WATER HEATER LEAKING

What do I do with a leaky water heater

Water Heaters perform and maintain hot water for bathing, cleaning. They are designed to be long lasting, but even the best can show signs of a leak. If you suspect your water heater is leaking, the best way to protect your home from serious damage is to follow these simple steps. 

 

First steps to take

 

  • Determine Leak Source

  • Turn Off Power

  • Turn Off Water Supply

  • Drain water heater if possible

 

Determine the Leak Source

A puddle at the base of your hot water heater is an indication your water heater leaking. Near by furnace condensate drain lines, water softener discharge lines, and other plumbing that might be connected near your water heater could be leaking instead of the water heater itself. First step is determining the source of the leak.

  • Dry the area and look for any obvious signs of leakage.

  • Remember the law of gravity. If unable to find the leak at first glance, look up. The water may be coming from a part or area directly above the puddle.

  • Check the pooled area periodically for signs of the leak. Paper towels or a rag should be placed to catch the drips.

  • If the problem does not reappear in the next couple days then there is nothing to be concerned about.

  • If water is continuing to pool then a leak is most likely the culprit.

 

Turn Off the Power

Before performing any maintenance, turn off the power to your water heater. If you have an electric water heater, locate the circuit breaker and switch off the breaker marked water heater. Water and electricity are a deadly combination together so turning off the power is critical. A gas water heater, on the other hand, has a dial on the exterior of the tank called a gas control valve. Make sure it is turned off before proceeding. Avoid closing the gas shut-off valve if possible. These valves can be finicky and susceptible to failure over time.

 

Turn Off the Water Supply

For leaks that are obvious and significant, turn off the water supply at the cold water shut-off valve. Most water heaters will have the valve located at the top of the unit. The cold water shut-off valve will either have a handle (ball valve), or a gate valve. DO NOT close the valve if you can not reach it safely without coming in contact with water. Larger leaks that disable you from reaching the shut-off valve safely will require you to locate your main water shut-off valve to your home. You may need to turn this back on later though if you have difficulty locating the leak. Shutting off the water to your entire home should stop the leak entirely or at least slow it down.

 

Determine the Location of the Leak

Leaks can be caused by numerous problems. Inspecting and determining the leak location is not always readily obvious. Some of these repairs are reasonable and can be performed on your own but we do not recommend it. Call a professional from Water Heater Pros at 916-344-4500 can relieve you of the stress and uncertainty with a quick consultation.

 

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

The temperature & pressure emergency relief valve (T&P valve) does exactly what you think it does.  When the water within the tank becomes too hot, or an excessive amount of pressure builds within the tank, this T&P valve 

will release some water out of the tank to relieve the stress. To locate the T&P valve look for a brass devise with a metal tag sticking out of it and a pipe connected to it, usually found at or near the top or upper side of the unit.  

First, inspect the point where the T&P valve enters the tank for signs of a leak. 

 

Check the Drain Valve

Check the drain valve for any signs of moisture. The valve is located near the bottom of the tank. It should be watertight when completely closed.

 

The Internal Tank

Inside a hot water heater’s outer shell is an internal tank wrapped in insulation. You won’t be able to visibly see if the internal tank is leaking. A good indicator though is water escaping from the bottom of the water heater.  Unfortunately, there is no fix for an internal tank leak. You will have to replace the entire unit. A leaking internal tank is a fairly common issue. It is usually caused by ordinary age and deterioration.

 

Drain Your Water Heater

If your leak is severe you may want to drain it immediately to prevent water damage to your home. 

  • Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Run the other said of said hose to a proper location such as a drain gutter or sink. Do not drain the water onto your lawn or driveway. Sediments and rust within the water will damage your lawn or driveway.

  • Make sure the water valve above the tank is turned off.

  • Open the valve where the hose is attached.

  • Open the pressure relief valve on the top of the tank.

  • Allow the water to drain from the tank

 

Repair or Replace

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