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Why Do I Need To Maintain My Hot Water System

During much of the year on the Gold Coast we frequently hear clients ask why do I need to maintain my hot water system there is nothing wrong with it and I’m still getting plenty of hot water. In summer it is easy to forget just how much we depend on our hot water systems for showering, bathing, cooking, washing dishes and washing laundry.

Why Do I Need To Maintain My Hot Water System

But by April many people suddenly appreciate just how important their hot water system is when it fails to deliver enough or frequently no hot water. Frequently the signs that there is a problem with the hot water system have been there for months and often would have been diagnosed and rectified as part of an annual service. Because hot water systems appear to be complicated many people adopt a head in the sand approach but in reality like most working fixtures in your home they will always benefit immensely from a bit of routine maintenance

In over 37 years of experience we at Whywait Plumbing are well aware that Murphy’s Law applies usually in a spectacular fashion to the failure of a hot water system with most of them failing and leaking late at night usually when it is very cold. In all honesty basic maintenance of your hot water system is fairly simple but vitally it can double the effective lifespan of your hot water system.

To maintain your hot water system the main things you need to allow for are:

  • replacing the sacrificial anode every 5 – 7 years
  • flushing out all of the minerals and sediment that over time are deposited in the bottom of the storage tank every 3 – 5 years
  • have the tempering valve maintained, tested and certified every year
  • flush the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) every 3 – 6 months
  • replace the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) every 3 – 4 years
  • replace the expansion control valve (ECV valve) every 3 – 5 years

Apart from flushing the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) all the other work is legally required to be undertaken by a licensed plumber.

Most concerning from our perspective is the failure to replace the sacrificial anode which is the biggest single cause of premature hot water service failure. Regularly replacing your sacrificial anode will extend the life of your hot water service by ten years or even more.  Whywait strongly recommend that you call us to service your  hot water system and replace the sacrificial anode every 5 years as the cost of the service is minor compared to the thousands of dollars replacement costs not mentioning the inconvenience.

The one task we recommend you personally undertake is to activate and flush the  temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve. TPR valves continuously work automatically discharging hot water if the temperature or pressure of the water in the storage tank gets too high. Many people fail to understand if your TPR valve is not functioning properly it can potentially cause the tank to explode.

Flushing a TPR valve is relatively easy and straightforward, plus is something you can do yourself, but if the valve is already continually dripping water in all likelihood it needs replacing. To trigger the relief valve and flush it out all you need to do is lift the lever on the front of the valve all the way open and let water discharge from the drain pipe for 5 – 10 seconds then slowly put back the lever in place.

Very simply maintaining your hot water system is an investment not a cost.

By Gary Mays

 

Hot Water Usage Equals High Electricity Costs

Hot Water Usage Equals High Electricity Costs

The Easter long weekend is only surpassed by the Christmas and new year period as a time when families travel to be together. It is also the start of the hot water season when clients are reminded of the ever-increasing hot water electricity cost.

hot water electricity cost means you need Whywait Plumbing to maintain your HWSFor the plumbers at Whywait Plumbing, Easter is a busy period with blocked drains being the most common problem followed by hot water problems.

Unlike Christmas, there is always a spike over Easter in emergency callouts for faulty hot water units. That is because Easter is generally much cooler than Christmas. Around April, we all suddenly realise that cold weather is on the way. Every year we notice the signs with an increase in emergency service callouts with the problem being no hot water. Even in the relatively mild climate of South-East Queensland no-one willingly wants to have a cold shower.

Frequently we cannot help but shake our head’s at all the stress, the waste of time and money these emergency service calls represent to many homeowners. Sadly many of us do not pay too much attention to the myriad of household and mechanical systems that provide so much comfort and convenience in our modern lives. We take for granted our water heaters, toilets, mixer taps, and air conditioners that is until they stop working. Then come the panicked call and a repair job that always ends up costing more than we expect.

Showers are the activity where we use the most hot water. Generally, 40% of the water consumed in the shower is hot water. This is why there is a strong correlation between the length of a shower and the hot water electricity cost.

If your home is like many in South East Queensland you are producing hot water from an electric hot water service connected to tariff 11 with a shower rose you love because you get a deluge of water from it at 23 litres per minute. If your shower is being utilised four times a day for an average of 5 minutes per shower, then those showers are costing you $1125 a year in electricity costs and $107 in water usage costs.

