No-one enjoys a cold shower, least of all when it comes unexpectedly on a winter’s day. If you have a large family or are living in a share-house, trying to juggle bathroom schedules is a nightmare in itself.
In truth, some electric hot water systems are just not large enough or powerful enough to heat enough hot water for a large family or share-house. While replacing the tank straight away is not an option for most people, it may be worthwhile to stagger shower times and give the system time to reheat in between. However, in some cases, there may be an underlying issue with your hot water system.
An electric hot water system typically acts as a big kettle, it is an insulated tank which allows the water to stay hotter for longer. After someone has had a shower or used the hot water for something else (washing machine, dishwasher etc) the tank then refills with cold water and the electric elements will work to reheat.
If your elements are broken, your system will no longer be able to work effectively or efficiently to heat the water inside.
The thermostat inside your electric hot water system basically tells the heating elements when they should heat up and monitors how hot the water is becoming. A normal electric system has two elements and two thermostats, the upper element heats the water first and is followed by the lower.
The thermostat that is paired with the upper element coordinates the two elements, when the water reaches the correct temperature it triggers the lower thermostat. When the lower thermostat senses the water is cooling down it triggers the lower element. Evidently, if your thermostat is malfunctioning it can cause many problems in your system.
When the water inside your tank becomes extremely hot, the pressure valve inside it will release – this is similar to steam that comes out of a kettle after it has reached its boiling point.
Small amounts of water around the tank are normal, however, a lot of water around your hot water system means trouble and you should switch it off at the switchboard as water and electricity do not mix well.
Most electric hot water systems have a lifespan of around 10 years and when it reaches this age it can just stop working all of a sudden.
It is worth weighing up the pros and cons of replacing faulty parts or just replacing the whole hot water system. Generally, the cost of a hot water system is the more expensive option, but you should keep in mind that constant repairs add up very quickly. In the end you may better off with a new system that has increased performance and decreased energy consumption.