Risk Alert: Don’t Keep Your Outdoor Heaters in Enclosed Areas

As the weather is cooling down, more and more Melburnians are starting to rely on indoor and outdoor heaters to keep themselves warm and cosy. Portable gas heaters are are a very popular warming method, as they are relatively inexpensive and energy efficient. But while gas heaters can seem like the perfect solution to combat the winter weather, they actually bring with them a high risk of danger that many homeowners are not aware of.   Fixed heaters have a lot of accompanying rules and regulations regarding proper installation, where the heater can be placed, how to properly maintain the appliance, etc. Portable heaters, on the other hand, often have little to no safety instructions at all, and leave all dager prevention practices up to the user’s discretion.   The biggest threat when it comes to gas heaters comes from people using outdoor heaters in indoor spaces, which is strongly advised against by professional gasfitters but unfortunately quite common. When gas appliances are trapped in a closed-off area with no way for the gas to escape, users are at an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If there is any flame present in the area while the heater is on, homes are susceptible to fires or even explosions. Whether the heater is in the bedroom, kitchen, living room or some other part of the house, your roommates and family can be put in a lot of danger if the room doesn not have proper ventilation.   Another common problem at the moment comes from homeowners who are using their gas heaters in indoor/outdoor spaces (such as enclosed porches) that still do not have enough airflow to rid the area of accumulated gas. These spaces may seem like an acceptable place to use a portable heater because they are exposed to the outdoors, but if they are not fully open then placing your heater there can still be unsafe. Even the LPG gas bottles alone can be a huge hazard when manually connected to your gas line and kept in closed spaces. It’s important that wherever you put your heater and gas tank has open windows, a chimney or some other spot where the gas can exit out of.   Another solution is to nix your gas heater completely and instead opt for another home heating option. Sure, portable gas heaters may be convenient, but they are not worth the risk. If you get in contact with our experienced gas heating experts, they can advise you of the best domestic heating option for your Melbourne residence. If you insist on installing a portable gas heater, they can help you set yours up safely and guide you in the proper way to use it. We can even assess your likelihood of gas leaks and help you minimise your risk.   For more information on the risks of gas heaters and what alternative options are available, contact the O’Shea Plumbing team today at 03 9888 2887.

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6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Connect Your Barbecue to Your Gas Line

In Australia, land of the “barbie”, almost every house has a barbecue of its own. These barbecues run on gas, which typically requires an individual liquid propane gas (LPG) tank (easily found at your local petrol station).   Although gas tanks are the most easy and efficient way to set up your home barbecue, some locals in Melbourne are now attempting to connect their grills to their home’s natural gas lines. Their main justifications are that they want to avoid the hassle of lugging home and having to refill their gas tanks, and that they are trying to minimise the eyesore of a large gas bottle in their yard.   While the decision to swap your barbecue from LPG to your home’s natural gas line may sound like a good idea in theory, it gets a big red flag from us. When you compare the two options, you may actually find that LPG wins every time.   Here are the top six reasons to avoid doing so:   Conversion Requirements   The biggest reason why is because barbecues that require LPG run completely differently than items that use the natural gas in your home gas line. They operate at different pressures and temperatures, and utilise differently sized, injectors / valves. You cannot connect your barbecue to your natural gas line without doing some sort of complicated conversion.   New Gas Line Installation   Another thing many people don’t realise is that you must install an additional gas line directly to your grill if you want to cater for the extra load to your domestic gas system. Your existing gas pipes may need to upgraded to cope with the extra appliance   High Price   Even if you are insistent upon making all the necessary conversions and adding additional gas lines so that you can connect your outdoor barbecue, you must note that this process could  cost, hundreds or  thousands of dollars. Gas fitting is complicated enough on its own, let alone when trying to merge outdoor and indoor fixtures. In many cases, the excessive fees associated with this project is simply not worth it.   Lack of Flexibility   Another factor to consider is that connecting a barbecue to your natural gas line means that once the barbecue is connected, it cannot be moved. LPG grills, on the other hand, are highly portable and can be relocated as needed. If you have a large outdoor area and would like the flexibility to wheel around your barbecue if you desire a change of location, stick with your strictly LPG version.   Indoor or outdoor   With many people building Alfresco entertaining areas, its important to realise that there are strict regulations about the installation of these  appliances. BBQ’s that are specified for outside, are only to be installed outside, and BBQ’s that are specified for indoor installation are only to be installed indoors. There are regulations as to what is classed as an indoor or outdoor area       High Chance of Malfunction   There are many things that could go wrong during the LPG to natural gas conversion process– its important to rely on the help of a professional. An improperly installed natural gas barbecue may have very small flames, for instance, and will also have difficulty heating up. You may even find yourself more susceptible to gas leaks once you have attempted to make this swap over.   If you are in need of a new gas barbecue for your Melbourne home, we strongly advise that you don’t try to connect it to your domestic gas source. Instead, relish in the freedom and safety that LPG grills allow. The team at O’Shea Plumbing is happy to help you set up and maintain your LPG or natural gas barbecue, if you would like some assistance.

