Most people don't think and tend to forget just how much we depend on our hot water systems. Showering, cooking and washing up are all things we do each and every day however most people only appreciate just how important their hot water tank is when it fails.
We have all heard the saying prevention is better than cure. In the case of a hot water heater, this is certainly true. Let’s face it most would agree waking up to a cold shower in the middle of winter is not a pleasant experience. An efficient, well maintained hot water system is essential in reducing your household energy costs as around 30% of the electricity used in the average Australia households is for heating water, making the hot water system one of the highest single energy users in the home.
The average lifespan of a hot water system is 8 to 11 years so just like the servicing of a motor vehicle it makes sense to keep your hot water system well maintained.
Different hot water systems manufacturers have different requirements for how often they'd like you to service your hot water systems so it can keep performing at it's optimum and also to protect your warranty.
The following hot water system components should be tested / inspected & serviced every:
Pressure Relief Valve (Every 6 Months) - When a storage hot water system is heating the water steam is created which in turn increases the pressure inside the hot water system. The pressure relief valve also commonly referred to as a TPR Valve is the safety device that allows that steam to escape. This is why on some occasions you will see water dripping from a pipe near the hot water system after it has been used.
Expansion Control Valve (Every 6 Months) - The Expansion Control Valve (ECV) is designed to relieve the increase in pressure caused by the water expansion during the normal heating cycle. It is recommended that an ECV be fitted to the cold water supply line. This will relieve cold water, not hot water, during the heating cycle saving energy and increasing the life of the Pressure Temperature Relief valve (PTR). Some local governments make it mandatory to install an ECV in the cold water line.
Pressure Limiting Valve (Every 3 - 5 Years) - High pressure may cause excessive discharge and possible premature failure of the operating relief valve (see table). The maximum water pressure usually occurs during the night, at the time of lowest water usage. In any mains pressure water heater installation if the water pressure exceeds 80% of the nominal set pressure of the operating relief valve, a Pressure Limiting Valve must be fitted to the cold inlet. If a cold water expansion control valve is fitted it will have a lower set pressure than the PTR valve and therefore will be the main operating relief valve
Tempering Valve (Every 3 - 5 Years) - Tempering valves have been mandatory on all new hot water system installation since July 2012 which means if your system was installed before this date there is a very good chance you may not have one. Tempering Valves are designed to mix the hot and cold water to deliver mixed water at a constant temperature that does not exceed 50°C at the closest tap to the hot water system. Testing, servicing and routine maintenance of temperature control valves as per AS 4032.3 can only be carried out by suitably licensed technicians at intervals not exceeding 12 months. It is, however, the property owner’s responsibility to ensure that routine maintenance is carried out.
Isolation Non-Return Valve (Every 3 - 5 Years) - Installation of a Non-Return Isolation valve is required by the Australian National Plumbing Code on all pressurised water heaters. The isolating valve should be installed as close as possible to the hot water system as it provides a shutoff point that enables the hot water system to be turned off in an emergency situation and still leave cold water to the house. The non- return feature of the valve prevent protects the mains water supply from back-flow and possible contamination from the water stored in the water heater.
Sacrificial Anode (Every 3 - 5 Years) - The sacrificial anode is made from a metal alloy with a more "active" voltage than the metal of the hot water system it is protecting. The difference in potential between the two metals means the sacrificial anode material corrodes in preference to the hot water system. This effectively stops the oxidation reactions (aka rust) of the hot water system structure being protected.
Element (Every 3 - 5 Years) - If your storage electric hot water system is slow to heat, runs out of hot water faster than it used to, or doesn’t deliver any hot water at all, there’s a high percent chance that simply replacing one or both of the heating elements will solve the problem.
Thermostat (Every 3 - 5 Years) - A thermostat is a component which senses the temperature of a hot water system so that the system's temperature is maintained near a desired set point which is generally between 50°C and 80°C depending where in Australia you live. To protect against the growth of Legionella bacteria, the cause of Legionnaires’ disease, it is a legal requirement that any stored hot water be kept at a minimum temperature of 60°C.
Thermocouple (Every 3 - 5 Years) - A thermocouple is basically a sensor that sends an electronic millivolt signal to the gas valve. The interesting thing is that the thermocouples do not use electricity to work but instead use the heat from the pilot light to generate the electrical millivolts that is sent to the gas valve. As long as the pilot light is lit the gas valve senses it via the thermocouple. With the pilot light lit the gas valve will let gas go to the burner. When the thermocouple starts to fail it will send the wrong signals (no millivoltage) to the gas valve. The gas valve 'thinking' that the pilot light is out will shut off the gas. The burner won't light and the pilot light will go out.
If you would like to have the Hot Water Nurse team service your hot water system please give us a call on 02 9622 3036 to schedule a time and date.