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After spending a little over 20 years in the plumbing industry it amazes me how many plumbers are
still unknowingly killing their customers hot water services. It’s little pieces of knowledge such as
what I’m about to share with you that sets us aside from the competition in Adelaide and has made
us the preferred choice for hot water repairs and installations across the state.
Electric Storage Water Heaters
Electrical storage water heaters have two main components which allow it to heat the water. The
element and a thermostat. This is the same for all types of electrical storage water heaters. Where
we start to get our point of difference from is the cylinder construction, not the shape or size, the
actual material in which the tank has been constructed of.
The nitty gritty
When a customer contacts us with a “no hot water” enquiry and they have an electric storage water
heater it will typically be an element or thermostat that is causing this fault. The element is our
point of interest in this post. A standard element which most plumbers will either carry or go to
collect would be that of a 3.6KW copper submersible element. As I mentioned the most common is
because they are not properly educated. If a hot water cylinder is manufactured from copper, there
is absolutely no way in which a standard element should be installed yet seems to happen as much
as 9 times out of 10.
The Fall Out
Immediately upon a new copper submersible element being installed particularly 3.6KW it draws too
much power and over heats the cable (which can lead to a house fire in which your insurance
company will not cover you for) as this is only suited to a 2.4KW element and immediately causes
electrolysis inside the tank. The electrification of a copper element inside a copper tank causes
thousands of tiny pin pricks to develop on the wall of the tank which in turn cause the tank to
corrode and next thing you know the tank is leaking and has become useless. How many times do
we get called to a leaking copper hot water cylinder and this is the exact symptom its shocking!
What’s the solution for leaking copper hot water cylinder?
The solution is simple for the right company. Install a compatible element. Another reason this
problem occurs is these incoloy elements are hard to come by and for an unprepared plumbing firm
they need to be specially ordered in, where as we have these on hand and in every service vehicle.
These elements are non-corrosive and do not react with the copper cylinder. Ensure the power
rating of the unit element is 2.4KW not 3.6KW. Typically, a copper cylinder is only powered by a
2.4KW another trick for the uneducated plumber.
With the cost of replacing water heaters something no one ever wants to have to pay money out for
its crucial that all repairs and servicing are always carried out by a licensed and experienced
plumbing firm, if you are reading this post you have found the right company. As I have made clear
in the above article the penalties for not having a repair done correctly will kill your hot water
service faster than need be.