The Beginner’s Guide to Solving Problems with Your Hot water system

The humble hot water system is a plumbing appliance we don’t give a lot of thought to…until something goes wrong. When that happens, it’s a total disaster. Whether you have a gas, electric or solar-powered hot water system, there’s nothing worse than turning on the shower and having nothing but icy cold water come out. When something goes wrong with our hot water supply, we may immediately believe the worst – that our hot water system is broken beyond repair and we’ll have to buy a new one. But this isn’t always the case.

There are several common issues that you may encounter with a hot water system that are relatively easy to fix (and far cheaper than buying a whole new system!). This is why we’ve put together ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Solving Problems with Your Hot water system’. This simple ‘how-to’ guide will walk you through the basics when it comes to identifying and solving problems with your hot water system.   


Problem #1: You turn on the taps, but no hot water comes out

The first thing to do is establish if you have no hot water or no water full stop. If it’s just the hot water that isn’t coming through, check that the isolation valve on your hot water system (usually a red or yellow handle) isn’t turned off. If it is, turn it back on and the problem should be solved. If you have no water whatsoever (hot or cold), check that your mains water meter hasn’t accidentally been shut off.  

If your hot water system is electric, then there are a few other basic things you can check. These include:

  • The power cord for the hot water system – make sure it’s undamaged, correctly plugged in and that the power point is switched on.
  • The fuse marked ‘hot water’ in your electrical mains switchboard – if the fuse has blown then you’ll need to replace it.


Problem #2: There’s water escaping from your hot water system

If you notice water around your hot water system then start by identifying where the leak is coming from. If it’s only a small drip coming out of the temperature relief valve, then don’t worry, this is supposed to happen when the system is in its heating cycle. If you feel like it’s dripping more than it used to, try placing a bucket underneath the drip so you can measure how much water is escaping. If, after 24 hours, you have an overflowing bucket, then it could be worth calling a plumber to ask for their opinion.

If the water is coming from the bottom of the tank, leaking out the sides or overflowing out the top then this is a more serious problem. We’d recommend turning off the water connection to the tank (so you aren’t wasting water) and then calling a professional for assistance.

Problem #3: The water just isn’t warm enough

If you find that your hot water isn’t sufficiently hot, then try adjusting the temperature settings on your hot water system. Always follow manufacturer instructions, as the specifics of how to regulate temperature may vary depending on what make and model of hot water system you have. After you’ve changed the temperature settings, wait an hour or so and then see if this has fixed the problem (be careful testing hot water, in case it comes out a lot hotter than you expected!).

Can’t be bothered doing it yourself? Call your local Perth plumber Hilton Plumbing, your mate in the trade. We can fix any kind of plumbing issue, and we won’t even charge you a call-out fee.


Book a plumber now