First, be sure it is coming from the heater though, sometimes you can mistake water coming from the hot water system when it could be coming from another source.

Are you seeing rusty water?

Your hot water tank leaking looks like rusty water. This could be due to a failing sacrificial anode. These rods are placed to prevent the tank from rusting so when they fail, the rust takes over and you see it in the leaking water. It can also be a sign there is corrosion in the tank. Thankfully the anode rods are easy enough to find and replace. Just head to a plumbing or hardware supply store and get a new one!

Nobody wants a cold shower. If you’re experiencing hot water problems in Adelaide, get it sorted out quickly with the experts at Fawcett Plumbing!

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