It is common for hot water systems to fail during winter. These systems work harder during winter due to much colder temperatures and having to heat colder water. Common reasons why hot water systems fail is usually due to the heating element and thermostat failure.
Signs that your hot water system is damaged or needs replacing
- Rust spots around the tank, such as along the seams
- Splits at the seams of the tank or signs of the tank expanding outward
- Luke-warm water
- Hot water runs out quickly
- Brown or yellow water (indicating rust within the tank)
The heating element in your hot water system cycles over 15,000 times in a decade, so over time it will need repairing due to wear and tear. To fix this issue, you’d need to get in a professional since it requires disconnecting your electricity to repair.
Another reason why hot water systems fail is due to the actual tank itself. Sometimes, the process of heating cold water causes the tank to expand and over time the tank will weaken through oxidisation and rusting. If you see issues like discoloured water, rust spots, splits in the tank or signs of the tank expanding, this could likely be the case.
Hot water tanks usually need replacing after 5 years because of a specific part within the tank called the sacrificial anode that helps to prevent the tank from oxidising and rusting. If you have had yours for around that time or longer, get a licensed professional to get this part replaced as soon as possible.
If you want to prevent your hot water system from bursting due to failure, one method is to use the pressure and temperature relief valve. This should be done every 6 months for preventative measures so if you haven’t done so in a while, now is the perfect time.