Close up of male individual checking hot water system gauge

Hot Water System Maintenance: Tips for Extending the Life of Your System

Ensuring your home’s hot water system operates smoothly is crucial for everyday comfort and convenience. Proper maintenance not only extends its lifespan but also enhances energy efficiency, saving you from unexpected repairs. Understanding the basics of hot water systems and the importance of regular upkeep can help you avoid common issues like sediment buildup, corrosion, and leaks. Whether your system is solar-powered, gas-based, electric, or a heat pump, implementing proactive maintenance measures ensures consistent performance and reduces operational costs over time. If you’re looking for a reliable Gold Coast plumber to assist with maintenance or repairs, these tips will help you keep your system in optimal condition.

Close up of male individual checking hot water system gauge

Brief Overview of Hot Water Systems

Hot water systems are an essential part of modern living, providing the convenience of hot water for bathing, cleaning, and cooking. There are several types of hot water systems, each with unique features and benefits that cater to different needs and preferences. Let’s take a closer look at the main types:

  • Solar Hot Water Systems: These systems use solar panels to capture energy from the sun, which is then used to heat water stored in a tank. Solar hot water systems are environmentally friendly and can significantly reduce energy bills, especially in sunny climates. They often come with a backup gas or electric heater for cloudy days.
  • Gas Hot Water Systems: These systems use natural gas or propane to heat water. They are known for their efficiency and quick heating times, making them a popular choice for many households. Gas systems can be either tank-based, storing hot water for use, or tankless, heating water on demand.
  • Electrical Hot Water Systems: Electric systems use heating elements to warm the water. They are available in tank-based models, which store a reserve of hot water, and tankless models, which heat water as needed. Electric systems are versatile and can be installed almost anywhere, but they can be more expensive to operate than gas systems.
  • Heat Pump Systems: Heat pump water heaters use electricity to transfer heat from the air or ground to heat the water. They are highly energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, as they use less electricity compared to traditional electric water heaters. These systems work best in moderate to warm climates.

Understanding the type of hot water system you have is the first step in maintaining it properly. Each system has specific maintenance needs that, when addressed, can significantly extend its lifespan.

Importance of Maintenance for Extending the Life of the System

Proper maintenance of your hot water system is crucial for ensuring its longevity and efficiency. Regular maintenance can help prevent common issues such as sediment buildup, corrosion, pressure problems, and leaks. By addressing these issues early, you can avoid costly repairs and replacements, ensuring that your system operates smoothly for many years.

Ignoring maintenance can lead to a decline in the system’s performance, increased energy consumption, and ultimately, a shorter lifespan. For instance, a neglected tank might develop severe sediment buildup, reducing heating efficiency and causing the tank to overheat. Similarly, unchecked corrosion can lead to leaks and water damage, while pressure problems can strain the system and cause components to fail.

By taking a proactive approach to maintenance, you can ensure that your hot water system remains reliable and efficient, providing you with the comfort and convenience of hot water whenever you need it.

Common Issues with Hot Water Systems

Sediment Buildup

Sediment buildup is a common issue that affects tank-based hot water systems, particularly in areas with hard water. Over time, minerals such as calcium and magnesium settle at the bottom of the tank, forming a thick layer of sediment. This buildup can cause several problems:

  • Reduced Efficiency: The sediment acts as an insulating layer, making it harder for the heating element to transfer heat to the water. This reduces the system’s efficiency and increases energy consumption.
  • Overheating: If the heating element is covered in sediment, it may overheat, causing the tank to become excessively hot and potentially leading to damage or failure.
  • Noise: As the heating element heats up, the trapped water in the sediment can turn to steam, causing popping or banging noises.
  • Reduced Capacity: Sediment buildup reduces the amount of water the tank can hold, leading to shorter hot water availability.


Corrosion is another common issue that affects hot water systems, especially those with metal tanks and components. Corrosion occurs when the metal is exposed to water and oxygen, leading to rust and deterioration. Over time, this can weaken the tank and pipes, causing leaks and potentially catastrophic failures.

To combat corrosion, many hot water systems are equipped with sacrificial anode rods, which attract corrosive elements and protect the tank. However, these rods need to be inspected and replaced periodically to ensure they are effective.

