What maintenance does my Hydrotherm unit need?
As with any household appliance, hot water systems need occasional maintenance to ensure they’re running the way they should. In saying that, Hot water systems are usually at the end of most people’s to do list or even forgotten entirely. That is, until their hot water system fails. As luck would have it, this would most likely to fall on a weekend or a cold winters day.
Luckily maintaining your Hydrotherm system doesn’t take all that long. The only part that needs to be checked every 6 months is the Pressure and Temperature Relief (PTR) valve. The PTR valve has the important job of automatically venting your hot water system when there is excess pressure created in your system from water being heated. If the valve isn’t working correctly, it can potentially cause serious issues for your tank, such as splitting or worst case scenario, the tank exploding.
To test the PTR, you first need to be make sure you’re doing it safely. The temperature coming from the tap can be over 60°C which is enough to scald you. So make sure you’re wearing appropriate covered shoes, long pants and gloves. Also make sure that the area underneath the outlet pipe is clear of all obstructions (this should be the normal operating setup).
Now you are ready to release the tap. Make sure when you’re doing it you do so gently, forcing the handle can break the PTR valve. If the handle doesn’t move at all, it’s most likely seized and will need to be replaced. After releasing the valve for around 10 seconds, gently return it to the original position. If you note that there is water coming from the “handle” of the PTR, the PTR may need to be replaced.
Like any plumbing work, PTR valves need to be replaced by a qualified plumber. The expected like span of PTR valves varies by the model and quality but you should expect them to last for at least 3 years. Remember that these valves come with a warranty so make sure you check with the plumber who installed it if any work needs to be done.