A leaking water heater is one of those common issues that many homeowners overlook. Because the water heater is generally hidden away in a corner of the house, many of us fall prey to the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome. We don’t realize there’s an issue with the water heater until it’s crystal clear that something is wrong. It may be too late at that point to save your home from serious damage.
A minor trickle of water can be cleaned up quickly and with little damage to your floors. This minor trickle, however, will quickly evolve into a flood, causing damage to your sub-floors and even dry-wall. As a result, it’s critical to promptly and accurately determine where the leak is coming from and how serious the possibility of a more serious problem is. We don’t want homeowners to have problems with their water heaters all of the time. Read on, and learn why your hot water tank is leaking and what you need to do in this situation.
Reasons why your water heater is leaking
1. Drain Valve Leak
You should expect the drain valve to drip a little because it was designed to get rid of any sediment that makes its way into the water heater. There is, however, a distinction to be made between regular dripping and a full-blown leak. Make sure the drain valve isn’t discharging any more water than it should, as this might quickly become a serious problem.
It’s possible that your drain valve isn’t damaged if it’s leaking. It’s possible that the door isn’t entirely shut. You may have accidentally knocked the handle loose, allowing some water to trickle out and loosening the drain valve slightly. Check to see if the knob or handle is completely tightened.
Congratulations if the water stops dripping. Your hot water heater is in good working order. However, if the pressure relief valve leaking persists, the valve is faulty and must be changed, either by you (if you’re handy) or by a plumber. Because the leak will only get worse with time, we recommend that you address it as soon as possible.
2. Aging Over Time
Water heaters, like any other item of home equipment, are subject to the ravages of time. These water heaters, on the other hand, can be fairly durable when compared to many of the other equipment you use. They can run without problems for up to ten years, even if you don’t do much to maintain them.
Even yet, ten years might go by quickly, and you might lose track of how old your heater is. If this item starts to malfunction, it could be worth your time to look at the receipt to discover when it was acquired. That could help you figure out why it’s acting up.
3. Internal Water Tank Leak
If your water heater is leaking because of the tank itself, consider it a major issue. You won’t be able to fix that quickly, and it may cost a lot of money. The only true benefit is that you’ll know straight away if there’s a problem with the water tank since flooding will occur instead of just leaking.
Failure to remove sediment from the hot water tank is the most common cause of a malfunctioning tank and internal tank leak. This is especially frequent in locations where the water is quite hard. Every six months, flush your tank and remove any sediment. If you don’t, your water heater’s efficiency will deteriorate. Additionally, silt can contribute to corrosion and breaking of the tank shell over time, resulting in a leak that allows water to pool around the unit’s base.
When a hot water heater’s internal components are damaged, you’ll nearly always need to replace it entirely. If you suspect that your hot water tank is faulty but aren’t sure, it’s a good idea to call a plumber to inspect it. That way, if the problem isn’t with the heater tank, you won’t have to spend money on a new one.
4. Inlets and Outlets for Hot and Cold
The hot and cold inlets and outputs of the water heater are more vulnerable to damage than the other components because of their location. If you’ve found that your heater is starting to leak, take a look at these.
5. Faulty Pressure Relief Valve and Temperature
All commonly sold hot water heaters have a T&P (Temperature & Pressure) relief valve as a safety feature. It discharges excess pressure from the tank through a tube aimed at the floor; if the pressure in the tank becomes too high, water is usually sprayed down this tube to relieve the pressure.
If your discharge tube is damp, the T&P valve is most likely the source of the problem. It could be malfunctioning and turning on even though the pressure within the hot water tank is normal. You’ll need to hire a plumber to replace the valve and ensure that your tank doesn’t leak any further.
However, in some circumstances, your T&P valve may be working properly, but there is too much pressure in your hot water tank. If the hot water tank is heating the water too hot (over 140-145° F), which could happen if the temperature regulator is defective, pressure may build. If the PSI on your hot water heater is higher than it should be, it could burst, so call a plumber right once.
How to Fix Your Water Heater Leaking
Now you know the probable cause if your hot water heater leaking from bottom or water heater leaking from top. So, what are your options now? Here are some suggestions for dealing with the problem of a leaky water heater.
1. Find Out Exactly Where the Leak Is
Even if you already know the water heater is leaking, keep in mind that not all leaks may be fixed in the same way. The leak could be caused by defective connections, valves, or even the tank itself, as we mentioned earlier. Prior to making any repairs, concentrate on locating the leak.
Check to see where the water collects, clean it up, and check again the next day to see if there is any additional water. That should indicate the location of a probable tank leak. When it comes to the valves, nothing beats a thorough examination to see if they’re all closed or leaking water.
2. Drain the tank and turn off the power
Shut off your water heater once you’ve confirmed that there’s a leak and where it’s coming from. Electric water heaters should be turned off via the circuit breaker box. Locate the breaker that controls your water supply and turn it off.
You must be meticulous because you never want to be standing in water when electricity is still flowing through the wires. Gas heaters are easier to turn off because they only require a flip of the switch. You can drain the tank once you’ve managed to totally shut down the water heater. Keep the water from turning your basement floor into a riverbed by catching it with a hose or a container.
3. Take Care of the Issues
It’s now time to get down to business with the repairs, which might range from basic to extremely difficult. If the problem is with the cold and hot water inlets and outputs, you may be able to fix it yourself. Examine the connections and look for any areas where they are loose. Get your wrench out and tighten them up. That should be enough to solve your leaking problem.
If your water heater’s problems are due to the valves, things won’t be as simple. There could be a problem with the water pressure, but it could also be a faulty valve. In that situation, the valve will need to be replaced.
You could try to do it yourself, but if you don’t have the necessary experience, you might make problems worse. This is when you should strongly consider contacting the knowledgeable and experienced professionals that deal with these repairs on a regular basis.
Finally, if the tank already has a large hole in it, repairs may not be possible. At this point, you may need to invest in a new water heater.