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Understanding How Your Hot Water System’s Thermostat Works

Water heater systems contain a thermostat that regulates the temperature of the water. There are several common types of water heaters:

  • Electric – Uses heating elements controlled by the thermostat
  • Gas – Uses a gas burner regulated by the thermostat
  • Heat pump – Extracts heat from the air which is transferred via a compressor and refrigerant gas controlled by the thermostat
  • Solar – Uses solar thermal collectors and heat exchangers with an electric or gas booster regulated by the thermostat

All hot water systems use a thermostat to maintain a consistent temperature by activating the heating system when the water temperature falls below the set level.

The optimal preset temperature for most hot water systems is 60 degrees Celsius. Insulating your hot water system helps retain heat and maximises efficiency.

By understanding your water heater’s thermostat, you can tune it to optimal efficiency. This guide will walk you through the essential steps for accurately setting your thermostat and maintaining your hot water system for peak operation.

Recommended Temperature Settings

When setting your hot water system’s thermostat, follow these recommended guidelines:

  • Electric systems should be set to 60°C.
  • Optimally, both electric and gas storage systems require a thermostat setting of 60°C, while continuous flow gas units run efficiently at 50°C.

Exceeding the suggested temperature settings can result in increased energy costs without improving performance. The recommended settings safely exceed 50°C and help reduce operational expenses.

Adjusting the Thermostat

Adjusting the thermostat can reduce the amount of energy utilised in heating water while optimising efficiency. Here are the steps for typical storage tank and continuous flow units:

Storage Tank Systems

  1. Locate and open the access panel, then turn off the power to the unit at the isolator switch or the mains.
  2. Use a screwdriver to loosen the screw on the thermostat dial and adjust to the recommended 60°C setting.
  3. Tighten screw and turn power back on at isolator switch.
  4. After adjusting the thermostat, wait about 15 minutes for the water to reheat and verify that the temperature at the nearest hot tap reaches at least 50°C.

Continuous Flow Systems

  1. Locate the small dial underneath your continuous flow unit, often marked ‘Temp Control’.
  2. Activate the hot tap, then carefully turn the control dial clockwise using a screwdriver until the temperature consistently remains at or below 50°C.
  3. Turn off hot tap and ensure dial remains set to new position.

If you have issues adjusting your thermostat or feel unsure about the energy your hot water system uses, contact our team at Leichhardt Plumbing on 1300 349 338 and we would be happy to assist.

Insulating Your Hot Water System and Pipes

Insulating your hot water system and pipes is an effective way to maintain water temperature, reduce energy bills, and prevent heat loss. Here are some tips:

  • Insulate your hot water storage tank with insulation wrap or a jacket that has a minimum R-value of R1.5.
  • Ensure all fittings, valves and joints are properly sealed with no gaps in insulation.
  • Consider lagging jacket insulation for easily accessible continuous flow systems.

Proper insulation minimises standby heat energy consumption, which can constitute 10-25% of a home’s total energy use. For your home, this can save a considerable amount in gas electric costs per year, amounting to over 500 kWh. It also reduces carbon emissions.

Insulation is inexpensive, easy to install, and delivers excellent returns on investment through energy savings. We recommend contacting our team at Leichhardt Plumbing on 1300 349 338 to ensure proper materials and installation.

Regular Maintenance

To keep your hot water system operating efficiently and reduce the energy your hot water usage demands, regular maintenance checks are essential. This involves:

  • Perform an annual check of the pressure relief valve by carefully lifting the lever, making sure any discharged water is directed safely away.
  • Inspecting the unit for any leaks, corrosion or damaged components. Address any issues immediately.
  • Ensure the insulation is intact, properly positioned, and completely enveloping the system.
  • Drain 1 to 2 litres from the storage system’s relief valve drain line annually to flush out sediment.
  • Organise professional servicing every 2-4 years, which is essential for warranty protection and tailored to your water quality and system type.

You can do some basic checks, but our technicians at Leichhardt Plumbing can conduct thorough servicing and maintenance to optimise performance and longevity. Contact us on 1300 349 338 to arrange an inspection.

Water Saving Practices

There are several easy ways to reduce your hot water usage and save energy:

  • Choose taps, showerheads, and fixtures with a Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating of at least 3 stars for enhanced water efficiency.
  • Cut showering time to no more than 4 minutes to save water and reduce energy usage.
  • Wash laundry in cold water whenever possible.
  • Promptly repair any leaking taps or pipes.
  • Insulate the first 2 metres of hot water pipes from your system.

Embracing these water-saving practices can result in significant energy savings and a reduced environmental impact. For assistance with installation or leak detection, reach out to Leichhardt Plumbing at 1300 349 338.

Choosing the Right Hot Water System

When choosing a new or replacement hot water system, there are several key factors to consider:

  • Account for the number of residents and bathrooms to determine the appropriate size for your hot water system.
  • Available energy sources - gas, electric systems, solar
  • Space constraints
  • Budget
  • Evaluate the advantages of tank storage and continuous flow systems to decide which is more suited for your needs.

We recommend consulting with the experts at Leichhardt Plumbing to evaluate your options and select the most suitable system. Our experienced technicians can provide tailored advice based on:

  • Estimate your daily hot water consumption.
  • Energy costs in your area
  • Installation requirements and existing plumbing
  • Efficiency ratings and running costs
  • Available rebates for energy-efficient hot water systems.

Our 25 years of experience in the Leichhardt area equip us with thorough knowledge of the most suitable systems for homes in this region. Contact our team on 1300 349 338 to discuss your needs - we’re happy to provide quotes and recommendations for reliable, efficient hot water solutions.

Detecting and Fixing Common Faults

Several common issues can arise with hot water systems, requiring prompt diagnosis and repairs by a professional plumber to restore performance and efficiency:

  • Temperature fluctuations - Variations outside the thermostat’s set point can indicate a malfunctioning or miscalibrated thermostat.
  • Leaking valves or fittings - If you notice visible leaks or damp spots, this could mean that seals or washers require replacement.
  • Noisy operation - Knocking or rumbling noises can signify failing circulation pumps or mineral buildup in pipes.
  • Low water flow/pressure - Reduced hot water flow points to issues like sediment accumulation, which reduces tank capacity.
  • Slow reheat times - If reheat times start taking longer, the heating element may be failing.

We recommend contacting our experienced technicians at Leichhardt Plumbing on 1300 349 338 if you notice any of these common hot water system faults. We can quickly diagnose issues and implement repairs to restore optimal function. Preventative maintenance from our plumbing professionals is key to maximise the longevity of your system.

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