We all love our long hot showers, but what happens when that lovely warm feeling suddenly turns icy?
We often get calls from people trying to work out if they need a plumber or electrician to fix a hot water system when their hot water is not so hot.
Try this first:
- Check the circuit breaker in your
switchbox. If it has tripped, test to see if you can turn it back on.
- Check the pressure relief valve at your hot water system. There is a little lever at the top of the valve designed to test the system. See if you can lift the lever to let some water flow through the overflow pipe. You may find that your tank simply needed to be topped up (keep the valve lifted until the water flows through the overflow pipe).
Call an electrician when:
- The circuit breaker for your hot water system has tripped and will not stay on.
- Your water is warm but not cold. It is possible that the thermostat, off-peak relay switch or booster (if solar powered) may be playing up.
Call a plumber when:
- You see water leaking from the base of your hot water tank.
- There is no water coming from taps in your house.
- The base of the water tank is rusty. It’s likely that the inner tank has also rusted out and you will need to replace your system.
- There is water constantly running out of the pressure relief overflow pipe, and lifting then releasing the test lever does not stop the water running from the pipe.
- Your hot water system is more than 10 years old.
If you need your hot water system replaced, your plumber is the person who will do that for you. Some plumbers are licensed to disconnect and reconnect the wiring to hot water systems, but if you are changing sizes of tanks or styles of hot water system, then it would pay to get an electrician in to check that the wiring is up to standard and able to cope with the changed load.
And in case you were wondering why the hot water runs out faster in winter than in summer, the water coming through the pipes is up to 10 degrees cooler than in summer, so it takes a bit longer to heat up in your hot water system. When the water goes through the pipes to your taps, the colder pipes make it cool down faster so you need to use a bit more hot water to get that toasty feeling. That, and the fact that your teenagers seem to cement themselves into place under a hot shower in winter.