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Hot Water Cylinders: What you need to know
The hot water cylinder is often taken for granted until it breaks down or a leak occurs. When that occurs often it can be dangerous and knowing some basic tips about your hot water cylinder can be valuable while waiting for a professional plumber arrives. Check out these tips on hot water cylinders...
Find out what type of hot water cylinder you have
Is it gas or electric? Does the system store hot water or is it an instant hot water system? A mains pressure cylinder will show a maximum working pressure of 700-1400kPa. Low pressure cylinders may be labelled as having a 7.6-12m head or perhaps a 25-40 feet head. Most of the problems occur with storage type cylinders.
What do I do if my hot water cylinder is leaking?
When there is a leak, identify where to turn your cylinder power, gas and water supply off before having any work done on it. It is highly recommended that you have hot water cylinder work done by trades people that are experienced and professional.
If water is dripping excessively from the hot water system overflow or running from the vent pipe on the roof, this could be a sign that your hot water system is not working properly and the valves or thermostat may need adjusting or servicing.
It may be a good idea to incorporate drip trays with an overflow pipe under the hot water cylinders so that if a leak occur, timber floors, carpet or other flooring are protected.
Check test levers on valves
Modern hot water cylinders have test levers on the valves on the cold water supply to the cylinder and on top of the cylinder. Twice a year, lift these to check they work. If water does not discharge or is continually running from the valves, call in a professional plumber to service them.
How should my hot water cylinder be secured?
Hot water cylinders must be secured to the timber framing or external wall cladding if it is outside, so that it does not get pulled off the connecting pipes during earthquakes. This can be done with two metal straps screwed back to the framing with galvanized wood screwbolts.
What should the hot water temperature be?
There are two different temperatures you need to be aware of with your hot water system. The New Zealand Building Code requires that hot water be stored at a minimum of 60șC to prevent dangerous bacterial growth.
The Building Code also requires that water arriving in the fittings to be at a temperature not exceeding 55șC, to prevent scalding. You can adjust your hot water temperature by adjusting the tempering valve on your hot water system.
There are a number of safety measures to consider take to ensure optimum hot water temperatures at the taps & showers. Before selecting & installing any hot water system for your home or bathroom renovation always discuss the type of hot water system you want with a professional plumber. Also discuss temperature shut-off devices, programmable temperature controls, & tempering valves. Changing your hot water system may require a building consent.
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