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For most homeowners, unless their hot water supply has stopped they will rarely think about their hot water system. In fact, leaking hot water systems can go unnoticed for days or even weeks depending on the severity of the leak.

However, a leaking hot water system can not only cause further damage to the system, but may also cause water damage to your floors, walls, and furniture. That’s why it’s important to regularly have your hot water system serviced to prevent an unexpected leak.

There are a number of factors that can cause a hot water system to spring a leak including a faulty pressure relief valve, a damaged tank, loose pipe fittings and high water pressure. And depending on the cause of the leak, fixing the problem can range from a minor repair to having to replace the entire system.

Below is our complete guide to leaking hot water systems including:

  • How Do You Know If The Leak Requires Repairs?
  • How To Fix A Leaking Hot Water System
  • What Causes Leaking Hot Water Systems?

How Do You Know If The Leak Is Fine Or Requires Repairs?

A leaking hot water system can be a sure sign that your hot water system requires repairs or even needs to be replaced. However, a small amount of water dripping from the valves of the system is normal.

The best way to determine whether or not the leaking water is normal or an indication of a failing hot water system is to monitor the leaking water. Specifically, monitor the amount of water coming from the system and the frequency with which it is dripping.

Pressure relief valves are designed to release pressure from the inside of the tank by periodically expelling small amounts of water. So, if there is only a small amount of water coming from the tank every now and then, this is likely only the pressure relief valve doing its job.

However, if there is a constant stream of dripping water or large amounts of water leaking from the system, this can be an indication of a serious problem.

At Sun City we put the customer first and will always try to repair your hot water system before trying to sell you a replacement unless it’s not possible or not worth it for you. Call 1300 728 122 today for all of your hot water needs.

How To Fix Leaking Hot Water System

The number one thing to remember when your hot water heater is leaking is to take action as soon as you notice the leak. This is extremely important as ignoring the leak can turn what would have been a minor repair into a big problem, and possibly even a system replacement.

The first thing to do once you have noticed a leak is to identify where the leak is coming from.

1) Identify The Leak

You will need to verify that the leak is actually coming from the hot water system or the pipes coming in and out of the system rather than a nearby pipe as these are two separate issues. If the water is coming from the hot water tank you will need to locate the origin of the leak whether it be the top or bottom of the water tank or the pressure/temperature relief valve.

Once again, it is important to note that small amounts of water dripping occasionally from the pressure relief valve is normal.

Leaking From The Pressure Relief Valve

If you find that the leak is coming from the pressure relief valve, simply lift the lever on the valve three or four times. This will open and close the valve in order to clear any blockage. If the leak stops after you have cleared the valve then you will not need to call a professional as it was only caused by a blockage in the valve.

Alternatively, if the leak persists after you have open and shut the pressure relief valve multiple times then you will need to call a hot water specialist as the valve may need to be replaced – this is a minor, inexpensive repair.

Leaking From The Top Or Bottom

If you have an electric or solar hot water system and the leak appears to be coming from the top or bottom of the tank, the first thing you need to do is turn off the power supply to the hot water system. In most cases a hot water system will have its own circuit breaker in the fuse box meaning you will be able to cut the power to the system while maintaining the power supply to your other appliances.

Turning off the power supply before inspecting a leaking electric or solar hot water system is extremely important as water and electricity do not mix well and could cause serious injury. Additionally, if your hot water tank is leaking you don’t want a heating element running in an almost empty tank.

Similarly, if you have a gas hot water system it’s important to turn off the gas supply before inspecting a leaking hot water system. Simply look for a gas pipe running into the bottom or side of the system and turn off the tap or lever to cut the gas supply.

2) Turn Off The Water

Once you have identified the origin of the leak you will need to turn off the water supply to the hot water system. This will help to prevent further damage from leaking water.

