How to tell when it's time to replace your old hot water system

When you’re having a shower in the middle of winter and there’s suddenly a blast of frigid water that doesn’t stop, there’s usually a few things that go through people’s minds. The first thing most people do is let out a high pitched scream of icy confusion, and who can blame them?

The next item on the agenda is usually trying to figure out if someone’s flushed the toilet or running the hot water tap by listening intently, or yelling out ‘turn the tap off I’m in the shower!!!’ then the next step is to hope and pray your hot water system hasn’t broken down.

For most of us, the hot water system is an oversized minion-shaped giver of wonderful warm showers and we don't give much thought to its upkeep or maintenance until, unfortunately, something goes wrong or it just stops working altogether. Below are some of the warning signs your hot water system might be on its way out.

First – how old is your system

This is the first thing you really should be asking yourself. If your system is only a year old and it’s having problems, chances are it will need repair. If however, your hot water system is 20 years old and starting to show signs of having issues, it’s likely going to need replacement. If you’re not sure how old your hot water system is, take a look at the serial number or the manufacturer's sticker to see if there’s a build date or perhaps it’s last service or repair.  

Signs your hot water system needs replacing

There are strange noises coming from your water heater
Whilst some systems do make intermittent noises from time to time, anything that sounds like a banging, crackling or snapping/popping is not a good sign. As hot water systems age, they can get a layer of sediment on the bottom of the system. Over time this hardens and breaks up and as the water is heated it will bang around in your system. That’s typically the banging noise you will hear of a system on it’s way out. Sediment means your system isn’t working to its full potential and needs to work harder to heat your water.

Rusty or brown water
Sometimes this can be from your pipes – if you think it could be from your pipes take a look at our blog post and if you’ve managed to figure out it’s not your pipes, unfortunately this could be a sign your hot water system is on its way out. Sometimes this is a sign the system is rusting on the inside and will soon require replacement.

Leaking or water coming from your heater
If there’s a leak or water around your heater, this could be a sign there’s a hole in it. If this is the case your system is going to be working twice as hard to keep up with heating water because as water leaks out of the system, it needs to replace it and heat up more water.

The water isn’t hot enough
If your system is set to full blast and your water still isn’t hot enough, that’s usually a pretty good sign your hot water system is dying.

If you’re experiencing one or some of the issues above, please feel free to give Allclear Gas & Plumbing a call and we can come out, complete an inspection of your hot water system and give you some options. Feel free to call us today on 0424 141 174.