Simple Ways to Troubleshoot a Hot Water System

If your hot water heater is having issues, it will be quite obvious. If your water fails to heat up after the hot water tap has been turned on or conversely, the water becomes scalding hot, water drips from your hot water tank, there are strange noises emanating from your hot water tank (such as gurgling sounds) of the water coming out of your taps is odd in colour or offensive in smell, then you can be sure that your hot water system has problems.

Here are some ways that you can troubleshoot yourself when it comes to a malfunctioning hot water heater:

Oddly coloured or foul smelling hot water

First, identify whether the problem is coming from the hot water system or the water source. If it’s just the hot water that is being affected in colour or smell, then it’s likely that your hot water system is causing the water to become tarnished. If, however, both your hot and cold water are affected, or your cold water alone, then it’s your water source that’s responsible for the issue. Various minerals can affect the colour and smell of your household water, so getting a water filter for the entire house fitted is advisable if you have determined that your hot water system is not the culprit.

Your hot water is TOO hot

As you may have guessed, if this is the case, your initial move should be to decrease the temperature of the water by adjusting your hot water heater’s thermostat dial. If the water is cooler some hours later, then you know you have rectified the problem.

If the main issue at hand is a case of extremely hot water or steam spurting out of your hot water heater, there is a problem with your temperature-pressure relief valve. Such an issue commonly arises as a result of the valve either being faulty or from having been installed incorrectly in the first place. Either way, the temperature of the water tank will need to be decreased. Once the water has cooled, the relief valve will need to be replaced. They are available from hardware and home improvement outlets all over Australia.

Lack of hot water

Sometimes, simply having a hot water heater that’s too small for your household’s needs can be the reason for not having enough hot water. If this is most likely the case, then it’s recommended that you consider a tankless water heater that will supply your household with an endless stream of hot water.

However, if you’ve never had issues with hot water supply in the past, check the thermostat dial on your hot water heater. In colder weather, it’s advisable to turn the dial up a notch as hot water heaters have to work extra hard to generate hot water in cold climates. Again, the temperature-pressure relief valve may be faulty. If so, it will need replacing.

Another possible cause of a low hot water supply can be a broken dip tube. The dip tube’s function is to send cold water to the base of the hot water tank. When a dip tube becomes damaged, cold water combines with the hot water that is en route to the hot water pipes. The tube will need to be replaced by a professional plumber.

Strange noises coming from your hot water heater

An explosion of built-up sediment in your hot water tank is most likely causing the strange gurgling or popping sounds you can hear. You may be able to fix the problem yourself by flushing or draining your water tank (your plumber can talk you through the steps). However, there is the possibility that the sediment pieces have become far too big to be able to flow through the drain valve.

When in doubt, give your local plumbing company a call. They can give you DIY tips or if required, send a professional plumber to your property to sort out your hot water heater problem for you.