Pressure Problems

Water pressure plays a crucial role in the performance of your hot water system. Both high and low pressure can cause problems:

  • High Pressure: Excessive water pressure can strain the tank and pipes, leading to leaks and potential bursts. It can also cause the pressure relief valve to open frequently, wasting water and energy.
  • Low Pressure: Insufficient water pressure can result in a weak flow of hot water, making it difficult to use multiple fixtures simultaneously. It can also indicate a blockage or issue within the system that needs to be addressed.


Leaks are a serious issue that can occur in various parts of the hot water system, including the tank, pipes, and valves. Leaks not only waste water but can also cause significant damage to your home if left unchecked. Common causes of leaks include:

  • Corrosion: As mentioned earlier, corrosion can weaken the tank and pipes, leading to leaks.
  • Pressure Problems: High water pressure can cause leaks by straining the system.
  • Faulty Valves: The pressure relief valve, drain valve, and other components can develop leaks over time due to wear and tear.
Close up of dirty hands fixing plumbing pipes

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Hot Water System

Regularly Flush the Tank to Remove Sediment

Flushing the tank is one of the most effective ways to remove sediment buildup and maintain the efficiency of your hot water system. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn Off the Power/Gas Supply: For electric heaters, turn off the power at the circuit breaker. For gas heaters, turn the thermostat to the “pilot” setting.
  • Attach a Garden Hose to the Drain Valve: Locate the drain valve near the bottom of the tank and attach a garden hose. Run the other end of the hose to a safe drainage area, such as a floor drain or outside.
  • Open the Drain Valve: Carefully open the drain valve to allow the water to flow out. Be cautious as the water will be hot.
  • Flush the Tank: Open the cold water supply valve to flush out any remaining sediment. Continue flushing until the water runs clear.
  • Close the Valves and Refill the Tank: Close the drain valve, remove the hose, and refill the tank by opening the cold water supply valve. Once the tank is full, turn the power or gas supply back on.

Inspect for Leaks and Corrosion

Regular inspections can help you identify leaks and corrosion early, allowing for timely repairs. Here’s what to look for:

  • Check Around the Tank: Look for any signs of water around the base of the tank or on the floor. This could indicate a leak.
  • Inspect the Pipes and Valves: Check the pipes and valves for any signs of rust or corrosion. Pay close attention to the pressure relief valve and drain valve.
  • Examine the Anode Rod: The anode rod should be inspected every few years and replaced if it’s heavily corroded.

Monitor Water Pressure

Maintaining the correct water pressure is essential for the longevity of your hot water system. Use a pressure gauge to check the pressure regularly. The ideal range is between 40-60 psi (pounds per square inch) or 275-420 kPa (kilopascal). If the pressure is too high, consider installing a pressure-reducing valve to bring it down to a safe level.

Maintain a Consistent Temperature

Keeping the temperature consistent helps prevent damage to the system and reduces energy consumption. The recommended temperature for most hot water systems is around 49 degrees Celsius. This setting is hot enough to prevent bacterial growth but not so hot that it causes scalding or increases the risk of sediment buildup and corrosion.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Checks with a Professional

While DIY maintenance is essential, professional maintenance checks are also crucial for ensuring your system’s longevity. A professional can perform a thorough inspection, identify potential issues, and perform necessary repairs. Schedule a professional maintenance check at least once a year to keep your system in top condition.

Signs Your Hot Water System Needs Repairs

Strange Noises Coming from the Tank

Strange noises such as popping, banging, or hissing coming from your hot water tank can indicate various issues:

  • Sediment Buildup: Popping or cracking sounds can occur when sediment accumulates at the bottom of the tank and is heated by the element.
  • Mineral Deposits: Hissing sounds may indicate mineral deposits forming on the heating element.
  • Internal Corrosion: Banging noises might suggest internal corrosion or loose components inside the tank.

If you hear unusual sounds from your hot water system, it’s advisable to have it inspected by a professional to identify and address the underlying cause.

Inconsistent Water Temperature

Inconsistent water temperature is a common sign that your hot water system requires attention:

  • Thermostat Issues: A malfunctioning thermostat can cause the water temperature to fluctuate, resulting in unpredictable hot water supply.
  • Sediment Buildup: Sediment accumulation can insulate the heating element, causing it to heat water unevenly.
  • Heating Element Problems: Faulty heating elements may struggle to maintain consistent water temperature, leading to fluctuations.

