Hot water system leaking can go unnoticed for a long time until you experience reduced water pressure. In extreme situations, you might experience no water or even the destruction of walls due to leaks. These experiences are usually stressful and annoying, especially when the cause and source of leaks are initially unidentifiable. Hot water system leaking is a sign of a bigger impending problem, so you should never ignore it, no matter how small the leaks are. When you notice a leak, the first step is to find out what might have caused it.
The main causes of Hot Water System Leaks
There are a number of reasons why your hot water system is leaking, it’s crucial to have a professional plumber address the issue promptly. Some reasons are pipes and connections may crack or leak over time, including rust, age, and high water pressure. To ensure continuous access to clean water, it’s vital to fix these problems right away. Additionally, it’s essential to avoid flushing or pouring anything down sinks or toilets that could potentially clog the pipes and cause further leakage.
Seals are installed on water pipes to strengthen faucets, sinks, and joints. However, with time, these seals weaken, causing water to leak. Depending on the type of seals, temperature changes in hot water systems can cause some seals to weaken within a shorter time than expected.
As the water plumbing system ages, pipes may rust and corrode. You can easily identify corrosion when you see colour changes or warping on pipes. It would be best to immediately look for a plumber to solve such issues when you notice them. Additionally, it would help if you considered replacing old plumbing systems instead of waiting until they start to leak.
Weak or damaged pipe joints
Most plumbing systems have numerous pipe connections, especially in houses with many rooms. With time, these pipe joints weaken due to temperature changes. Although most pipe joints are hidden inside the walls, noisy pipes that make ticking or gurgling sounds are signs of weak pipe joints.
Excess water pressure
Everyone wishes for an efficient water system that has high pressure. However, excessive water pressure strains water pipes, joints, seals, and faucets, and most break when water pressure exceeds a certain point.
Loose water connectors
During installation, plumbers sometimes forget to strengthen pipe joints, seals, and faucets. Water connectors also weaken with time due to constant use. The most affected parts are water taps because they are usually used daily.
Unexpected or extreme temperature changes
Hot water systems experience unexpected and extreme temperature changes, which causes rapid contraction and expansion of pipes. This causes pipes to crack and joints to form leaks.
Hot water systems that get water from the gutters risk getting clogged because of dirt. Clogging causes increased pressure in some sections of the water system, which might cause pipes to break and seals and joints to weaken.
What to do if your Hot Water System is Leaking
Hot water system leaking signs cannot be ignored no matter how small they are because, besides the possibility of impending bigger problems, they destroy walls, lead to water wastage, and increase water bills.
Additionally, they can destroy your electrical systems or cause electric shocks. The problem with leaks is that you cannot always tell the source because the pipe is mostly hidden inside the walls. Although not everyone has experience or know-how about hot water systems, these are steps to follow when your water system leaks.
1. Identify the source of the leak
A hot water system leaking does not automatically mean that it needs replacing or even repair. The system has pressure relief valves that discharge water until pressure reaches acceptable levels. So, when there is a leak, first look for the source of the leak. If the water leaks from the valves, there might be no need to panic or call plumbers. However, you must seek professional plumbing services if it’s not leaking from the pressure valves.
2. Turn off the water supply
After identifying the cause and source of the leak, you should turn off the water at the inlet to the hot water system or at the main water metre as you wait for the plumber to fix it. The water metre is usually placed on the curb in front of your house or the laundry tub. It might be located in a utility cupboard on each floor in apartments. In Australia, water metres are usually located close to the front of the house or near a garden tap. If you do not find it, you should ask the management in charge of your apartment.
3. Contact a professional plumber
After turning off the water supply and identifying the source of the leak, you should call a professional hot water systems plumber. Remember that not all plumbers can repair hot water systems. Zebra Plumbing has the best hot water system plumber, so you can give us a call or book online.
4. Repair the problem or replace the system
With the help of a reliable and reputable hot water systems plumber, scrutinise the leak and decide on the best solution. A good hot water system plumber should be able to provide the best solution depending on the amount of water leaking, the cause, and how often the water leaks. It’s advisable to always go for the best solution to repair the leak and avoid cheap or quick-fix solutions because they lead to larger problems in the long run.
How Do You Know If the Leak Is Fine or Requires Repairs?
Leaks are fine when they occur in the pressure relief valves. There are two safety valves in hot water systems.
- A temperature and water pressure relief valve. This valve discharges hot water to the drain line to relieve water pressure generated due to overheating. Leaking also occurs during hot days when the temperature is higher than normal. This valve prevents tanks from bursting due to high pressure.
- An expansion control valve. – This valve releases water when the pressure from the source exceeds the pressure of the ECV valve. The ECV valve releases cold water because it’s installed on the cold-water pipes, unlike the pressure relief valve at the top of the water heater.
To regulate pressure in hot water systems, these two valves are designed to allow small amounts of water to leak to ensure that the pressure doesn’t build up. The leaks should also happen intermittently. If the water being leaked increases or occurs constantly, there might be a problem requiring quick check-ups before it worsens. Valves might leak water abnormally due to tiny particles that might have collected around them or because of worn-out seals.
Hot water system leaking is a common occurrence that can cause numerous problems in your home. However, most hot water systems generally come with extended warranties of up to 10 years, depending on the brand. This makes many owners neglect regular maintenance check ups to ensure the systems are always working correctly. To prevent any issues with your hot water system, it is advisable to carry out maintenance checks at least once or twice a year.
In addition to checking on pipes, faucets, and heaters, it is also essential to flush the supply tanks every 6-12 months to remove sediments that could block the tubes and cause leaks. By doing so, you will be prolonging the life of your hot water system and preventing potential costly repairs due to the hot water system leaking.