Indicative Signs of Hot Water System Thermostat Failure

Blog | July 9th, 2018

The hot water thermostat is failing, so says a number of alarming warning signs. The tank is fine, completely free of leaks, but the temperature controller is on the brink of a system-undermining breakdown. Happily, if you can identify the signs of this unfortunate control circuit defect, there’s every chance of addressing the problem before it causes more damage.

Determining the Nature of the Issue 

Think of a hot water system thermostat as the appliance temperature monitor. Commonly mounted outside the tank, the device looks like a small box, one that’s sporting a heat regulating dial. Underneath that boxy housing, a copper-lined probe sinks deep into the tank to measure the temperature of the stored water. But what if the regulator mechanism breaks down? What if the elements and pipes and tank are all operational, but the system thermostat is letting the equipment down?

Don’t Ignore Thermostats Hazards 

Generally speaking, these thermal regulators don’t break down often, but nothing lasts forever, right? If your water is cold or taking forever to heat, then this temperature watchdog is potentially defective. That’s an annoying problem, but it’s hardly the end of the world, not when a repair engineer can swiftly replace the faulty thermostat. But what if the regulator’s upper thermal limits are out of commission? Then the water could arrive at the tap as a scalding-hot stream. Overly hot water can scald in seconds, way before you can react and take action.

Troubleshooting System Temperature Regulators 

If your water is cold all the time, have the hot water system thermostat checked. The thermocouple inside the copper tube could be failing. Likewise, dangerously hot streams indicate a thermostat problem, one that must be promptly addressed. First of all, take a look at the thermostat. Is there a reset control on the box? Try pushing in this trip switch. If the normal water temperature range is restored, the problem is likely over. Do remember, however, there may be an underlying reason for this overload problem. Obviously, if that level switch keeps “tripping,” then the thermostat is suspect.

It’s not a good idea to ignore hot water system thermostats. Sure, if the water is cool or cold, you can call in the repair engineers and quickly resolve the issue. But a faulty thermal regulator can also send the temperature skyrocketing, at which point there’s a danger of scalding. Don’t take the risk, call the experts. And one final note: many systems have adopted a two thermostat configuration. The two devices operate as lower and upper heat regulators, and they control two separate elements. A troubleshooting strategy has to take account of this possibility.

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