Looking after the Perfect Hottie!

Looking after the Perfect Hottie!

Richard Sanderson – Greenwell Plumbing


The hot water system is a plumbing asset in every home but usually tucked away out of sight and not given much thought until you are faced with cold showers on a frosty Canberra morning. Unless you like cold showers, it is best to give your hot water system some extra thought now so it’s lifespan can be prolonged and you are ready to make a quick decision when it’s time to change. Below are Greenwell Plumbing’s top tips for maintaining your hot water system and how to decide what hot water system is best for you when it requires replacement.


Maintaining your hot water system

Maintenance is essential to ensure the longest lifespan of your hot water system. Without regular maintenance, a hot water system will last around 7-12 years but with maintenance, this can be extended to up to 18-25 years.


Top maintenance tips:

  • The PTR Valve (Pressure and Temperature Relief Valve) is a safety valve and should be tested (pull the leaver) every 6 months. This test can be performed by the homeowner. If the valve does not release water, it has failed and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. PTR valves are on all storage units and located at the top of the system. Your plumber will be able to assist with locating and demonstrating how to test it.  
  • In addition to regular testing, the PTR should be replaced every 5 years by a licenced plumber. Want to know why testing and replacing the PTR valve is important? Check out this MythBusters video.
  • Every storage unit also has a sacrificial anode rod. This should be replaced every 3.5-5 years. Failure to replace the anode means your hot water tank will rust out quicker and its lifespan will be reduced significantly.
  • To get the maximum efficiency out of your solar hot water unit, be sure to keep the solar panels clean and free from dust.
  • Continuous flow systems have a filter on the cold inlet which should be cleaned and/or replaced every 6 months. Your licenced plumber will be able to assist with this.


Electric, gas storage, continuous flow, solar, heat pump… what hot water system is right for me?

Choosing the right new hot water system will not only reduce your gas or electricity bill but you will have enough hot water when you need it and also be more environmentally friendly.


Top replacement tips:

  • The best hot water system for a small household (1-2 people) is a gas continuous flow system or a small gas or electric storage hot water system.
  • The best hot water system for a medium household (3-4 people) is a gas system (continuous flow or storage), an electric heat pump or solar unit.
  • The best hot water system for a large household (5+ people) is gas storage unit, one or multiple continuous flow hot water systems or a solar unit. A gas storage unit may be more economical but continuous flow means you will never run out of hot water.
  • Installing solar has a high initial cost however you will be rewarded over its lifetime by lower electricity or gas bills and the environment will thank you also.
  • If you wish to change from electric to a gas or solar hot water system, it is best to speak with your preferred plumber about cost. Even if your home already has gas, you might need to upgrade your gas line.  


Use a licenced plumber… not a “Mr Fix It”!

You might think you can save a few dollars by trying to service your hot water system yourself but plumbing is a licenced trade. Water, gas and electricity can lead to serious injury or death, even if you are following a ‘professional’ on YouTube!


Top tips for choosing a plumber:

  • Choose a plumber who is a licenced plumber, gasfitter and also has a restricted electrical licence (if your hot water system is electric). Having one tradesman with all the tickets will be much cheaper than having both a plumber and an electrician turn up to your home. Making sure your plumber is licenced is also extremely important. You can check if a tradesman is licenced in ACT by visiting the Access Canberra website. https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/services/licence/#/
  • Choose a Master Plumber if you want a highly trained tradesman who is committed to staying at the top of their trade. Master Plumbers maintain the highest standards of public health, safety, training and professional development. You will receive outstanding service and quality workmanship. To find an ACT Master Plumber visit http://www.masterplumbersact.asn.au/    


Do you need a plumber?

If you need a fully licenced master plumber to service your plumbing and gasfitting needs contact Richard from Greenwell Plumbing on 0437 743 729 or [email protected] And don’t forget to Like us on Facebook @greenwellplumbingau