Essentially 1 kilowatt-hour of electricity is used to produce 15 litres of hot water using an electric element hot water service. With electricity prices expected to increase 21% on 1 July and a further 40% over the next three years, there is considerable scope for reducing your hot water electricity cost.

One option is to change your electricity and water guzzling shower rose to a water efficient shower rose using only 9 litres per minute. Based on the standard example above this would immediately reduce your electricity costs to $440 and water cost to $42. If you are able to change your hot water service from tariff 11 to tariff 33, then you will save an additional 40% on electricity costs.

The best option and the one we recommend is the long-term sustainable option utilising heat pump technology. Heat pump technology involves replacing your old fashioned energy-hungry electric hot water service to the highly efficient Sanden “Eco®” Plus Heat Pump hot water system.

Electricity costs have become a political hot potato, with state and federal governments playing the blame game in blaming each other for the doubling of electricity prices in recent years.

Hot water electricity cost is one area you can reduce your electricity costs substantially by being smart about how you heat your hot water and use it. Hot water generated by electric elements is something we always took for granted. That is until surging electricity price increases made us all take another look at our increasingly energy-intensive lifestyles.

What Value Is There In An Audit By Gold Coast City Council Plumbing Inspectors?

What Value Is There In An Audit By Gold Coast City Council Plumbing Inspectors?

Gold Coast homeowners are increasingly subjected to allegedly “free compliance audits” by Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors. To justify their jobs in a depressed market with almost nil construction activity, Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors act like desperate door-to-door salesmen knocking on the doors of homeowners who have upgraded hot water systems. There is no legislative requirement for these audits to occur, and the homeowner does not need to allow them to enter their home.

To fill in time and justify their jobs, Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors are undertaking “audits” that are not requested and are unannounced. The plumbing inspectors are knocking on the door and stating they are there to inspect the hot water service.   Legally they can assess the work if invited to do so by you. No Gold Coast plumber is asking them to evaluate the work, as none of us sees any value in doing so. Neither Gold Coast City Council nor its plumbing inspectors take any risk or responsibility, so their inspection is of no real value except to justify their jobs.

If Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors arrive unannounced at your door, he has no right of entry. He may request access by your invitation to inspect work that pertains to the form 4 plumbing contractors are legally obliged to lodge, but that is the absolute limit. If you refuse him entry, then he must immediately depart.

Unfortunately, the plumbing inspectors are loose with the truth and make out that they are legally obligated to undertake this audit. They do not inform homeowners that it is optional and not a legislative requirement.

The individual plumbing inspectors are not to blame for these events but are forced to do so as they work in an appalling atmosphere at Gold Coast City Council. It has been common knowledge within the plumbing industry for many years that the Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors are a deeply troubled organisation with bullying, abuse of power, nepotism, cronyism and double standards a daily occurrence.

Several clients of Whywait Plumbing that have received these unexpected visits were shocked when we phoned to say their hot water service we installed six months ago has had a defect notice issued. In every instant, as long as Whywait Plumbing receives the defect notice, we undertake the “repairs”, which invariably are that the tempering valve legally required to deliver hot water at 50 degrees is over temperature. To date, every home we have returned to is between 1-3 degrees over temperature. To see more information on the requirements of tempering valves and your obligations, click here.

Many of our clients have told us that they do not want the plumbing inspectors returning to their homes to re-audit. This we have conveyed via email to Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspectors on behalf of our clients. As a result, we had a phone call from the Gold Coast City Council Plumbing & Drainage Supervisor, Brian Till, recently, who informed us we should be encouraging our clients to have the re-audit undertaken; otherwise, we will remain responsible for the defects despite our notifying Gold Coast City Council that rectification work has been conducted.

Furthermore, Brian Till advised that the property will have registered against the title that there are outstanding plumbing defects which can have severe financial repercussions if you wish to sell your home.

If you get an unexpected knock on the door from a Gold Coast City Council plumbing inspector, we recommend you decline to allow them entry to your home. However, declining access does not affect you as they walk away, and the file is closed.

However, suppose you have had a defect notice issued. In that case, we recommend allowing a re-audit at a time that is suitable for you to ensure no defects are registered against your property. If you desire, we will attend at no cost to reassure you and ensure that due process is complied with.

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