Many people don’t think about their hot water heating system very often. They don’t give it much thought because they know they can turn on a tap at any time and have hot water.

If you turn on a faucet or shower and find there is no hot water, you may have just run out of hot water. But if there’s still no hot water after waiting half an hour or so, you may need to call a plumber.

One of the first things they’ll want to know is whether you have gas or electric hot water heating.

Is your water heated by gas or electricity?

That’s one of the first questions we’ll ask when you call us for help with your hot water (or lack of hot water). Surprisingly, many people don’t know whether their water is heated by gas or electricity.

So we’ll ask a few questions to determine whether you have a gas hot water system or an electric one. It’s good for you to run through these questions before you have an issue with your hot water so you’re prepared should you ever need to call a plumber or gas fitter.

Question 1 – Do you have a hot water cylinder?

If you don’t know, have a look around your property. Some common places for a hot water cylinder to be installed include:

  • in a cupboard under the stairs
  • in a hallway cupboard (the cylinder cupboard, possibly behind sheets or towels)
  • in the basement (if you have one)
  • outside, around the side of the house (although this is not very common with older homes)

If you cannot see a hot water cylinder anywhere, jump to question 3.

Question 2 – What type of hot water cylinder do you have – gas or electric?

If you’ve located your hot water cylinder, we can now determine whether it runs on gas or electricity.

The easiest way to determine if you have a gas hot water cylinder is by looking for its pilot light. The pilot light is a small blue flame that lights the main burner whenever the tank needs heating. It should be on at all times. You may need to lift or move the access panel cover to see the pilot light.

Another clue that will identify a gas hot water cylinder is the appearance of connected pipes. The hot water cylinder will be connected to LPG bottles or mains gas. It will have a gas control valve and a gas supply shut-off system.

If you don’t see a pilot light or connected pipes, you may instead see an electrical connection. If so, then you have an electric hot water cylinder.

Question 3 – Do you have a califont?

The word califont is sometimes used interchangeably with the terms continuous flow hot water or instantaneous hot water.

A califont is a part of your hot water heating system that consists of a rectangular (usually white) box on the wall outside your home. There are several makes and models available that vary in size, but your califont may be similar in size to an external fuse box or about the size of a very large shoe box.

If you have one of these, you have gas hot water heating.

The califont is the central component of your continuous flow hot water system. You can read more about a califont system here. You shouldn’t be running out of hot water with a gas continuous flow hot water system as the water is heated as you use it. If you have no hot water, get in touch with us and we can diagnose what may be happening.

Are you considering upgrading or changing your hot water heating system?

There are a few reasons why you may be looking at different water heating options:

If you’re interested in upgrading your hot water heating system or switching over to gas continuous flow hot water, get in touch with us and we can help you choose the best option for your household.

Both gas and electric hot water systems need regular checks and maintenance. Give the friendly team at Sumich Plumbing & Drainage a call on 0800 437 021 and we can help with all of your hot water or heating needs.


There are a number of plumbing and drainage companies in Auckland, so why choose Sumich?

Founded by owner-operator Chris Sumich in 1991, Sumich Plumbing & Drainage has one of the most experienced teams operating in Auckland. Our team has a combined experience of over 100 years and we’ve seen a comprehensive range of scenarios and solutions over the years. Clients trust us to give honest, transparent advice and service.

As registered members of the New Zealand Plumbers, Drainlayers & Gasfitters Association, we are professional, licensed Auckland plumbers for all of your plumbing, drain laying, gas fitting and heating needs. Give us a call to see how we can help.