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Water Leaks: Things to Check Before Calling a Plumber

There are many reasons why it’s important to call a professional plumber for your Melbourne home. Industry trained and licensed plumbers are highly knowledgeable about water fixtures and pipe repair and maintenance. They are able and willing to do the jobs you simply don’t want to or don’t know how to do. They can fix most issues in way less time and for way less money than you would spend trying to do it yourself.   That being said, there are certain scenarios where calling a plumber out to your property is a waste of both your time and theirs because you can easily solve the problem on your own. For the untrained eye, a pipe or tap leak can seem like a huge deal, and may send you running to phone the plumber straight away.   If you know what signs to look for, however, and have methods in place of addressing them, you may be surprised at what you can achieve by yourself. Of course, there is no comparison between a DIY plumbing project and the effective work of a qualified professional. What we are trying to say is that some more simple fixes can be done without having to schedule and pay for a professional service.   If you have a water leak in your Melbourne property, here are a few factors to check for before giving your plumber a call:   Clogged Pipes and Drains: When your kitchen or bathroom pipes and drains get clogged up with hair, oil, or other sorts of grime, water can become backed up, leading to excessive water pressure in the pipes and therefore leaks. Be sure to clean your pipes and drains out regularly as a simple way to avoid larger complications down the road.   Faulty Valves: Often times, leaks are just a result offaulty  pressure relief valves (PTR) or pressure/temperature relief valves (PTRV). Before calling a plumber, locate your valves and lift the lever a few times to clear any blockages. If the valve is old , or the lever has not been lifted for a year or more,  then its best to call O’Shea Plumbing to replace the valve, as it may have a build up of debris in the valve that may cause it to continue to run If the leak stops, your problem is solved. If it doesn’t, you may need to replace your valves.   Loose or Broken Washers and O-Rings: Sometimes, a bit of a tightening is all you need to stop a pipe leak. Washers and O-Rings have a tendency to loosen up over time, so it pays to check them and tighten them regularly. (Just make sure to not tighten them too much, as this can also be problematic.) If they are cracked or worn down at all, a replacement would probably be beneficial to help manage your leak problem.   Worn Out Seals:Leaks from any sort of water fixture, such as washing machines, refrigerators, sinks or toilets, may be a result of old or worn sealant. Replacing your washing machine and fridge doors or installing new seals around your toilet base and sink handles may be enough to fix your leak problem.   High Water Pressure:If you hear a banging sound when you turn on your tap, you likely have excessively high water pressure. This can lead to leaks, as too much water is trying to get out of the tap at once and and tries to escape elsewhere. A quick fix for this problem is to utilise an anti-hammer valve, which your plumber can help you install if needed. Reducing high hot and cold water pressure will greatly increase the life of and reduce the risk of damage to all taps,  appliances and pipes     While most of these sources of water leaks are simple enough to handle on your own, we do recommend that you seek the help of a professional plumber if the problem continues. If you think that you can handle your water leak by yourself but would like a bit of guidance in how to do so, feel free to reach out to the staff at O’Shea Plumbing with questions or concerns.

