Expert tips for maintaining your hot-water system

It's easy to take running hot water for granted, but keeping your hot-water system in good shape ensures a steady supply and saves you money. Here are few expert tips on maintaining your hot-water system.

Expert tips for maintaining your hot-water system

Heat trap

  • Sometimes hot-water cylinders are installed with their outlet pipes going directly upwards, causing the water in the pipe to heat.
  • This wastes energy and money but just ask a plumber to install a heat trap in the pipe and you'll overcome this.

Waiting for the hot water

  • If a tap is a long way from the hot-water cylinder, a lot of cold water has to flow to the tap before the hot water catches up.
  • To make hot water more immediate everywhere in your home, get your plumber to fit a device that diverts water back into the cylinder until it becomes hot, thus avoiding waste.
  • Alternatively, install a separate system such as an instant hot-water dispenser to supply any remote taps.

Lower the temperature

  • A water heater thermostat set at 70°C (160°F) or higher can easily scald and costs more to operate.
  • Lower the temperature to 60°C (145°F) for safer, more economical operation.
  • A lower water temperature will also ensure that your heater lasts longer.

Wrap warmly

  • Insulate exposed hot-water pipes with preformed segments of pipe insulation.
  • For a tight fit around corners and bends, cut segments with a sharp knife.
  • Butt segments tightly, leaving no gaps.
  • Tape joints with adhesive PVC tape.
  • Paint the exposed insulation to stop deterioration.

Relieve the pressure

  • Many domestic hot-water systems are at mains pressure, which means that the pressure inside the storage cylinder is consistent with the pressure inside the water pipes in the street.
  • However, if the pressure in the cylinder builds up, it could explode.
  • To prevent this, a relief valve is fitted to the cylinder.
  • To keep this valve working properly, operate the small lever on the outside of the cylinder every few months.

The quiet performers

  • Gas water heaters work away so quietly and efficiently that their maintenance is often overlooked.
  • Make sure that every so often you check the flue pipe for leaks or blockages, and the combustion chamber for accumulated rust.
  • Also check the pilot light to make sure that it's clean and free from fluff.

Bear these expert tips in mind and you'll be able to feel more confident about your hot water supply and its efficiency.

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