Hot water systems are not made to withstand issues for a long time. In most cases, even the simplest issues degenerate into more serious situations if not attended to promptly. Maintaining your hot water system and watching out for any issues is important. But what if you’ve discovered your hot water system is leaking? Here’s what to do.
How do you handle a leaking hot water system?
The best way to deal with a leaking hot water system is to understand what needs to be done ahead of time. The steps below will help you to prepare appropriately, or know what to do if you already have a leak. Inspect your unit regularly. Especially if you have high water bills or are experiencing low hot water pressure.
1. Find the source of the leak
The first step is to identify the leak source – what exact part of the hot water system is leaking? It may be the top or bottom of the tank or the pipes in and out of the tank. If the leak is from a whole new water source, that is a different scenario altogether. While you’re there you’ll find a small plate with the model number, take a photo of it for reference later.
2. Invite your local plumber or an expert in hot water systems
Now that you know the source of the leak call a local plumber immediately. Describe the leak and the model for further advice on repairs or replacement hot water systems. Only homeowners who are licensed professionals can legally and safely repair their hot water systems on their own.
3. Stay proactive
If the extent of the leak is serious, it is best to turn off your water at the mains. This will ensure that the hot water system and surrounds is not damaged any further before the arrival of the plumber. The water mains are usually at the side of your house or in the front yard. For people living in a unit apartment, check under the kitchen sink or the laundry tub. If it is not in any of these places, enquire from your strata for the exact location.
If you are not sure when your plumber will arrive, you should fill up some buckets and bottles with water to keep you running until this is fixed.
What are the causes of a leaking hot water system?
The more you allow a leaking hot water system situation to linger, the worse it gets. A waiting period of just two days is enough to make things worse. Do you wonder how these drips manage to become a gush in a matter of days?
Check out the possible culprits below:
1. Damaged tank
The most common cause of a leaking hot water system is a damaged tank. Although this is an internal issue, any leaky component of a hot water tank will force water to leak slowly from it.
2. Loose or leaking pipe joints
It is normal for fittings to lose their tightness after a long period of continuous use. The chances of this are higher during harsh weather. You can either repair these leaky pipe joints or replace them altogether.
3. Pressure Relief Valve
If your pressure and/or temperature relief valve is leaking, small amounts of water will find their way out of the tank periodically. If this continues, it becomes a bigger problem. In the case of a puddle, consider replacing your valve.
Should you replace or repair your hot water system?
What informs the decision to either repair your hot water system or replace it altogether is the cause and extent of the leak. In some cases, the only way forward is to replace the system. In the case of failed heating elements or valves, simply replacing parts can be an option.
If you are replacing your hot water system, you may want to get an identical or the same unit again. But this is not advisable, for both economic and environmental reasons. Hot water system technology has continuously evolved. Hence, there are better options out there that will offer better value and compatibility with your current home and lifestyle.
Now that you are ready to buy a new hot water system for your home, you may have to choose between various options. Do you want gas and electric hot water systems? Do you prefer tankless over tank systems? Or a system running on solar over one with a heat pump? This stage of the process is usually tricky; many homeowners struggle to make the right decision. If this is the case, talk to us about your needs. Our hot water system experts will be delighted to help you to replace your broken hot water system with the best possible option for you.