We often get customers calling up with a hot water cylinder that needs repairing. The first thing they ask is “Do I need and electrician or a plumber?”. Good question. Read on to find out a few quick checks you can do and which tradesman to call first.
The first thing to check is whether there is any water coming out of the hot tap after you turn in on. If there isn’t any water coming out of the tap (and the cold water works fine) then call a PLUMBER.
Next, take a look at your hot water cylinder (HWC) and see if there is any water leaking from it or from any of the pipes around it. If there is, then you’ve got a leak. Turn the power off to the hot water cylinder and call a PLUMBER quickly!
If your cylinder is gurgling lots or sounds like it’s boiling, the hot water at the tap is way too hot or there is hot water spilling out onto your roof, then turn off the power to the hot water cylinder and call an ELECTRICIAN so they can check the thermostat. Also make sure you keep kids away from the hot taps so they don’t get burns.
Is there water coming out of the hot tap but it’s cold? Then either your HWC isn’t working properly or you’ve used all your hot water for the day. If your cylinder is connected to night-rate electricity, then the hot water cylinder only heats up at night. Did you use a lot of hot water during the day (think showers, baths and running the washing machine on warm or hot cycle)? By the late afternoon or evening your hot water may be luke-warm or cold. If it’s hot again by the next morning, then chances are the cylinder is working fine.
When you are running out of hot water every day you may be on night rate and you can have your wiring changed. This can give you the option to have the cylinder reheat as soon as you have used some hot water. Call your ELECTRICIAN and they will let you know what your specific options are.
Still no hot water?
Check that the switch to the hot water cylinder is turned on. It usually looks like a switch with a wire coming out below the switch and it is usually located next to the cylinder. Ensure it is switched to the on position (down in New Zealand) for the cylinder to work.
If that’s looking OK, then check that the circuit breaker for the hot water cylinder on the switchboard is turned on. When this switch is turned off, then try and turn it back on, then wait for a few hours to see if you have hot water again. If the circuit breaker turns itself off again, then call an ELECTRICIAN. For really old switchboards, check that the fuse wire for the HWC fuse is in place. If not replace the fuse wire or call an ELECTRICIAN to do it for you. Get them to take a look at the cylinder at the same time.
If we haven’t solved your HWC problem yet then keep reading…
It’s time to call a tradesman. It’s probably a fault with either the hot water cylinder element (the thing that heats the water up), the hot water cylinder thermostat (the thing that controls the water temperature) or the relay so call an ELECTRICIAN. Always let your electrician know that it’s a hot water cylinder you need help with. Check that they can get to you promptly. Ask for same or next day service during the week. At the weekend ask for next working day service unless you are happy paying after-hours charges.