Turning Off The Water At The Hot Water System

There should be a small black tap or round dial on a pipe that leads into the bottom of the system. This is the cold water supply. Turn the tap clockwise until it is fully turned off. If you can’t find the tap or it has corroded or seized up you will need to turn off the water supply from the water mains.

Turning Off The Water At The Water Mains

In most homes the water mains will be located at the front or side of the house near the water meter. If you live in an apartment then try looking under the laundry or kitchen sink. Once you have located the water mains, turn the tap clockwise until it is fully off.

Note: Before turning off the water at the water mains you may want to fill some bottles of water for drinking and some buckets to use to flush the toilet while you’re waiting for the hot water specialist to arrive.

3) Call A Professional

In most cases, a leaking hot water system is an indication of a bigger problem. Although you may find a quick fix for the leak that seems to work, not properly addressing the problem can lead to an even worse situation where you may end up having to replace the entire system.

When it comes to leaking hot water systems it’s important to remember that if you’re not trained to repair the system, then you should call a professional as you could even do more damage to the system without realising it. Plus, with water, electricity and gas, hot water systems can quickly cause serious injury if handled incorrectly.

It is also worth noting that a hot water professional should be called as soon as the power and water supply to the tank have been turned off. This is because a leaking hot water system can get much worse over the space of only 24 hours.

If your hot water system is leaking call your local hot water experts at Sun City on 1300 728 122.

What Causes Leaking Hot Water Systems?

There are multiple things that can cause a hot water system to leak. As mentioned above, every tank hot water system is fitted with a pressure relief valve that is designed to periodically release small amounts of water. This may happen more frequently on hot days in order to maintain the pressure in the water tank, however, it is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

But, if your hot water system begins to leak a steady flow of water then there are a few other possible causes including a damaged tank, a damaged or faulty pressure relief valve, loose pipe fittings or high water pressure inside the tank.

Damaged Tank

If a high volume of water is leaking from your hot water system then it could be an indication that the tank is damaged. This could mean that the tank has started to corrode causing cracks or fractures and allowing water to leak from the tank itself. If this is the case it is important to call a plumber straight away as the corroding will only get worse over time.

Alternatively, one of the internal components of the system may have become damaged causing water to leak out and slowly pool to eventually leak out.

Pressure Relief Valve (PRV)

Another cause of a leaking hot water tank is a damaged or faulty pressure relief valve. Although it is normal for the PRV to release small amounts of water every now and then, it should not be leaking constantly. If there is a puddle underneath the PRV it can be an indication that the valve may be damaged and need replacing.

This can be caused by tiny particles of dust and grit becoming caught in the valve and damaging the seal. In order to prevent your PRV from becoming damaged by grit and other particles it is important to have your hot water system regularly serviced by a hot water specialist. If your system does have a damaged pressure relief valve it is a relatively inexpensive part to replace and will extend the life of your hot water system.

Loose Pipe Fittings

Loose pipe fittings can also cause hot water systems to leak. The pipe fitting on a hot water system can loosen over time which can allow water to leak from the system. This can be exacerbated by harsh weather conditions.

In some cases leaking pipe fittings can be repaired, however, in other cases the entire system will need to be replaced. If you’re not sure whether your hot water system should be repaired or replaced, contact your local hot water experts at Sun City on 1300 728 122 today.

Water Pressure

Another factor that can cause a hot water tank to leak is high water pressure. If the water pressure at your house is higher than what your hot water system was designed for it can cause the tank to leak. However, this can be easily fixed by simply installing a pressure limiting valve (PLV).

Sun City can test whether or not the water pressure in your house is too high for your hot water system. If this is the case, we can also inexpensively replace and install a new pressure limiting valve to your hot water system.

Whether you require a minor repair to a complete system replacement including the installation of a new system and disposal of the broken one, Sun City Hot Water & Plumbing has got you covered. Our team of experienced and highly trained technicians are familiar with hot water system from all of the main manufacturers in the Australian market. Call 1300 728 122 to have your hot water back up and running as quickly as possible and at a great price!


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