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Why You Should Only Hire Plumbers who will give a Certificates of Compliance

Plumbing is a major industry in Melbourne and all around Victoria. Commercial and domestic plumbing is a priority for property owners looking to ensure the health, safety and comfort of their family, employees or guests. Because of the saturation of plumbers in Melbourne, it can be difficult to choose which one is best for the job you need. There are so many to pick from– all with a range of experience and qualifications. Different plumbers can also have quite different price points and fee structures, which can understandably influence your decision-making process. While the necessity of some plumbing company characteristics are negotiable, there is one that is not: All plumbers you hire should always give a  Certificate of Compliance for gas work , underground sewer drainage work , and all work over $750.00, so that you can feel secure in their knowledge and ability. Even if it costs you a bit more, this is one necessity that cannot be overlooked.   What is a Certificate of Compliance? This refers to a certification for licensed plumbers, distributed by the Victorian Building Authority (VBA). It guarantees that they work they do complies with all relevant plumbing standards, rules and regulations within the state. On  completion of certain plumbing work, licensed plumbers must send compliance certificates to both the person getting the work done and the VBA. Failure to do so can result in harsh penalties for the plumber as well as potential detriments for you.   Why Do Certificates of Compliance Matter? To work as a plumber in Victoria, one must either be licensed or registered through the VBA, or currently be in training under the guidance of a licensed plumber. Certificates of Compliance,  are mandatory for plumbers licensed through the VBA (and for good reason). Licensed plumbers exist within the top tier of this hierarchy. It is implied that they hold more knowledge than registered or training plumbers. To uphold this standard, licensed plumbers must be well-trained in any sort of plumbing job they may face before they are able to practice. Certificates of Compliance are to be given for work within the following categories: Drainage Fire Protection Gasfitting Irrigation (Non-agricultural) Mechanical Service Roofing (Stormwater) Sanitary Water Supply Hot Water   Although these are the primary areas that are assessed, Certificates of Compliance are also given for work  in appliance servicing and conversion, gasfitting work (standard and advanced), refrigerated air conditioning work and backflow prevention. If you need any of these jobs completed, a licensed plumber ready to supply and lodge  a  Certificate of Compliance should always be the one to take it on. There are many certified plumbers in the Melbourne area, including the entire team at O’Shea Plumbing.   Avoid Faulty Workmanship The main benefit for home or business owners of hiring certified plumbers is to reduce the risk of faulty workmanship. This is important regardless of the circumstances, but is especially relevant on any large, time-consuming or expensive project. Certificates of Compliance are mandatory for any plumbing job in Victoria that costs over $750. If you have hired a plumber for a major job and they are hesitant to lodge a Certificate of Compliance, this should be seen as a significant red flag. In any case like this, we recommend that you reconsider the company you are using and look for someone who agrees to maintain proper legislative practices. Hiring a plumber who fails to comply to state regulations can put you and your property at risk. It is not worth it to save a bit of money and hire a dodgy plumber. Instead, invest in a company you can trust, such as O’Shea Plumbing! Our licensed plumbers are fully certified and highly dependable. No matter what sort of plumbing job you need done, we are the optimal team to handle it. Call us today for a quote on your next project.

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Why There’s No Water Coming Out of Your Tap – 5 Tips

