6 Tell-tale Signs Your Hot Water System Needs Attention!

Hot water is one of life’s modern luxuries that just make daily living so much easier. You might be using your hot water to create a luxurious bubble bath after a long day. Or you use piping hot water to clean your dishes after a good meal. Either way, it’s a factor you rely on to make your home run smoothly.

Few things will then annoy you quite as much as realising you need to call a plumber to perform a hot water system repair! To avoid phoning your plumber when it’s too late, it helps to know common tell-tale signs that your hot water system is faulty.

This Is How You Know Your Hot Water System is On the Fritz!

In general, hot water systems tend to last anywhere between 8 and 12 years. Of course, this is largely dependent on factors such as maintenance, quality of water used and most importantly, the environment in which it’s placed.

Often homeowners ignore the small signs that the hot water system might need maintenance or repair because they believe it to be a costly business! However, the sooner you get the problem sorted out, the less likely you’re to be stuck without any hot water! Read on to see what common signs you should be looking out for.

Rust-coloured Water

The clearest indicator that your hot water system is on its last legs is murky, rust coloured water. Water tanks and plumbing pipes are made of metal and as you might well know, any type of metal exposed to years of water or moisture, will eventually rust.

If you open one of the hot water taps in your home and a metallic smell is accompanied by murky brown water, it’s time to call the plumber. While the water may run clear after a few minutes, this doesn’t mean the problem has disappeared. If the problem is left too long, your tank could start leaking.

Strange Sounds

Generally speaking, your hot water system does make the occasional noise. While this is normal, new and unusual sounds shouldn’t be ignored. A faulty heating element could result in rattling or even banging noises.

These noises are common in systems where no regular maintenance or services have been performed. Regular servicing will identify faulty components before they become completely damaged.

Fluctuating Temperatures

If you’ve been using your hot water system for a considerable amount of time, you’ll be well aware of the maximum temperatures it produces. If the temperature suddenly becomes inconsistent, fluctuating between cool and scalding, it may be due to a faulty heating element or thermostat.

Having these smaller components replaced timeously will definitely be cheaper than replacing the entire heating system. Phone your plumber as soon as you notice a significant difference in temperature!


For most people, the only clear sign that a plumber is needed is a leaking pipe! The bad news is water leaking from your water system provides concrete proof that your water system might already have failed.

While it might be possible to repair smaller leaks, pooling of water can lead to potential damage to the area. Depending on where your heating system is placed, there could be the risk of electrical shocks. If your hot water system is leaking, call your plumber immediately and ask him about safety precautions while you wait for him to show up.

Strange Smells

If your hot water system operates using gas, the top sign that your hot water system needs replacing is a smell similar to rotten eggs. Essentially, this smell is leaking gas and can be fatal if left untreated.

Aside from being dangerous to humans and animals, gas is also flammable. Leaking gas will also increase your energy bill. This isn’t the type of problem that should ever be ignored or postponed. Call a certified gas plumber immediately.

Although you might never have had a gas related issue in your home, it’s important to always have a certified plumber’s number on hand. You won’t have to waste time searching for one during an emergency!

Yellow Pilot Flame

Gas water hot water systems operate with pilot lights designed specifically to let you now when there’s a problem. It tells you when there’s not enough oxygen to create adequate combustion:

  • A blue light means the unit is combusting correctly.
  • When the pilot light is yellow, it’s a clear sign that combustions are incomplete and could already be producing harmful carbon monoxide. It’s always important to remember that gas is odourless and colourless and might not be noticeable immediately.

If you suspect that your hot water system is exposing your home to a gas leak, clear all humans and pets out of the house. Call your plumber immediately and he will advise you of the course of action to take until he arrives.

Final Thought

To avoid spending a ridiculous amount of money on a hot water system repair, don’t ignore the signs we’ve discussed. Calling your plumber at the first signs of hot water problems could save money and potential damage to your home! Don’t let your hot water leave you out in the cold; call your plumber when you need him!

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