If you notice inconsistent water temperatures, it’s essential to have your system checked to diagnose and resolve the issue promptly.

Rusty or Discoloured Water

Rusty or discoloured water coming from your hot water taps can indicate internal corrosion within the tank or pipes:

  • Tank Corrosion: Corrosion inside the tank can cause rust particles to mix with the hot water, giving it a rusty or brownish colour.
  • Pipe Corrosion: Corrosion in the pipes leading to or from the hot water tank can also cause discoloration.

Discoloured water not only affects water quality but also indicates potential damage to your hot water system that requires immediate attention from a professional plumber.

Increased Energy Bills

A sudden increase in energy bills without a corresponding increase in usage can indicate inefficiencies in your hot water system:

  • Insulation Issues: Poor insulation or sediment buildup can force the system to work harder to heat water, consuming more energy.
  • Heating Element Problems: Faulty heating elements or thermostat settings can cause the system to run inefficiently, leading to higher energy consumption.

If you notice a spike in your energy bills, consider scheduling a maintenance check to ensure your hot water system is operating efficiently.

How EVR Plumbing Can Help

Maintaining your hot water system can be challenging without the right expertise. For homeowners in the Logan, Ipswich, and Gold Coast areas, EVR Plumbing offers reliable and professional services to ensure your hot water system operates efficiently and lasts longer. Whether you need routine maintenance, repairs, or emergency assistance, our experienced team is here to help.

Why Choose EVR Plumbing?

  • Experienced Professionals: Our team consists of certified and experienced plumbers who specialise in hot water systems.
  • Comprehensive Services: From regular maintenance checks to complex repairs, we offer a wide range of services tailored to your needs.
  • Customer Satisfaction: We pride ourselves on delivering high-quality service and ensuring customer satisfaction with every job.
  • Emergency Support: We understand that issues can arise unexpectedly, which is why we provide prompt emergency services to address urgent problems.

How to Schedule A Service

Scheduling a service with EVR Plumbing is simple and convenient:

  • Visit Our Website: Head to our website to learn more about our services and book an appointment online.
  • Call Us: Reach out to our friendly customer service team by phone to discuss your needs and schedule a visit.
  • Email Us: Send us an email with details about your hot water system issues, and we’ll get back to you promptly to arrange a service.

Our Commitment to You 

At EVR Plumbing, we are committed to providing reliable, high-quality plumbing services to the Gold Coast community. Our goal is to help you maintain a functional and efficient hot water system, ensuring your home remains comfortable and your energy bills stay manageable.

Regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your hot water system. By addressing common issues such as sediment buildup, corrosion, pressure problems, and leaks through proactive maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your hot water system. Each type of system—whether solar, gas, electric, or heat pump—requires specific care to optimise performance and minimise energy consumption.

To avoid costly repairs or premature replacements, it’s crucial to schedule regular maintenance checks with a qualified plumber or technician. Professional inspections can identify potential issues early on and ensure that your hot water system continues to operate efficiently. By investing in routine maintenance, you not only save money in the long run but also ensure uninterrupted access to hot water for your daily needs. Don’t wait until a minor issue becomes a major problem. Contact EVR Plumbing today and let our expert team take care of your hot water system maintenance needs.


How often should I flush my hot water tank?

It’s generally recommended to flush your hot water tank at least once a year to remove sediment buildup and maintain efficiency. However, in areas with hard water or high sediment levels, more frequent flushing may be necessary.

What temperature should I set my hot water system to?

The recommended temperature for hot water systems is around 49 degrees Celsius or 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is hot enough to prevent bacterial growth while reducing the risk of scalding and mineral buildup.

How can I tell if my hot water system has a leak?

Signs of a leak include water around the base of the tank, damp spots on the floor, or a decrease in water pressure. Regular inspections can help identify leaks early before they cause significant damage.

When should I call a professional for hot water system maintenance?

It’s recommended to schedule professional maintenance checks at least once a year. Additionally, if you notice any signs of leaks, inconsistent water temperature, discoloured water, or increased

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