Everybody has experienced issues with their taps at least once in their lifetime and the initial stress and anxiety that accompanies not knowing how to fix the issue at hand. Most people’s first instinct is to call a plumber, but depending on the time of day or your local plumbers schedule, it may take a while before they can visit your property and examine the problem. Before calling a plumber here are a few different steps and measures you can follow to determine whether or not the problem is serious enough that it requires professional help.   1 – Check other taps in your home Sometimes the issue is limited to just one tap as opposed to all of your taps throughout your home. Before calling a plumber it is important to check first exactly how many taps are affected by this water shortage. If it is just one tap that has limited water supply it may just be the case of determining and investigating where the shortage is coming from. For example, your aerators may be blocked on the one tap, which you can check quite easily as they are located at the tip of your water tap. Once you determine how many taps are affected, you can assess the significance of the issue.   2 – Ask Your Neighbours If all of the taps in your home are affected, you should definitely check with your neighbours to see if the issue is just subjected to your individual property or your whole neighbourhood or estate. If it is affecting a larger proportion of your neighbourhood then it is safe to assume that the problem is much larger than initially anticipated. In this instance, you should call the local council to determine what the problem is and when it is expected to be resolved.   3 – Replace Your Tap Washer Cracks and punctures in your waterline can affect your water flow and can be created by branches, debris and other natural products finding their way into your drains. This could potentially be where your restricted or completely cut off water has come from. The actual drain itself may be old and therefore may be damaged through wear and tear which could also have caused this issue. Once again, it is advisable that you call a team of professionals at O’Shea Plumbing to discuss with them how to resolve this issue.   4 – Check the valves in your home   Your water supply may have been turned off at your isolation valve. This is located next to your water meter which is usually placed out the front of your home. If you are living in an apartment complex, check with your landlord to see where your standalone system is located. If it is turned off, it may simply be a case of turning it back on so water is restored throughout your home.   5 – Have you paid your water bill? Water companies don’t usually completely shut off your water as a first sign of overdue payments. More than likely, your water pressure would initially be reduced as a sign to indicate that you have not paid your bills. If you have been notified by your water company that you haven’t paid your bills and have experienced restricted water flow recently, then more than likely this is the reason why your water has been cut off this. Sometimes the first reaction when something goes wrong with the taps in our home is to call a plumber. However, more often than not the problem is usually quite miniscule and can be solved by following these simple steps and procedures.   For when the problem is more serious than what we’ve listed above, the team at O’Shea Plumbing are more than willing to help you out. Call them today on 03 9888 2887, or fill out the contact form to submit an enquiry, and they’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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5 Qualities Of a Professional Plumber

Allowing someone into your home or professional space doesn’t come without its own set of concerns. You want to ensure that the person hired to do the job will be able to do so without having to worry about ulterior factors at play. Then again, you also want to ensure that you won’t be taken for a ride; whether it comes to fixing problems which don’t really exist or having to pay more for a service than you normally would. Thus, when trying to figure out what makes a good plumber before deciding on a specific professional, be sure to keep the following characteristics of a good plumber in mind:   1.       Provides accurate/clear estimates. The last thing you want is a professional plumber who keeps changing a quote. Someone who’s never quite sure what it would cost after all the work has been completed. When searching for a professional plumbing service, you need accurate and clear estimates in order to budget – knowing exactly how much you’re going to have to pay at the end of the day without any sneaky surprises.   2.       Not afraid to show credentials. Is the person you’re thinking of hiring qualified to do the job? Any plumber should be licensed, bonded, and insured in order to protect you from possible accidents which may occur on the job. A professional plumber will proudly display these credentials in their own office or be more than happy to show you.   3.       Arrives on time. There’s nothing worse than having to push your own appointments aside in order to make time for a plumber, only for the plumber to show up when they feel like it. As unprofessional as it may be, it does happen.   4.       Good online track record. With social media taking over these days, online reviews are everywhere. Lucky for you, you’re able to assess the professionalism and quality of work of someone before having to hire them yourself.Check out their Facebook and Google reviews, but keep in mind it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. Check out the way that they handle the negative reviews, as this will give you a more transparent insight to their personality and trustworthiness.   5.       Ability to detect possible problems. Professional plumbers with many years of experience will be able to spot potential problems; even if they may seem quite minor at that particular moment. A recent ABC News report revealed a plumber’s mistake when he had to fix a simple leaky pipe, which ended up exposing the tenants to deadly asbestos dust. According to the report, the 26-year-old students, Ella Gleeson and Morgana Russell expected the plumber to fix a leaky pipe in their bathroom wall.   “I just assumed he knew what he was doing,” Ms Gleeson said. “When he was finished, the hole he had cut in the tiles above the bathtub was still there. “He was like, ‘that’s for the handyman to fix’. There was just a giant hole in the wall. There was dust everywhere.” Ms Russell added: “I saw a hole in our shower wall. I saw dust all over.” After realising that a handyman is a no-show, they cleaned up the damage caused by the plumber. “The dust just spread around the house,” Ms Gleeson said. Her brother, a carpenter, visited after the third day. “I showed him and his face dropped. That’s asbestos. So then we just panicked,” Ms Gleeson said. Any professional plumber would have realised the dangers and notified the tenants immediately. However, when dealing with someone who’s simply out for the money, doing their job and only that is what you’ll potentially find. Plumbing problems can happen at any moment, any time of the day. Thus, finding a reliable plumber to help you out in a tricky situation will give you peace of mind that everything will be alright. Regardless of the situation at hand, finding a professional plumber with quality characteristics will save you money in the long run and prevent minor problems from becoming massive plumbing issues.   Looking for a professional plumber in Melbourne? Get a reliable quote from one of our professional plumbers in Melbourne. Click here. Source: 1, 2, 3

