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How can I tell when I need a new hot water system?

No-one likes a luke-warm shower, especially in the cooler months but finding out you need a new hot water system usually comes down to recognising the early warning signs.

According to the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources water heating is the second largest segment of household energy use, ranging from 15 per cent to 27 per cent, depending on location. It is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (up to 25 per cent) from an average Australian home. When thinking of what type of system to install, consider using a renewable energy source to reduce emissions and help the environment.

Signs you may need a new hot water system

Your hot water doesn’t last all day

If you’re noticing the hot water isn’t lasting all day, or you can’t run the dishwasher and then have enough hot water left for a shower, it’s a good sign you may not have a big enough unit for your household. It could also mean you may have an electrical issue that needs urgent attention. If you’ve adjusted the temperature dial to a higher degree and waited 30 minutes and still not getting enough hot water, it may be a circuit breaker issue or faulty wire issue.


The water temperature goes up and down

If the water temperature keeps fluctuating, it’s a sign your system may be about to pack it in. It may need a replacement of the thermostat or the heating element or a replacement of the whole system.


Your hot water system is leaking

If you notice water dripping or pooling at the base of your tank, you’ll want to take action straight away. This is usually a sign of an internal failure, and while you may not need a completely new unit, you’ll need a plumber to fix the problem immediately.


Reduced water flow

Changes in water flow can indicate a build-up in scale and sediment in your hot water heater. The build-up will only get worse if you leave it and can potentially leave you without much-needed hot water. A plumber will be able to descale your water heater and clean out the pipes to resolve the issue.


Weird sounds

If you start hearing creaking, banging and boiling type noises coming from your water tank, it’s a sign something isn’t right. The last thing you want is overheating issues or pressure build-up occurring. This isn’t something you should deal with yourself, while it could be a matter of draining the tank and removing any residue build-up. However, a new system may be a better solution.


Strange smells

If you start experiencing odours that smell like rotten eggs of discolouration in the water, it might be due to bacteria and rust inside the water heater’s tank. A plumber will be able to check if it’s a water-source issue or a hot water tank issue.

If you need to replace your water heater, there is a massive range of different types of hot water systems on the market with various prices. 


Here are a few tips to consider when making a cost-effective decision for your hot water system:


Size of household

By the time you require a new hot water system, your household could have increased with more children or decreased with children moving out of the home, so a significant factor to consider is how many people will be living in the home over the next ten years. Generally, one person uses about 50 litres of hot water a day and then you will also need to factor in if you use a dishwasher, or wash clothes in hot water.


Types of hot water systems

There are generally four types of hot water systems to choose from when considering price factors – electric, gas, solar and heat pump.

Most Australian households use an electric storage system because they are generally the cheapest to buy and install but can be more expensive to run overtime. Like electric systems, gas systems come in instant or storage varieties, but their cost can vary depending on the number of taps or water outlets.


Increasingly, people are moving to solar hot water for numerous reasons. These systems are more expensive to install initially but can save more energy and money over the system’s life and decrease your household’s carbon footprint.


Heat Pumps are efficient, but instead of using solar energy, they use air-condition technology to heat the water. Ready tank works just like a standard electric tank – it will run off-peak like your regular system, and you can easily upgrade to solar when you are ready without replacing the tank.


For more information on what type of system to install in your home for your household’s size or any hot water issues, contact us at Murphy Plumbing today!