Home » Hidden Dangers Of Illegal Hot Water System Installation [case study]

Hidden Dangers Of Illegal Hot Water System Installation [case study]


As we reach peak winter, households all across Melbourne are relying on their gas and electric hot water systems to keep their owners warm and comfortable.

Recently, we attended a job at a home where an internal storage hot water system was installed. It had been done illegally and did not have a safe tray. To say the results were disastrous is an understatement, and it is just another example of why it is so important to find qualified and licensed plumbers in Melbourne.


Illegal installation of the hot water system

The main thing you need to know is that in this case, a safe tray was not installed when the hot water boiler was.

If a safe tray was installed – as per Australian standards – it would have done its job: to catch water in the event of a leak. A hot water boiler is either connected to a drain or has an automatic shut valve that would have prevented the damage and costs.

Read on to learn what actually happened…


What was the damage?

We’re not really sure why the client chose to have the hot water unit installed illegally. Perhaps they were looking to save a little cash, or perhaps, more worryingly, they’d been tricked into thinking their chosen ‘tradesperson’ was registered or qualified to do so.

The unfortunate result was that the cylinder burst, and as the client could not isolate the water, their entire property was flooded. Carpets, skirting boards, and joinery were all destroyed and needed repairing.

What a disaster!



This poor client’s house was flooded due to improper installation of a hot water system.

Why did this happen?

This sort of disaster isn’t isolated to the one client.

There are two common reasons people will experience hot water catastrophes:

Proactive vs. reactive plumbing and gas work

In fact, it’s frightening how often we see these types of disasters.

An old, worn, and damaged system becomes a ticking time bomb that will go off when you least expect it, as people are rarely proactive when it comes to hot water units.

They seldom consider that their hot water system is in need of replacement or repair, so often a plumber is not called until something has already happened.

So-called ‘plumbers’ do not provide a compliance certificate

In this case, the client was not issued a compliance certificate – a glaring red flag.

It is Victorian law that a plumber provides a compliance certificate for any job over $750, which guarantees their workmanship and proves that a licensed professional undertook a job. It also prevents warranties from becoming void.

This certificate also gives customers the utmost peace of mind that the plumber they choose is insured.


A safe tray would have prevented this disaster!

Important things to know about hot water systems

If your hot water system is working overtime this winter, perhaps it’s time to get it checked? Here are a few things you should know about hot water boilers.

Gas vs. electric hot water systems

Electric installations may be cheaper to install, but they are more expensive than gas to run.

In the long run, gas is much cheaper to maintain so can be a cost-effective solution in your home.

Gas water systems also produce far less greenhouse gases than electric. Choose an energy efficient system to maximise your environmental conscience.

Pressure temperature valves

These valves play a crucial role in your hot water system: they open to release pressure when the temperature or water pressure gets high. This prevents a potential explosion. On a gas storage hot water system, these valves need to be changed every five years.

Sacrificial anodes

These metals prevent corrosion and can be changed to prolong the lifespan of your hot water unit.

During winter

If you’re looking to save a little energy (and save on your winter bills) over the next few months, try turning your thermostat down, even by just a few degrees. Many thermostats are automatically set higher than they actually need to be. Speak to your local plumber to find out if you can lower your thermostat.

Safe trays

Water heaters must be installed in a safe tray in the event of a leak and as per Australian and local codes. The omission of a safe tray in this case study resulted in complete damage to the client’s house. With proper installation, this could have been avoided.

License and registration, please

Above all, always ensure you ask to see your plumber’s licence before work commences. If they cannot provide this to you, then they’re not to be trusted!


Watermaster Plumbing Solutions

Find qualified plumbers in Melbourne who can repair, replace, and advise on your home’s hot water system this winter. Call and speak to the Watermaster team today – 1300 156 650, or fill in this form and we will be in touch.


2022-12-28T09:55:45+00:00 July 11th, 2016|Blog|