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The Low-Cost Liability: Why You Should Switch Out Your Braided Pipes This Winter

Many homeowners have little idea what type of piping is beneath their kitchen or bathroom sinks, yet these common household fixtures can cause serious unexpected damage. There are already too many stories of people returning home to find water cascading down the stairs due to a burst braided pipe connecting the toilet cistern, or sinks. It’s worth getting to know your household piping a little better before something catches you unaware, like the flexible braided water pipes under your sink. These pipes replaced the old copper piping use in housing and are made of rubber encased in braided layers of stainless steel. Common in modern bathrooms and kitchens on account of their ability to be bent into shape, they’ve been a popular item in residential construction for about 15 years. They are now known to have a lifespan limited to about a decade, which is why recently they have been called to attention, and why you need to have your piping checked as soon as possible.

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The Heater Helper – How to Protect Your Hot Water Heater From Damage This Winter

  Our first thought on a cold winter morning is rarely, “I wonder if my hot water heater is okay”. Instead, it is likely you are instead thinking of that toasty warm shower waiting for you, when you eventually get out of bed that is. With that said, should you be doing more to protect your hot water heater in winter? You bet you should. Avoid cold showers this winter and try these simple ways to protect your hot water heater:

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Where the Water Goes – 5 Signs That Something is Seriously Wrong With Your Plumbing

Plumbing issues can happen to anyone and at any time. It can often be quite difficult to identify and plumbing issues if you don’t know what to out for.   So, in order to make it easier for you to identify a major plumbing issue as well as avoid a costly emergency plumbing fee, here are 5 tell-tail signs that something is seriously wrong with your plumbing.   Dripping Faucets Faucets often drip from time to time, especially when it’s not been correctly turned all the way off. However, if you notice that your faucet is leaking even when it has been properly turned off this could be a sign of some major plumbing issues. Not only are dripping faucets terribly annoying to listen to, they could also be contributing to an expensive water bill. So if one of your faucets is currently leaking be sure to call a plumber immediately to identify what the problem is.   A Clogged Drain A blocked drain is usually pretty easy to deal with. Either using a plunger or a bottle of drain cleaner, both of which can usually be purchased in most supermarkets, more often than not solves the problem. But if you start to notice that there is a foul smell coming from your drain, or that there is a blockage that you are unable to unblock yourself it may be time to call in the professionals.   Low Water Pressure Have you ever been in the shower and the pressure suddenly changes as soon as someone runs a tap or turns on the dishwasher? It can be terribly annoying and frustrating – even more so than a leaky faucet! However, low water pressure can also be a sign that there is a leak. Many plumbers are able to check your water pressure and check for faults or leaks.   A Running Toilet A toilet that constantly runs or runs for a substantial amount of time after being flushed could be significantly increasing your water bills. Not only that a running toilet is often a telltale sign that the inner workings are due to be replaced.   Smells and Stains Funny smells and stains on the ceiling directly underneath your bathroom, or in fact any of the surrounding walls, could be a sign of serious plumbing issues. If you notice any strange stains it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from your plumber before attempting to deal with the issue yourself. Stains on the wall could be a sign that there is a leak and leaks, if left untreated, can cause serious damage to the foundations of your home.   Hopefully, the above warning signs will make it easier for you to identify any plumbing issues before they get out of hand. For those that need some additional assistance, contact O’Shea Plumbing today!  

