Leaking Hot Water Unit

Go to your hot water unit and locate the pipe closest to the bottom of the unit – this will be the cold water inlet pipe, it is where the unit recieves its water and it should have a black knob fitted on the line near the tank. Turn the knob in a clockwise direction until it closes. This will stop any more water from going in to the unit. The leak may continue for a little while but without the water supply coming into the unit the tank should quickly depressurise which will slow the leak considerably.

Next, go to your electrical switchboard and locate the hot water circuit switch. The great majority of homes have a separate circuit for the hot water unit and this circuit should be marked as such. Flick the switch marked hot water to the ‘off’ position. Once you have done this you have now isolated both the water and power supply to the unit. If you don’t islolate the power supply and the unit does drain dry the element will remain active and will overheat because there is no longer any water left in the tank for it to heat.

No Hot Water

Another annoying thing about hot water units is that every now and again they stop producing hot water. If there is no apparent leak from the unit then there are a number of possible causes. The element or thermostat may have failed. The plumber can undertake checks to test whether or not power is getting to both the element and thermostat – never try to do this yourself. If everything checks out ok it may mean a problem with the electrical supply from the switchboard itself. If this is the case, a licensed electrician will be required to locate and rectify the problem.

What is a Tempering Valve?

A tempering valve is a temperature regulating valve that is fitted to the hot and cold water lines on you hot water service. This valve is designed to regulate the temperature coming from your hot water fixtures to a maximum of 50 degrees celsius. Installation of a tempering valve is now mandatory on all new hot water system installations as a Federal requirement and The Plumbing Doctor (Queensland) is unable to install a hot water system without one being installed. This legislation has been introduced after a number of hot water scalding incidents involving infants and the elderly and is purely a protective meausure designed to reduce extremely painful and sometimes fatal accidents.

How to tell if you have a leaking pipe

Wait until everyone is finished using the water for the evening (showers, toilets, dishwashers, etc). Locate your water meter which is normally just outside the front boundary of your property and most are covered by a green lid that will be flush with the ground. Open the lid (you may need a small screwdriver to pry the lid open) and you will see a small lever handle at one end and a water meter in the middle. Write down the meter reading on a piece of paper. Ensure nobody uses the water till morning when you check the meter again and write down number again. If the morning figure is higher then it is quite probable that you have a water leak that needs to be located and repaired as soon as possible.

Call The Plumbing Doctor on (07) 5530 6333. By the way, that small lever next to your meter can be used to isolate the water supply to your home. Gently turn the lever to turn the water off. Be careful when you turn if back on – turn it on slowly to allow the house system to repressurise gently.


How do you stop water continually running in to the toilet bowl?

Several things cause the toilet to “keep running.” Either the flap in the bottom of the tank isn’t sealing shut. When you push the button, a lever connects an arm on the handle to the flap on the bottom of the cistern. The flap opens letting the water in the cistern to run through the bowl. After the cistern is empty, the flap should seal off the bottom of the cistern and let it refill. Also, the float valve can fail. When the cistern refills there is a float mechanism that is supposed to shut the water off when it gets to a certain level. If the float is out of adjustment or doesn’t work any longer, there is an overflow tube where the water in the cistern will overflow into the tube and down to the bowl. If the cistern is full and won’t stop running, check for adjustment on the float mechanism.

How do you clear a drain in the floor that resists all drain-clearing products?

This is a build up of hair, body grim and soap fillers. Remove the floor grate, use a toilet cleaning brush to scrub the bottom of the trap under the floor, poor a cup of disinfectant down the drain and flush out with clean hot water. If this does not resolve the problem than a drain cleaning machine may be required.

How often should a hot water system be serviced?
You need to check the relief valves that they are in working order every 4months and replace these valves every five years. The anode in an electric and solar hot water system requires replacement every five years.
If water drips from the shower head like a dripping tap, can this be easily fixed?

Does the shower drip constantly over a period of 4-5 hours? If not, it’s water holding in the shower head which has a water saving feature that holds water in the head. If it drips constantly, you’ll need to have the taps serviced and check the integrity of the tap seats within tap set.

What can cause kitchen drainage problems?

Sink wastes run to a ‘trap’ This will usually be a section of pipe work that comes apart just below the drain point on your sink. This trap is a low point in the system so heavier items can collect here and stop them from blocking the main system. So any heavy stuff you wash down your drain will collect there. Also fat washed down the drain will congeal here, making a plug of solid fat bound with any existing debris in your drain.

What could cause loss of hot water pressure throughout the house all of a sudden?

There may be a small filter built into the cold water control valve on the hot water system. This filter may be blocked. A pressure limiting/reduction valve may be fitted to the hot water system. This valve may have failed and requires replacement.

Why does it take so long for hot water to arrive in the shower?

Several conditions contribute. Distance your shower is from the hot water heater, type and age and size of pipe to your shower from your hot water heater and climate. Cold weather climate tends to cool the static water in the pipes while waiting to be turned on. Old pipes have a build up of rust / minerals inside slowing the normal flow. Distance, well it takes a while for the hot water to leave the tank and get to the tap especially if the other two factors are involved. Insulation of the pipes will alleviate some of this issue. This will help save energy and keep the water in the pipes hotter longer. If the water still takes an unacceptable time to warm up you have a circulation pump that circulates water from the hot line to the water heater through the cold line, installed. This means that you’ll have hot water at the hot tap immediately.

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