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Introduction to Hot Water System Maintenance

Regular servicing of your hot water heater is crucial for efficiency, longevity, avoiding breakdowns, and ensuring safety. Hot water heating accounts for approximately 21% of home energy usage, so Properly maintaining continuous flow systems also reduces energy costs.

Routine inspections, adjustments and maintenance tasks will extend your hot water unit’s lifespan. This includes checking for leaks, managing water temperatures and pressure, testing relief valves, replacing anode rods, flushing sediment, and insulating pipes and tanks for peak performance, some of which can be DIY tasks. Some basic maintenance can be undertaken by homeowners, but professional servicing is recommended every 1-2 years.

This guide explains how regular maintenance benefits your heat pump water heater, outlines service requirements and highlights signs indicating the need for attention. Proactive maintenance enhances the life your hot water system, promoting longevity, efficiency and safety, avoiding costly repairs down the track.

Performing Routine Inspections and Preventative Care

Homeowners can conduct monthly inspections to check for leaks, corrosion, and damage, catching problems early. This involves visual checks of pipes, joints, valves and the storage tank. Also monitor for changes in water flow, temperature or pressure, which can indicate issues.

Key areas to inspect for proper function to heat water in your tank are:

  • Water temperature and pressure settings
  • Leaks around joints, valves, and particularly the outlet pipe
  • Corrosion around fittings and connectors
  • Damages like cracks or dents to the tank

It’s important to check valves, such as the TPR and isolation valves, for proper functioning. Test your pressure relief TPR valve, also known as the temperature pressure relief valve, manually every six months.

Regular anode replacement is critical to prevent corrosion inside the tank. Anodes should be replaced when they’re 60-70% eroded, which can be determined by annual checks.

While you can typically handle anode replacement, valve testing and minor leak repairs, it’s best to leave more complex repairs or parts replacement to professionals.

Best practice involves a comprehensive service by a licensed plumber every 1-2 years for checks and maintenance that go beyond DIY capabilities. Consult our Licenced Plumbers at Cronulla Plumbing for professional servicing to keep your hot water system running efficiently.

Checking for Leaks

It is very important to regularly check your water systems and related piping for leaks to catch issues early. Even minor leaks should be promptly addressed to prevent water damage or electric shock risks.

Conduct visual inspections around these areas:

  • Water storage tank
  • Pipe joints and fittings
  • Isolation valves
  • Pressure relief and tempering valves
  • Areas below the tank

Check for signs like dampness, mineral deposits, rust stains or mould around your water tank. Running your hand along pipes can detect moisture from small leaks, a typical household plumbing issue. Position a container underneath to catch drips for verification.

Watch for unexpected rises in utility bills, as they may suggest issues with your hot water system. Catching problems early with maintenance tips to help prevent issues with your gas hot water system is more cost effective, preventing extensive damage requiring major repairs down the track.

If your hot water system shows any signs of leak, corrosion or other issues, turn off the water supply immediately. Then call your team at Cronulla Plumbing on 1300 349 338 to schedule prompt repairs.

Testing Relief Valves

A TPR valve is a safety feature on water heaters that releases excess pressure to prevent damage or explosions. Routine testing of TPR valves is crucial to ensure they activate when necessary.

Follow this process to safely test relief valves of various water systems:

  1. Locate the valve on the side of the tank. It will have a lever and discharge pipe directed downwards.
  2. Ensure proper venting hot water systems, checking the discharge pipe ends safely outside with no bends/obstructions.
  3. Hold a container under the discharge pipe outlet.
  4. Lift the relief valve lever for 10-15 seconds and observe the water discharge to check functionality; it should stop when the lever is closed.
  5. Ensure water flows freely; if it doesn’t, or the valve doesn’t seal after release, contact Cronulla Plumbing for urgent repairs.
  6. Test the valve manually every six months and replace it every 5-7 years as recommended.

The temperature pressure relief valve is vital for releasing dangerous pressure buildup in hot water systems. Ensure valves are maintained, tested routinely and replaced when expired for optimal protection.

Replacing Sacrificial Anode Rods

Sacrificial anode rods are metal rods installed inside tank to actively prevent corrosion. Made from aluminium or magnesium, they attract corrosion to themselves instead of allowing the tank to corrode.

Checking and ensuring anode rods are replaced every few years inside the tank is essential maintenance. Inspect annually and replace when eroded 60-70% to maximise the tank’s lifespan. Replacement is typically needed every 4-5 years.

Replacing anodes every four to five years, a crucial task for tank health, typically involves:

  1. Turning off water supply and power to the tank
  2. Draining the tank
  3. Removing the old anode rod from your water heater tank
  4. Cleaning the fitting threads
  5. Installing new anode and refilling tank
  6. Restoring water supply and power

For safety, this process is best left to qualified professionals. Consult our expert Cronulla Plumbing team to handle anode replacement.

Maintaining the sacrificial anode preserves hot water tank integrity, avoiding leaks and expensive repairs. Anodes require routine replacement to keep hot water systems running efficiently for years.