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A Guide to Using Your Gas BBQ Safely

The spring is currently in full swing and for many homeowners, it is time to get the trusty, old barbecue back into action. There’s nothing quite like a garden cookout with friends and family, so make the most of the fine weather and show off your grilling skills. At O’Shea Plumbing, we think barbies are a great way to enjoy the sun, as long as they’re used in the right way. This is especially important for butane and propane gas barbecues, which can be very dangerous without the proper level of precaution. They’re pretty easy to use and you don’t have to have any special expertise, but you do need to follow the instructions in the manual and avoid taking any unnecessary risks while lighting and cooking. To help you stay safe at your backyard cookouts, we’ve put together this simple guide to using your gas barbecue safely.    Get Outdoor Kitchens Professionally Fitted   There are all kinds of different gas barbecue designs. Some are portable and can be moved around on wheels. These are usually powered by disposable gas canisters. Or, there are fully integrated fitted designs that turn the garden into a makeshift ‘outdoor kitchen.’ These are commonly built into a wall or enclosure, where the grill snugly sits. They need to be hooked up to the gas mains by a professional installer. You can check out our gas fitting services for information on how we do this.     Cook in a Well Ventilated Area   The best place to set up your barbecue is on a deck or patio, but not too close to the house. Make sure that the ground is flat and the barbecue doesn’t rock or tilt. There should sufficient space for air to circulate around the structure so that gas leaks are dispersed and rendered inert as quickly as possible. Click here for advice on what to do if you suspect that your fitted barbecue has a gas leak.     Light the Barbecue Safely   Lighting propane and butane barbecues isn’t a difficult task, but you should stick to the same key steps every time. The first is to check that all of the burners and rings are turned off. Then, open the lid to get air flowing and eliminate any gas vapours that might have built up inside. Open the gas cylinder valve slowly to start the flow. If you’re using disposable gas bottles, don’t forget to open the service valve before you turn on the controls. Finally, start the ignition source and open up the burner controls closest to it. It is very important that you light each, in sequence, and that you end with the burner furthest away.   Keep a Close Eye on the Grill   Now, the hard part really begins. You’ve got to satisfy a garden full of hungry mouths and make sure that your steaks and burgers are cooked to perfection. You don’t have much to worry about regards safety at this point, as long as you keep a close eye on the barbecue and ensure that children stay at a distance. You can close the lid once the gas has been burning for a short while and the grill has heated up, but remember not to leave it burning unattended.   Why Professional Installation is Necessary    Unless you’re a plumber of a gas fitter by trade, it really isn’t safe for you to tamper with the gas mains and try to install a fitted barbecue without professional help. Fortunately, our team of experts aren’t just big barbecue lovers, they are great at installing them too. So, don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us you know what you need to get the summer started in style.   

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Signs Your Hot Water System Is Failing

Hot water systems rarely just completely stop working. In the weeks and months leading up to a complete system failure, there are usually a few signs that the hot water tank or hot water system is about to stop working.   Knowing the signs that your hot water system is about to fail could prevent you from waking up in the morning to no hot water in the house. In an effort to avoid a situation like that which would require the help of an emergency plumber in Melbourne, we have created a list of signs that could indicate a hot water system is about to stop working. The Colour of the Water Water coming out of the tap should be crystal clear. It should not appear brown, murky, or cloudy. If you turn on your hot water and see water that is unclear or discoloured, it could be because you need to schedule a hot water system maintenance appointment with a local plumber and quickly. A local Melbourne plumber will be able to determine if the discoloured water is caused by your hot water system or some other type of problem, such as rusty pipes or sewer problems. If your hot water system is to blame, the plumber will conduct a brief hot water maintenance check and get the system running properly. The Temperature of the Water Occasionally, you will need to change the thermostat on your hot water system. This will help you heat up or cool down the water. Unfortunately, if you notice you need to do this on a regular basis or if your water is not heating up to the temperature you want, it could be a sign the system is about to go. If you try to use hot water and nothing comes out, it could be because the heating element on the hot water system has broken. In most cases, replacing the heating element will fix this problem, but not always. In some situations even replacing the heating element will not fix it, which means the entire hot water tank will need to be replaced. A gas heater service from O’Shea Plumbing will give you a good indication of the health of your water heater. Lots of Noise Coming from the Hot Water System Hot water tanks are supposed to be silent. They should not be making any banging or rattling sounds. Noises coming from the hot water system could be due to dirt and debris build up within the system or because of a broken heating element. Most of these problems with a hot water system can easily be avoided or prevented by scheduling a hot water maintenance check with a local Melbourne plumber. O’Shea Plumbing has the experience and knowledge needed to conduct these types of hot water maintenance checks. Keep your hot water system running properly and Schedule a hot water maintenance check with a non-emergency plumber today!  

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