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How To Check If Your Hot Water System Is Working Properly

An unexpected shock of cold water in the shower or when you’re doing the dishes is never welcome — especially when your hot water system should be up and running. Hot water systems should work behind the scenes to ensure your comfort, but just like anything else, they need a little attention and care to continue performing at their best.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know to check the condition of your hot water system and ways you can maintain its optimal performance.

Why regular checks matter

Regular checks on your hot water system go beyond unpleasant cold showers. In fact, they can benefit you by boosting your home’s energy efficiency and saving you money in the long run. Moreover, you can better maintain its optimal performance for a longer period of time, reducing costs on:

  • Energy bills
  • Repairs
  • Replacements

And saving your time and effort as well. With the confidence that your hot water system is working well at all times, you can minimise stress and enjoy hot showers whenever needed.

Hot water system inspections

Here’s how to know if there are inefficiencies in your hot water system:

  • Inspect the relief valve — Locate the pressure relief valve on the hot water tank and lift the lever briefly. Water should discharge, indicating the valve is functioning.
  • Flush the tank — If you notice sediment buildup, consider flushing the tank according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Inspect the system — Start by visually inspecting the hot water system for any visible leaks, corrosion or unusual signs. Check the pilot light on gas heaters. If it’s out, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to relight it.
  • Test the temperature — Turn on a hot water tap and assess the water temperature. It should be consistent with your desired setting. Try adjusting the hot water temperature thermostat if the water isn’t hot enough.
  • Check for suspicious smells — Take note of any unusual and unpleasant smells, particularly a rotten egg odour, which could be a sign of bacterial growth in the tank.
  • Test the water pressure — Check the pressure from hot water taps. A sudden decrease or any inconsistency in water pressure may indicate an issue within the hot water system.
  • Listen for clues — Listen for unusual sounds such as banging, rumbling or popping, which could indicate sediment buildup in the tank.
  • Monitor your energy bills — Monitor your bills for a sudden spike without a corresponding increase in usage. This may indicate reduced efficiency in your hot water system.

If you notice any of these, addressing the problem promptly before any bigger issue arises is advisable.


Flushing the tank of your hot water system is a simple yet effective maintenance task you can do yourself to maintain optimal performance. Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow:

Materials needed:

  • A garden hose
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Towels or buckets for water containment (optional)
  1. Turn off the power — For electric water heaters, switch off the circuit breaker dedicated to the hot water system. For gas heaters, set the control knob to the “pilot” position.

  2. Turn off the cold water supply — Locate the cold water shut-off valve connected to the water heater and turn it off. This valve is typically located above the water heater on the incoming water pipe.

  3. Turn on a hot water faucet — Open a hot water faucet in your home to allow air into the system. This will help the water drain more efficiently from the tank.

  4. Attach the hose — Connect one end of the garden hose to the drain valve located near the bottom of the water heater. Ensure the other end is directed to a suitable drainage location.

  5. Open the pressure relief valve — Lift the pressure relief valve on the top or side of the water heater. This helps the water drain more smoothly by preventing a vacuum from forming in the tank.

  6. Drain the tank — Open the drain valve by turning it counterclockwise with a flathead screwdriver. Let the water flow through the hose until it runs clear. Be cautious, as the water may be hot.

  7. Close the drain valve — Once the water runs clear and free of sediment, close the drain valve by turning it clockwise.

  8. Flush again — If you notice a significant amount of sediment, consider repeating the process until the water runs clear.

  9. Turn on the cold water supply — Turn on the cold water supply to the water heater to allow the tank to fill. Keep the hot water faucet open until a steady stream of water flows, indicating the tank is full.

  10. Turn on the power — For electric heaters, restore power by turning on the circuit breaker. For gas heaters, set the control knob back to the desired temperature.

When to call the professionals

If you have trouble diagnosing the problem or a DIY flush maintenance doesn’t improve sediment buildup in your tank, it’s time to call MPJ Plumbing for professional hot water system services. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team — who would be more than happy to help.