Flushing Sediment from the Tank

Sediment buildup in your tank system can impact performance and efficiency, so it’s essential to keep your water heater clean. Annually flushing the tank helps remove this sediment to keep it running optimally.

Flushing involves:

  1. Turning off the power supply to the hot water system
  2. Attaching a hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank
  3. Opening the drain valve to release water flow until it runs clear with no sediment
  4. Closing drain valve and refilling tank by turning water supply back on
  5. Restoring power once tank is full

Annual flushing, based on your system’s needs and manufacturer recommendations, optimises efficiency by preventing mineral sediment buildup. If tank flushing advice is needed, consult our experts at Cronulla Plumbing.

Setting Proper Water Temperatures

Setting the water temperature on hot water tanks correctly optimises efficiency and prevents potential bacteria growth.

Storage tanks should be set to at least 60°C to kill Legionella bacteria. Temperatures without adequate temperature relief put households at risk. At the same time, ensure it remains below 75°C to avoid scalding.

Your solar hot water system or tankless water heaters can be set lower around 50°C since cold water isn’t stored, making them an efficient alternative. This uses less energy while still providing comfort and safety. New units often have digital displays showing temperature.

Make sure you adjust the thermostat and check with a thermometer that the desired temperature range has been reached. Consider timers or solar pre-heating to further maximise efficiency.

Getting temperature right saves money through improved efficiency while protecting from harmful bacteria for safety. Consult Cronulla Plumbing if your hot water system requires adjustment guidance.

Insulating Your Hot Water System

Insulating hot water pipes and tanks effectively improves efficiency and conserves energy. Hot water pipes in cooler environments lose heat, which can also lead to energy loss from your tank.

Insulating pipes and tanks creates a temperature barrier to retain heat longer. Benefits of insulation include:

  • Reduced standby heat losses from pipework and tanks - retaining more heat in the water
  • Lower energy usage and costs to reheat cooled water
  • Avoids pipes freezing in cold climates
  • Prevents condensation buildup leading to corrosion

Insulating water heaters and the first metre or so of piping conserves approximately 185kWh yearly and saves over $150 on your energy bills.

Properly insulating all pipework, bends, and joints ensures consistent hot water availability. Use premium insulation products, such as polyethylene foam tubing or rubber foam sleeves, designed for plumbing applications. Consult our team at Cronulla Plumbing if you need advice selecting suitable hot water insulation products.

Hiring a Professional Plumber

It’s recommended to engage qualified plumbers for thorough hot water system maintenance beyond annual servicing. Our Cronulla Plumbing team comprises licensed experts who offer:

  • Biannual maintenance checks covering all critical components
  • Testing and replacing relief valves
  • Inspecting anodes and flushing sediment from tanks
  • Adjusting thermostats for ideal temperatures
  • Ensuring correct water pressure and resolving leaks
  • Providing maintenance reports with photos documenting service

With routine professional maintenance tips followed and having your system serviced every 2 years as recommended, the longevity, efficiency and safety of your hot water system is ensured. Contact our friendly team at Cronulla Plumbing on 1300 349 338 to book your maintenance service.

Safety Issues and When to Call a Professional

Maintaining your hot water heaters poses certain safety risks that should be noted. Take care when draining tanks or testing valves, as water exceeding 50°C can cause scalds. Switch off power and water supply before accessing electrical or gas components to prevent electric shock or gas leaks.

It is advisable to call our professional team at Cronulla Plumbing immediately if you experience:

  • Total hot water system failure
  • Sudden loss of hot water
  • Significant water leakage
  • Faulty gas burner issues or flue exhaust problems
  • Electrical faults like tripped safety switches
  • Relief or tempering valve failure

Our licenced technicians can promptly and safely inspect faults and undertake necessary repairs. We have extensive experience managing hazardous plumbing issues while ensuring full compliance with Australian Standards.

For your own safety and for timely and proper issue diagnosis regarding your gas water heater, contact Cronulla Plumbing on 1300 349 338 whenever significant hot water system problems arise.

Conclusion and Contact Information

Regular maintenance of electric hot water heaters is essential for efficiency, longevity, and safety. Homeowners should conduct routine monthly checks to identify leaks or damage early. Replacing sacrificial anodes, testing valves, insulating tanks/pipes and adjusting thermostats can also optimise performance.

However, comprehensive servicing by qualified professionals to service every valve which might need attention every 1-2 years is highly recommended. Our expert team at Cronulla Plumbing offer a full maintenance package inspecting all critical components and servicing to Australian Standards.

For licensed servicing or repairs, call us on 1300 349 338 or email jobs@cronullaplumbingservice.com.au to book an appointment. Proactive maintenance enhances efficiency, prevents issues and gives peace of mind that your hot water system is running reliably for years.

News & Information

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Maintain your hot water system effectively

To keep your hot water system operating efficiently you should drain the tank annually to remove sediment, check the temperature relief valve every 6 months and replace the anode rod every 5 years. Simple maintenance can extend the life of your system. Contact Cronulla Plumbing to book a hot water service.

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