What do you do when you have no hot water?
Has your hot water system stopped working properly? Hot water systems involve both plumbing and electrical work, so who do you call? How do you know if you need a plumber or electrician to fix your hot water? If you’re struggling to work out who the best tradies are to call, then read on. We’re here to help because calling out the wrong person for the job can cost time and money for both you and the professional you call.
Our guide will help you decide if it’s a plumber or an electrician you need to call to solve your hot water issue.
What you should check first
- Make sure the circuit breaker in your switch box is working. If it has tripped, check to see if it can be turned back on.
- Test your hot water system’s pressure relief valve.
Check your circuit breaker
When it comes to hot water system repairs, the first thing you need to do is check your circuit breaker. If your circuit breaker has tripped, check whether you can turn it back on.
To reset your circuit breaker, turn it off by moving the switch or handle to the “off” position. Then, turn it back on. If your circuit breaker will not stay on, then an electrician is responsible for fixing it. Electricians deal with all of the electrical components of your hot water system.
If everything is fine with your circuit breaker, then the next step is to call Vector.
No hot water after a storm
We often get calls for no hot water after a storm.
There are two types of hot water networks in Auckland. The northern network, which supplies North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney, has a mix of both pilot wire and ripple relay for hot water. Ripple control is a network management tool for managing electricity demand. Vector uses ripple control to turn off electric hot water systems at times of peak demand.
During a major outage, such as after a big storm, Vector gives priority to restoring the main power lines first as they supply power to lights and other electrical appliances in homes. They turn on hot water for customers on the ripple relay once they have restored all the main power lines.
If you are on a pilot wire network, field crews have to restore the pilot circuits as well to get hot water going after outages on the main power lines are resolved.
Often, it can then take up to 6 hours to reheat your hot water cylinder after a power cut.
Pilot wire or ripple relay for hot water
Once you speak with Vector, you can establish whether you are on a ripple circuit. They may be able to fix your hot water issues from their end.
Check the pressure relief valve
A damaged pressure valve is another common cause of a lack of hot water. It is therefore important to check the pressure relief valve before calling in the professionals. It is located at the top of the tank. Check the pipe the water flows down to see if it’s hot or cold. This pipe should be hot, so be very careful.
If it’s tepid, or hot, there’s likely to be a problem with water distribution, which means you should call a plumber. Conversely, if the water is lukewarm or cold, then it could be an element or a thermostat. In this case, so you’ll probably need an electrician. Some electricians will replace the elements themselves. Others will need a plumber to drain the cylinder so that they can replace it and wire it back up again.
Is your relief value leaking?
Leaks from the relief valves are fairly obvious. A small amount of leakage is perfectly normal. As the hot water expands the relief valve acts as a safety mechanism, allowing small amounts of hot water to drip away safely. This relieves pressure on the hot water system.
If you suspect that your relief valve is leaking more than 500ml of water a day, however, we recommend calling our plumbers.
When else to call a plumber?
- Lack of water flow from taps
- Pressure valve problems
- Hot water tank leaks
- Water discolouration
If you notice a leak or signs such as mould or damp patches, you’ll need a plumber to fix the problem. While being capable of causing extensive water damage, leaks can reduce the amount of water flowing through a hot water system, impact the temperature of your water as well as the water pressure.
If you’re seeing discoloured hot water, it is a sign that the hot water cylinder is rusted and may need to be replaced.
How often should I get a hot water system service?
Servicing your hot water system annually ensures everything is working optimally. This helps to keep energy bills down and may even extend the life of your system. As part of an annual service, we will check for any signs of wear, ensuring you can get parts replaced or other work done in a timely manner.
Hot water flow fixed fast
If you’ve got a hot water failure, or you can’t decide whether to call out a plumber or an electrician, get in touch. We have the right skills to diagnose your hot water problem, whatever might be the cause of it.