It’s freezing outside! You just got out of bed, and it’s so cold that you already feel like crawling back under your warm fleece blanket. But you decide to take a hot shower instead to shake off the chill and warm up. Once in your bathroom, you turn on the hot water tap, and you still get goosebumps from the bitter cold running water. You try to wait a few minutes, thinking that another family member has used up all the hot water and your heating system is only taking a little longer to warm up the water. However, after a while, you are disappointed when you realise that your hydronic system is no longer providing hot water.
Although it might be an ideal time for repairs, it’s always better to understand the main causes of the problem. In this article, we will guide you through the top 5 reasons why a hot water system stops working at its peak performance.
1. Safety Breaker Went Off
A common reason that your unit has a shortage of hot water is that your house’s circuit breaker has flicked off. You can check your switchboard, and if you see that your hot water power is turned off, you can switch it back on. Make sure, however, that your tank is filled with water as you don’t want to heat an empty tank.
2. Broken Heating Elements
A conventional water heater is an insulated system with a tank that stores water maintained at a high temperature using electric or gas heating elements. When someone takes a shower and consumes all the hot water, the tank is refilled with cold water, which is then heated. However, if the heating elements are damaged or broken, you will no longer have hot water.
3. Malfunctioning Thermostat
A water heater system is usually equipped with two thermostats whose purpose is to regulate the water temperature. If your unit is heating water very slowly or provides water with fluctuating temperatures, you most probably have a malfunctioning thermostat. You can verify if it is broken while comparing if the actual water temperature differs from what is displayed on the gauge.
4. Water Leaks
Sometimes your water heater system starts leaking, and it is essential to find the source of the leak. If a small amount of water is dripping from the pressure/temperature relief valve, this is not a significant problem. It is normal for these valves to leak from time to time.
However, if the water comes from the heating unit, it should be replaced as soon as possible. This can indeed be very dangerous, and we recommend that you immediately cut off any power supply connected to the system. Also, be sure to interrupt your water connection to the unit. Since leaks can aggravate in less than 24 hours, you must contact qualified plumbers to repair any defects in your system.
5. Pilot Light Gone Out
This faulty occurs in gas water heaters only. When your unit is turned on, a small flame, known as the pilot light, ignites the gas that comes out of the main burner to heat the water. If your pilot light goes out, it can be life-threatening since the valve can continue to pump gas, resulting in a carbon monoxide build-up. And if the pilot relights itself, it can cause an explosion.
While you are now aware of the main factors that contribute to a faulty water heater system and can fix some of the issues yourself, it is always better to call professional plumbers. They will make sure to handle repairs and provide personalised plumbing solutions to keep your hot water systems in good working conditions.