6 Easy To Recognise Signs That Your Hot Water System May Be Faulty

Hot water is a luxury many Australians take for granted until they open the tap and find a gush of cold water! Needless to say, this can be quite aggravating.

Fortunately, several tell-tale signs indicate when you need to consider a hot water system repair or even replacement. Knowing what to look for can potentially avoid the latter, which is good news as replacements can be expensive.

Know the Signs

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For the most part, the average hot water system can last between 8 to 12 years before needing replacement. However, factors such as water quality, frequency of maintenance and even initial installation can impact your hot water system’s lifespan.

In many instances, a simple repair will be all that’s needed. Unfortunately, many homeowners often ignore these signs because they may not initially affect the temperature of the water. Also, ignoring the small signs is a way of postponing a potentially costly water tank replacement.

Our plumbing experts recommend not ignoring the signs, but rather using them to identify the necessary maintenance to avoid an expensive replacement. Here are a few of the more significant signs to watch out for.

Fluctuating Temperatures

A working hot water system will have regulated water temperatures. When the water temperature starts fluctuating between cold and hot, it’s a clear sign that your hot water system may have a faulty thermostat or element.

One of the reasons people ignore this problem is because the water isn’t always cold, so it isn’t perceived to be a big problem.

However, repairing or replacing smaller components will be considerably cheaper in the long run, so it’s best to call a professional at the first signs of trouble.

Strange Noises

It’s not unusual for homes or their plumbing systems to make the occasional noises. This includes your hot water system. Typically, hot water systems that aren’t regularly maintained may cause banging or rattling sounds you’ve probably heard on occasion.

When you start hearing these sounds, opt to perform maintenance on the whole unit. You may have to repair or replace a few components which will be less stressful than replacing the whole unit.


Another sign of a faulty water system is a leak directly from or around the hot water system.

Yes, a leak from your heating system is almost certainly an indication that the unit will need to be replaced. However, contacting your plumber as soon as you spot the first leak may avoid a total replacement if the problem has originated from faulty components.

Keep in mind that a leaking system could also increase the danger of electrical shocks or water damage to your floors and furnishings. Our experts recommend turning the water off while you wait for the plumber.

Funny Smells

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Some hot water systems operate using gas and these are more at risk of failing than their electrical counterparts. This is because of all the risks that go along with gas appliances. The most significant is a gas leak which can create a funny smell similar to rotten eggs.

There are several reasons why a gas leak should never be avoided, such as:

  • Gas leaks can be fatal to humans and animals
  • Since gas is flammable, a leak creates the risk of an explosion
  • Leaking gas also increases your energy bill

Keep in mind there’s no such thing as a small gas leak. All gas leaks should be treated as dangerous. Be sure to ask your plumber for advice on how to deal with the situation until it can be resolved.

Yellow Pilot Flame

Gas-operated hot water systems have pilot lights that are designed to alert users of potential problems. Since the pilot light is blue under normal operation, a yellow light is an indication of incomplete combustion.

When you first notice a yellow pilot flame, it’s important to switch the gas off and evacuate everyone from the home. This is because you may not know how long the light has been yellow and harmful carbon dioxide could have been leaking into the space for some time. In this instance, you should call your local plumber immediately.

Rust-Coloured Water

Lastly, a very common sign that your hot water system needs to be worked on is rust-coloured water when you open the taps. While many people assume this is just a sign of aged or dirty pipes, our experts explain otherwise.

Years of exposure to water and moisture will cause the pipes and metal components to rust. This in turn causes severe damage to the water system which results in leaking.

Final Thought

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A repair is almost always cheaper than a full hot water system replacement. Don’t ignore the signs, no matter how small they may seem.

When it comes to your hot water system, it’s the one time you don’t want to wait for a small problem to get bigger before you deal with it. Keep the water hot and safe by performing regular checks!

Cumbo Boris
Cumbo Boris

My name is Boris Cumbo. I am a content writer and expert in the fields of film, music, celebrities, and lifestyle. My aim is to provide great and valuable information on the topics I am writing in order that readers get relevant content. I am the father of 1 child, and I like to spend all my free time with my family.