Waking up to a cold shower is never a nice way to start the day. The hot water system of a house is by far one of the most important appliances in the home. It needs love, care and maintenance to get you through those rough winters without any hiccups.  

Often our hot water systems can become damaged, unsafe and inefficient without us even noticing. There are 5 important things to look out for in order to become aware that your hot water system needs servicing, replacing or upgrading. 

1. Its Age 

Most hot water systems have a healthy life span of 10 years while some newer systems made of stainless steel will have a healthy life of 12 years. If your system has surpassed this or is approaching its ripe old age of 10 or 12 you might want to consider servicing or upgrading your system. Once your hot water system reaches the age of 8 – 10 the efficiency of the heater begins to decline as internal parts break down and sludge and silt can flow into your shower, bath, basin and some appliances like your washing machine.  

2. It Is Leaking

Leaking water can really affect the system, as well as the area around it. The area can become soaked and damaged. Un repaired leaks can cause mildew or mould to grow which has the potential to cause health problems. 

3. It Is Unpredictable

This might sound like a no brainer but if you are experiencing issues from your hot water system such as no hot water, hot water running out too quickly or taking too long to restore then this is a sure sign to either repair or replace your system. 

4. It Is Making Odd Noises 

You hear something go bump in the night? It is likely to be your hot water system. If you notice strange noises coming from the system it may be alerting you to a serious problem that needs attention. The strange noises you hear are generally caused by steam bubbles escaping from beneath the sediment, making a popping, banging or cracking sound. If your tank has burst it will produce more of a hiss. 

5. It Is Producing Discoloured Water. 

If brown, red or rusty coloured water is coming from your hot water system it will be due to corrosion and/or rust inside the storage tank. Corrosion will happen over time but it can be harmful to your health. As soon as you are aware of this make sure you get your tank seen to. 

Gas Vs. Electric what do I do? 

There are a few options with hot water depending on your location and services available. Gas hot water is a great option if it is available and can be either natural (direct to your property) or in tanks (gas storage) which you arrange through a gas supplier. Electric hot water systems are becoming a more popular option when natural gas is unavailable, and can be a more energy saving option.  

Let’s look a little deeper at both of these.  

Gas Hot Water 

Gas systems are often cheaper to run than their electric equivalent. There are two main types: Continuous flow and Gas storage. Whilst gas storage relies on the installation of a tank, continuous flow does not. 

Continuous flow pros: 

  • Hot water on demand 
  • Small in size 
  • Can be installed with controllers for exact water temperature 
  • Suitable for all family sizes as water is on demand 

Continuous cons: 

  • Most units need to be plugged into a power point 
  • Gas line upgrades can cause extra installation costs 
  • Most cons of Gas instantaneous are initial setup costs 
  • Can take a little longer to get hot water through to taps 

Gas Storage Pros: 

  • Cheap to purchase and install 
  • No gas line upgrades required 

Gas Storage Cons: 

  • Larger tanks 
  • Not as energy efficient 
  • Heats water that you may or may not use 

Electric – The choice is yours 

Generally, electric hot water units cause more greenhouse gas emissions and are more costly to run than gas. However, they are simple and inexpensive to install. 

Electric Pros: 

  • Inexpensive to purchase 
  • Easily installed when replacing  
  • Water heating during off – peak times can attract lower tariffs 
  • Water is stored and available even in black outs for short periods of time 

Electric Cons: 

  • More expensive to run 
  • Don’t generally last as long as instantaneous gas units as water is stored and causes rusting over time unless maintained  

If you notice anything odd about your hot water system and want to chat through some options be sure to give us a call.