Having a reliable hot water cylinder is essential for any home. However, hot water cylinders can malfunction over time and need repairs or replacement. Here are 5 common signs that indicate your hot water cylinder may be failing and in need of service.
1. Lukewarm Water Temperature
The most obvious sign of a problem with your hot water cylinder is when the hot water it provides is lukewarm or has decreased in temperature over time.
A properly working hot water cylinder with an intact thermostat should heat water to about 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. If your hot water feels noticeably cooler than this, it likely means the thermostat is malfunctioning and unable to sufficiently heat the water.
Some of the potential causes for a lukewarm cylinder include:
- A faulty or broken thermostat that cannot accurately regulate temperature.
- Sediment buildup and corrosion inside the cylinder block heat transfer.
- Insufficient insulation allows heat loss.
- Leaks that allow hot water to escape and cool.
- Failure of the heating element that heats the water.
Having lukewarm instead of piping hot water is inconvenient and a sign your hot water cylinder needs professional maintenance or repairs. The specific cause will need to be diagnosed.
2. Strange Sounds or Noises
Some sounds coming from your hot water cylinder are normal, like the hum of the heating element switching on. However, strange new sounds can signal problems.
Examples of abnormal noises to listen out for include:
- Loud banging, clanking or rumbling which could indicate sediment and buildup shaking loose inside the cylinder. This can block water flow and heating efficiency.
- Hissing, which may be due to a leak of steam and hot water. Leaks can damage your cylinder by reducing water pressure.
- Crackling or sizzling from the electric heating element, indicating it needs replacing.
- No noise at all from the heating element, meaning no heating is occurring.
The specific noise you hear can help a technician diagnose the underlying problem. But any new or loud noise usually means servicing is required. Don’t ignore strange sounds from your hot water system.
3. Rust Colored Water
Rusty or brown-tinted water coming from your hot taps is never a good sign. It means inside the hot water cylinder, corrosion and rust flaking is occurring.
The steel interior of cylinders can slowly corrode over years of use. This rust eventually flakes off into the water supply, causing discolouration when it exits the taps.
Rust accumulation can also clog pipes, reduce water flow, and allow bacteria growth. If you notice rust in your hot water, your cylinder may need corrosion control treatment, flushing, or replacement. Catching rust issues early minimizes damage.
4. Low Water Pressure
A noticeable drop in your hot water pressure can indicate sediment buildup or a leak in the hot water cylinder.
Inside old cylinders, minerals from water and rust flakes can accumulate over time. This sediment eventually impedes water flow, resulting in decreased water pressure.
Leaks either within the cylinder or connected pipes also reduce water pressure. Having significantly less pressure from the hot taps than cold taps points to a hot water cylinder issue.
Low pressure problems will progressively worsen if left unaddressed. Inspecting and flushing sediment from the cylinder or fixing leaks can often restore normal water pressure.
5. Long Water Heating Time
Finally, if you’ve noticed it takes much longer for hot water to start flowing when you turn on the taps, this points to a problem with your hot water cylinder heating efficiency.
Several factors can cause a cylinder to be slow in heating water:
- Insufficient insulation results in heat loss and slow recovery.
- Large amounts of sediment retard heating.
- The thermostat is faulty and unable to trigger the heating element properly.
- The element itself is wearing out and unable to quickly get hot.
- The capacity of the cylinder is too low for your home’s needs.
A long wait for hot water is frustrating and wastes water. If the issue is gradual, you may not notice the change. Have a technician inspect your system when hot water takes too long.
Know When to Call A Professional
Catching hot water cylinder problems promptly minimizes costly repairs down the road. Contact a professional hot water cylinder company immediately if you notice any of these 5 warning signs.
With preventative maintenance, an older cylinder can often be flushed and repaired to extend its useful life. But deterioration may eventually require a full replacement.
Signs like lukewarm water, strange noises, rust, low pressure and slow heating usually mean your cylinder needs servicing. Addressing issues early provides reliable hot water to your home.