Home » Our plumbers share 8 common hot water heater problems

Our plumbers share 8 common hot water heater problems

We’re heading into cooler weather – and now is the time to start prepping for a chilly winter!

That means refreshing your winter wardrobe, giving your heater a test run to ensure it’s still working properly and of course, making sure your hot water system is ready to handle another cold snap.

Hot water unit repairs and installations are a key part of home maintenance in the lead-up to winter – just imagine going through winter with mediocre hot showers!

Just as with any other part of your home’s plumbing, while hot water units will last for a long time, they’re still subject to damage and even wear-and-tear over the years.

While yours may have given years of reliable service, who’s to say that this isn’t the winter where it finally gives up? 

If you want a reliable and functional hot water system, our plumbers in Brighton can help you make sure that your hot water unit is in good condition for the cold months ahead.

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What is the most common problem with water heaters?

While it may not sound like it, a hot water issue can be a major problem – and one that justifies calling a 24 hour emergency plumbing service in Melbourne.

We’ll send someone over as quickly as possible to deal with a wide range of issues with your hot water system, which can lead to a number of problems…

No hot water

You turn the taps and wait for hot water. And wait. And wait.

Despite how long you hold on for, you’re rewarded for your patience with nothing more than cold water.

If you’ve turned on your hot water system and there are no signs of hot water coming out of your system, then you might be encountering a faulty hot water system.

The issue may be with individual heating elements that no longer work, the gas connection  that powers it or a faulty thermostat or thermal switch.

Whatever it is, it’s important to get it inspected by a professional – that’s the only way to identify the issue and get it fixed.

Water leaks

Leaks are one of the most common hot water problems that many homeowners encounter.

If you notice a mini lake forming around your hot water system outside, then it might be time to arrange for hot water repairs in Melbourne.

An old and worn-out hot water tank can spring a leak along its base, reducing the amount of hot water you’re able to enjoy.

Another potential issue is a damaged drain valve (located at the bottom of your tank).

Like the name suggests, this valve plays a key role in drainage – and it can also often wear out and result in leaks.

When this happens, your water heater will need to be inspected and repaired by a plumber in Cheltenham.

Faulty pressure and temperature relief valve (PTRV) 

How hot is too hot?

Water that’s too hot is dangerous – not only that, but it’s also in violation of Australian law!

Under Australian law, hot water systems are legally restricted to 50 degrees celsius, tops. While it might sound low, consider this:

  • At 68°C, it can take as little as one second to cause a full thickness scald
  • Whereas at 50°C degrees, it takes a full five minutes


The key element responsible for regulating the temperature is your temperature relief valve. 

If this valve fails, you might be at risk of burning yourself.

That isn’t the only valve that can cause hot water issues, either.

Your pressure relief valve is responsible for regulating hot water pressure, stabilising water pressure inside your hot water tank and reducing pressure-related damage.

Not enough hot water

Running out of hot water while halfway through a shower can be frustrating to say the least.

While this is usually the result of your tank not having enough capacity, in other cases, it can be a sign that something is wrong with your hot water supply.

So if there is not enough hot water for everyone in your household – and if this has never been an issue before – it might be time to get it looked at.

And if it turns out you are in need of replacement, our professional team can help you choose the right hot water system for your home.

Low water pressure

Have you noticed low water pressure whenever you use your hot water system? Does water come out in a trickle rather than a stream?

While there are many potential causes, oftentimes it’s the result of an issue with your hot water system – specifically, it could suggest that your hot water system may be clogged with water deposited minerals.

Water heating can often result in mineral deposits ending up in your pipes – luckily, it’s something our plumbers can clear for you.

Strange noises

A well-maintained hot water system should operate silently. Needless to say, any strange gurgling and other noises coming from it are a sure sign that something’s wrong!

Whether it’s mineral and sediments creating a blockage or a high pitched sound that indicates some sort of mechanical failure, it’s best to consult your Brighton plumber about the issue.

Smelly hot water

Does your water smell foul and rotten? Does it only smell when you’ve turned the hot water on?

If so, that’s a sure sign that something’s wrong with your hot water system such as mould or bacteria inside. Not only are they smelly and unpleasant, but they can also be a health risk!

You can fix this by calling a plumber to flush your water heater. This involves heating it to its maximum temperature to kill any bacteria that might be lingering in your tank and system, before washing it out.

Rusty water

Hot water systems contain a lot of metal pieces and parts – in many cases, the heating elements themselves are made of metal.

And one thing that we all know about metal is that it rusts.

If your hot water looks rusty, take this as a sign that your hot water system is starting to get old. In some cases, its life can be extended by replacing the rusty components – in others however, it might simply be better to replace it altogether.

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How do I get my hot water working again?

Replace or repair: it’s a decision you might find yourself having to make, especially if your hot water inspection identifies problems with your hot water system.

So, which one’s the right call for you?

It depends on a number of factors:

  • Your system’s age
  • How energy-efficient it is
  • Cost of repairs
  • Access to spare parts
  • The type of issue

Do you call a plumber to fix a hot water heater?

Many assume that when it comes to hot water, they need to call a specialist – this is wrong, as nowadays, many domestic and commercial plumbers in Melbourne are also qualified to provide hot water service and repair.

From routine inspections to ongoing maintenance and even installing new hot water systems, our team of plumbers can do it for you.

Do hot water heaters need maintenance?

As with any other mechanical device, it’s crucial that your hot water heater receives regular ongoing maintenance to nip these types of problems in the bud.

Always remember that hot water systems are prone to wear and tear, especially with all the strain they’re under on a daily basis. That’s why you need proper water heater care and maintenance to keep it functioning for years to come.

Got problems with your water heater?

Call Watermaster Plumbing today!

If there’s one thing you need to do in the lead-up to winter, it’s ensure that your hot water system is working properly.

And that’s something our plumbing team specialises in.

Watermaster Plumbing is committed to delivering outstanding customer service on all plumbing services, including hot water services.

We’re committed to being a different type of tradie: one that takes customer service seriously, turns up on time, cleans up after ourselves and offers an all-round outstanding experience.

Contact Watermaster Plumbing on 1300 156 650 or request a quote from us today by clicking here.

2023-10-23T00:50:24+00:00 March 11th, 2021|Blog|