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Q&A with Handy Mac: Hot water comes… eventually

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Lilian, a long-time supporter of the column, has the following problem:

Lilian, a long-time supporter of the column, has the following problem:

Q: Some weeks back, we experienced a mains system water leak in our road. Residents were kept in the dark and we were not informed it had occurred. My geyser was switched on throughout the time it took to repair the leak.

After that event, I turned on the hot tap in my shower but nothing happened. Eventually the water started to flow. Then I found the water temperature was becoming so hot it almost burnt my hands. I called in a plumber and he turned down the thermostat down to 650C, but it was still too hot. The plumber took the tap to pieces and scraped it, but after this it slipped when turning it on and off.

The plumber returned four times as the shower still did not function when opening the tap. The bill was about R1 400. He also removed the existing thermostat and replaced it. 

This week the water is still far too hot, and the shower head still does not flow when turned on. The wait is growing longer and longer. I called in a new plumber and he turned down the thermostat to 550C.

He removed the hot tap and cleaned it thoroughly. This morning, it’s the same story. I turn on the hot tap in the shower and nothing happens.

I have to wait for ages before it starts working. Please advise.

A: Sorry, I do not have much-learned advice to offer on plumbing, but a plumbing friend offers the following advice. Unfortunately, the council is not obliged to give reports of repairs to mains. However, the client could try to get them to cover the cost of a plumber call out to clean the pressure reducing valve (prv) on the hot water cylinder.

Firstly, the hot water cylinder had to partially refill with water. The thermostat most likely needed replacing (wear and tear), thus turning it down would not have helped, especially if it was already faulty.

The thermostat can be turned down to between 500C and 550C (the average household temperature). If you have a solar installation, the water could get too hot, but the
solar installation should have a heat regulating valve which serves to introduce cold water into the system when it gets too hot, thus bringing down the temperature in this way.

There could also be a water starvation problem, which means insufficient supply and too much demand. This could be due to a blocked or faulty prv valve or because of a lack of pressure from the council side.

As we all know, there are plumbers and plumbers, and we end up paying in many cases for investigatory work, which is not correct, and which is yet another example of why
proper training is so important.
*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: Like us on Facebook



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