Tips to keep your hot water hot

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Electric & gas hot water system problems?

A Little Troubleshooting Can Keep Your Current System Humming

Electric hot water heaters can be long-lasting and reliable with regular attention.

If you’re the handy DIY type with time to spare, here’s how to handle little issues yourself. (CAVEAT: Be sure you can work safely when you’re digging inside any electrical appliance. No one wants to be electrocuted, right?)


If your heater is a single element off peak heater, be patient. You’ll need to wait until the morning to know if your troubleshooting has been successful.


Heaters that are nearing 10 years old are approaching the end of their useful life. Once problems start they keep coming, so it’s a good time to think about a replacement.


Is the problem covered by an existing warranty? The common electric hot water system warranties generally include:

  • 12 mths for components and workmanship
  • 5, 7 or 10 years for the tank

Call your manufacturer first. Repairing or altering yourself will void your warranty so only attempt the following simple checks. If it’s still not working, call your plumber.


No Hot Water?

Test other electrical appliances to ensure that you have power to your home.

Check the Circuit Breaker

Go to your electrical switchboard or fuse box. Check to see if the circuit to the water heater needs to be reset. If you have a fuse box, you may need to replace a burned out fuse.

Do be very careful when handling any electrical adjustments or repairs.

If the circuit breaker ‘breaks’ again immediately, you most likely have a bad element. Call 1300 00 7473 as you’ll need a professional to help you.

Check the water supply is on

Ensure the water is flowing to the heater. (If there is no water to any tap or outlet, check the water supply to your house at the main out the front). The water supply line is usually on the right with the copper pipe entering the tank. Near the top of the tank will be a black knob valve (or tap handle style) near the top of the tank. It should be fully opened in an anti-clockwise direction.


Not enough or cool Hot Water?

Reset Your Electric Water Heater Thermostat!

TAKE CARE WITH THIS ADJUSTMENT – this is an electrical appliance and digging around inside carries the risk of electrocution. Call Pipe Perfection if you are not 100% confident.

Turn the main power off and unscrew the bottom panel of the tank. You’ll see a grey box with a red button. Press the red button. Turn the mains power. Check the thermostat on the water heater. It should be in the “normal” range (around 50°C.) If it is not, bingo – you’ve just located your problem.. If the temperature is in the normal range, then try resetting it by turning it all the way down and then back up again. You should hear the water heater kick back on.

DO NOT turn the thermostat up to maximum temperature. Scalding is far too common at temperatures beyond this. (And if you have young children, we suggest you consider a maximum temperature of no more than 49-55 degrees].

Distance: If there is quite a distance between your tap and your heater, let the tap run full on for a good 5 minutes to determine if hot water is going to appear. (A recirculating pump can help with this issue and insulating your pipes will help too)

Tank size: You can run out if your tank is too small – check your manufacturer’s guidelines.

Be aware that spa baths and dishwashers may count as a person. If your tank is undersized and you’re not quite ready to replace your tank, Pipe Perfection Plumbers can install low flow, water saving shower heads and taps to reduce water usage (and therefore increase hot water capacity)


Is your hot water unit leaking?

Find the pipe closest to the bottom of your unit (your cold water inlet.) Turn the black knob that is fitted to the pipe near the tank in a clockwise direction. Keep going until it stops. This will prevent more water from entering the hot water unit. The leak may continue, but it will be significantly slower.

NOTE: Turn off the hot water switch at your electrical switchboard. If you don’t isolate the power supply and the unit drains dry, the element will remain active and will overheat due to the lack of water.

Is it leaking from the TPR valve? It is normal for a small amount water to gently drip from the Temperature pressure relief (TPR) valve while the water is being heated. This occurs as the water is heated and expands by approximately 1/50 of its volume. It should not be constant or all the time. If it is releasing more than a bucket full of water in 24 hours, call Pipe Perfection Plumbers.

Not sure what the problem is?

Call us 1300 007 043, email us or make a booking to schedule a consultation with your Pipe Perfection plumber.

Call Pipe Perfection if you are not 100% confident.

Call us 1300 007 473