Considering how much most people rely on hot water, itâ€™s surprising how little we actually think about our hot water systems. However, it is important to regularly service and maintain your hot water system to ensure that it provides you with steamy hot showers all winter long.
Hot water systems require special attention in winter because water is supplied to the system from outside, meaning that in the colder months the temperature of water entering the system is lower.
This means that your hot water system has to work harder to keep supplying you with that much needed hot water. Luckily, Sun City Hot Water & Plumbing have come up with the following simple guide to preparing your hot water system for winter.
Remove Sediment Buildup
One thing you can do to prepare your hot water system for the winter is remove any sediment build up from the bottom of the tank. Sediment buildup in a storage hot water system is an inevitability and should be regularly removed to avoid adverse effects.
Sediment build up is a result of the naturally occuring minerals in water. If left too long, a thick layer of sediment can build up at the bottom of the tank above the heating element or gas burner making it harder for the system to heat the water. This in turn reduces the overall energy efficiency of the system and can cause it to age prematurely.
Before removing a sediment buildup, first turn off the hot water system and wait for the water to cool. Once the water has cooled to a safe temperature, attach a hose to the drain valve and drain the water into a bucket or directly outdoors. (Note: open at least one hot water outlet in your house while you drain the tank).
If the sediment has hardened you will need to chemically soften it before flushing the tank. If youâ€™re not sure how to correctly flush the tank, contact a hot water specialist to do it for you.
Replace Sacrificial Anode
Another thing to check in your hot water system is the condition of the sacrificial anode. A sacrificial anode is used in storage hot water systems to attract any corrosive elements in order to prevent them from corroding the tank. Because the anode is regularly in contact with harmful materials it will slowly deteriorate and require replacement.
If the anode is not regularly replaced it will eventually deteriorate to a point where it becomes useless. This can lead to corrosive elements corroding the inside of the hot water tank which, in most cases, will result in having to replace the entire system.
Insulate The Tank (Storage Systems Only)
No matter the season, storage hot water systems are constantly losing heat through the walls of the tank. However, in winter the heat loss through the tank walls increases due to the colder temperature of the air surrounding the tank. To prepare your hot water system for winter, and reduce heat loss from the tank walls, insulate the tank. This can be done by wrapping the hot water tank in insulation blankets. (Note: ensure that the insulation blanket is kept away from the flue duct).
Release Tank Pressure (Storage Systems Only)
A burst pipe is a homeowners worst nightmare and can happen at any time of the year. However, it is much more likely during the colder winter months. Similarly, your hot water tank can burst if the pressure inside the system becomes too high.
That is why it is important to release the pressure inside your hot water system in preparation for winter. To release the pressure in your hot water tank, simply lift the lever at the top of the pressure release valve a few times. If youâ€™re not sure how to do this, hire a hot water system specialist to do it for you. (Note: when you lift the lever there should be a faint hissing or the sound of water. If not, call your local plumber and replace the valve immediately).
Descale The System (Tankless Systems Only)
Similarly to the sediment buildup in a storage hot water system, tankless water heaters also have sediment and calcium buildups that can affect the efficiency of the system. However, in the case of a tankless hot water heater, the system has to be descaled rather than flushed.
This is a more complex task than flushing a storage hot water heater and should be performed by a professional plumber.
Sun City Hot Water & Plumbing are your local hot water experts. If you need help preparing your hot water system for the approaching winter months call 1300 728 122 to speak with a hot water specialist. We also offer high quality repairs, maintenance and installations on all hot water systems Brisbane and Sunshine Coast wide, at competitive prices. Call us today for a quote.