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Managing a Leaking Hot Water System in 5 steps

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Water may be crucial to life on earth, but at the end of a long, hard day, you really want it to be steaming hot as well. Your hot water system is one of the most important parts of a well-functioning, happy household, giving you steaming hot water on demand for hot showers, baths, kitchen sinks and more. Have you noticed your hot water system leaking? It’s a problem you cannot afford to ignore.

Today, you could have a leaking hot water system – which means less hot water on demand and perhaps a higher water bill. But if you ignore it and leave your hot water service leaking, you could come home one day to discover cold water coming out of the hot taps, a great big mess outside, and huge bills in your hands.

Hot water tank leaking? Don’t ignore it

A leaking hot water tank can be very easy to ignore – especially if it’s still making hot water. But a little leak could soon turn into a big disaster. Here’s what to do:

1. Regularly check for a leaking hot water tank

With long warranties, it is easy to simply trust the day-to-day functioning of your trusty hot water system. But as that crucial household asset ages, it becomes increasingly important to properly maintain it.

The first way to do this is to simply keep an eye on it for leaks. A hot water tank leaking can be the first sign that something is not right with your unit. It’s also important to read the manual and any maintenance instructions on the unit itself, including periodically using the relief valve.

2. Look into the leak

If you have identified a hot water leak, don’t panic! While it can seem stressful and perhaps even dangerous, it’s impossible to draw any conclusions before you (or your friendly local plumber!) look a little closer.

First things first: are you sure you’ve noticed your hot water tank leaking, or mistaken those drips for something else? It might not be the hot water system leaking at all, but something else around it. Secondly, is it the hot water cylinder leaking, or the pipes that are coming in or out of it?

Thirdly, if that leak is coming from somewhere else, you may still need to call a plumber!

3. Call a plumber

You may be a DIY whizz, but that doesn’t mean you should dive into your leaking hot water tank! Why not?

Firstly, it’s an expensive piece of kit that you could damage. Secondly, plumbers and gasfitters are licensed for a reason — because these areas can be dangerous! Thirdly, you could void the manufacturer’s warranties or your home insurance. And finally, most work done by tradespeople requires a compliance certificate to legally certify that it meets Australian standards.

That’s a lot of reasons to call a plumber!

4. Be proactive – turn off the water

If you have a great plumber, they’ll be knocking on your door before you know it. Until then, it’s time to be proactive.

To be safe, fill some water bottles to drink and cook with, and a few buckets of water for washing or perhaps even the bath – and then turn the mains water off. This will prevent further damage to your leaking hot water system and your property.

5. Be proactive – turn off the power or gas

Whether your leaking hot water tank is gas or electric, this rule applies: turn them off!

If it’s an electric hot water system, you can turn it off at the power box – it is usually isolated and marked as ‘hot water’. If it’s gas, head to the leaking hot water system itself and turn the gas valve in the direction marked ‘off’.

Hot water service leaking? Help is on the way

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