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A leakage in any part of the plumbing system at home can leave you at your wit’s end.

While you might not be able to stop the issue temporarily without the essential technical know-how, you can’t also leave it unattended for too long. So, we've curated a short guide to help you figure out the immediate steps to take in such a situation. Read on to know more.

Leaking Hot Water System? Here's What To Do!

Leakages in hot water systems generally begin from the outlet or inlet connections, at the valve for pressure relief or the tank. If left unchecked, leakages can lead to mould growth, which is likely to cause health problems.

So, it’s crucial to identify a leakage before it worsens to cause further problems in the plumbing system. Here are some common reasons behind a leakage in hot water systems:

1. Excessive Pressure

Sometimes, excessive pressure might build up in the heater tank, ultimately leading to leakages. This is most likely to happen when the external water source flows into the heater tank at high pressure or when the water temperature is set too high.

2. Broken Storage Tank

These heating systems come with a storage tank lined with glass. And with time, the natural minerals present in water may form deposits and harden on the internal surface of the tank. Eventually, this can even break the lining, causing water leakage in the heater.

Another point worth noting here is that water expands on heating. And over time, this expansion can cause the glass lining to strain or even break. In this case, you will need a new water heater as the cracks on the liner cannot be repaired.

But in a few cases, such leaks may not affect the functioning of the unit, so people might choose to postpone the replacement. Till a leakage isn’t inflicting damage upon the system, it’s usable; but you’ll have to replace it eventually.

3. Ageing Of Hot Water Systems

Can you remember the last time you had the hot water system in your home replaced or serviced? Most of these systems come with an average service life of 10 years.

So, if your water heater was installed a long time ago, or if it has already passed that age, you may want to get it replaced or serviced immediately.

That’s because its efficiency might start declining once it reaches the end of its operational life, so much so that some internal parts might break down. And the breakdown of sediment and mud might cause these to flow into the bath, shower, sink, basin, and other appliances.

That’s why monitoring your hot water system is of prime importance. On a side note, ensure the company you’re hiring checks all plumbing lines connected to the heater for water or gas leaks.

4. Other Reasons

Loose fixtures and irregular draining are other reasons your hot water system might leak. Though you might consider taking care of the issue yourself, the best and safest way is to get in touch with a professional. This will rule out potential long-term and expensive damage to your property.

The Steps To Follow To Fix A Leakage

Now, let’s look at some easy steps to take to tackle such leakages:

Step 1: Identifying The Leakage

A. Leak in The P&R Valve

Often a leak in the Thermal Expansion Valve (also called Pressure Relief Valve) is the root cause of all water heater problems. This implies that the pressure in the tank is probably too much to handle. Note that though it’s one of the simplest faults to fix, it’s quite an alarming problem.

  • Owing to the increased pressure within the heater, the P&R valve relieves pressure by a little water leakage
  • Just lift this valve two or three times so that any blockage is cleared, and that should stop the leakage
  • But if the valve is spraying scalding water, it’s probably worn out, and you’ll simply need to purchase a replacement valve

B. Leaking/Loose Water Supply Joints

  • The plumbing pipes and joints around and above the heater are other common spots where you might find the leak
  • A leak or drip in these parts can often create the impression that the leakage lies in the hot water system
  • Such pipes are initial indications that the heater will need a replacement in the recent future

C. Issues With Drainage Valves

The drainage valve at the lower end of the heater is another probable spot where the problem might occur.

  • This valve often doesn’t close properly, which might result in water leakage.
  • The fix to this problem is simple — the plumber will just drain the water in the heater and replace the valve with a new one.
  • But before you call a local plumber, you’ll have to cease the leakage temporarily with a foreign object to ensure the safety of the property.

Step 2: Turning Off The Main Valve

The next step will be to keep the water or gas supply isolated by shutting off the respective inlet valves and the main supply valve in the house.

  • Turn off the water valve on the inlet pipe
  • Fill some buckets with water for the daily chores
  • Locate the water mains and shut it off

Note that most homes include the water mains alongside their homes or in their front yard. But if you’re living in an apartment, you may find it under your laundry tub or sink.

Step 3: Calling In Hot Water System Experts

When you can temporarily cease the leakage, it’s time to hire a trusted plumbing service to fix the leakage.

  • Ensure that the professionals in the team are licensed and insured and are also experienced enough to handle the issue.
  • In case the leakage is part of a larger problem, the company must be able to conduct the necessary replacement of parts to resolve it permanently.

Notably, the companies providing quality service nowadays use advanced equipment and techniques such as Radio pipe location, Thermal Imaging, and drain CCTVs to repair water leakage.

Fixing Issues With Your Hot Water System

There you have it — a short and simple guide on how you can handle a leaking hot water system efficiently.

We hope you’ll be more confident in taking the above steps the next time you face such problems. And don’t forget to conduct proper research on the few trusted plumbing companies in your region before choosing to hire one of them.

If you are in Melbourne or the surrounding suburbs, speak to the WP Plumbing team. We are Melbourne’s hot water experts, providing honest advice with no hidden fees. We can also help you choose a hot water heater that suits your family's needs.

See you next time!

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