Hot Water Service
No Hot Water?
Your hot water has gone cold – what should you do, call a plumber or an electrician? You don’t want to waste your time or money paying for someone to turn up if you really need the one or the other, so how can you make an informed decision? Here are a couple of tips to help you decide.
(If you’re still not sure, give us a call on 0420 705 482 and we’ll help you sort it out).
Is there water at the tap?
If you have plenty of cold or lukewarm water coming out of the hot taps you probably need an electrician.
If there is no water, or a reduced amount of water coming out of the tap, you probably need a plumber.
Has the fuse blown?
Have you checked that the circuit breaker tripped or fuse blown? If so, you probably need an electrician, unless there are signs of water leaking around the cylinder in which case you probably need a plumber.
Any sign of leaks?
Check for signs of water around the base of the cylinder to see if there are any signs of rust on the external casing of the cylinder. If there is a leaking cylinder this usually means that it needs to be replaced. A rusted mains pressure cylinder cannot be repaired.
Sometimes the cylinder can leak around the element, making the area rusty.
Water leaking around the element can also affect the electrical connections, causing a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. Sometimes replacing the element can solve the problem but corrosion from a loose element can destroy an otherwise good cylinder.
SGS Electrical And Data recommend a regular check for water leaks is a good idea.
Check the pressure relief valve
There will be a pipe running from the pressure relief valve on the side of the cylinder to an outside drain. Check the amount of water running out of this pipe. A correctly operating valve will only let out a small amount of water. Probably less than a cup each day.
If there is water constantly running out the pipe you have a problem with the pressure relief valve. There is a lever on top of the valve that you can lift to let water out through the valve. Sometimes lifting the lever will reset the valve and solve the problem.
If the valve is faulty it needs to be replaced by a plumber – unless the problem is caused by a stuck thermostat, in which case you need an electrician.
A faulty thermostat can keep the water heating until it’s almost boiling. The pressure inside the cylinder builds up until the pressure relief valve does it’s job and lets some water out.
Replacing your cylinder
If your cylinder does need replacing, most of the work is plumbing work and some plumbers are authorised to disconnect and reconnect the wiring when replacing a cylinder. However, it’s wise to have an electrician attend if the cylinder does need to be replaced, especially if you are going from a low pressure to mains pressure unit.
Most plumbers are pretty good, but they are not electricians and new cylinders are sometimes reconnected to old wiring which is too small to safely handle the load of the element in the new cylinder. Fire, electric shock, insurance problems, warranty problems and running out of hot water are all possible in such circumstances.
All new hot water cylinders are physically larger than the older models as they are now required to have more insulation around them. This can cause problems if your cylinder is presently located in a laundry cupboard for example. Your new cylinder may have to be moved outside and that is definitely a job for both a plumber and an electrician.