Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?
Water heaters have become so integrated in the daily lives of people that most even forget they have one until it starts to leak and break down. Soon enough, water pressure isn’t enough and you’ll only get trickles out of the shower or the first few streams aren’t as hot as they should be. A leaking water heater can lead to all sorts of inconveniences. So why do they break down in the first place and what can be done to prevent this?
It Could Be a Condensation Problem
Before you start looking for any holes you might want to first consider if the leak isn’t a leak after all. Most of the time, people think they have a leak but the water isn’t spurting out continuously, as a leak should. When condensation is the problem, you’ll only find puddles of water under the tank from time to time.
This is the first clue that the problem might be simple condensation. Condensation occurs when initially cold water enters inside the water heater. If the air surrounding the heater is too hot, the cold water rushing inside will cause condensation. The metal surface of the heater will form droplets of water.
Eventually they’ll seep to the floor and look like a leak. This problem is more common in humid places.
All you have to do here is try to keep the room cold. This is often why some homes have an HVAC outlet to their basement – it keeps the air around the water heater cool. If condensation does occurs, simply wipe the water heater down.
Broken or Loose Drain Valve
Most water heater leaking occurrences are caused by a loose or broken drain valve. The drain valve is easy to access and you’ll get a good hint that it is the cause if the water heater leaking from bottom of the tank. Luckily this is an easy fix. You’ll simply need a wrench to tighten it back up. Just make sure that the drain valve isn’t completely tightened or else it won’t be able to properly open and shut on its own. As long as it doesn’t leak then it’s snug enough.
If the water heater’s drain valve is completely loose and broken then you’ll need to replace the part entirely. If the tank still has its warranty then you can get this done for free. Whether the part is free or not, never try to put it on your own. Always call on professional plumbing service to get this done for you. They will ensure that the new drain valve is placed in properly.
A Little Too Much Pressure
Excessive pressure can also lead to hot water heater leaking issues. When the pressure inside the tanks builds up too high, the water will be forced out and that’s when you’ll have leaking. There are generally two reasons for pressure to build up.
The first – and usually the most common reason – is because the temperature settings are a tad bit too high. Too much heat building inside the tank causes steam build-up and that can really force water out of every nook and cranny. Make sure to regulate the temperature to prevent further leaking.
The second cause is due to a broken pressure relief valve. This valve controls the pressure of incoming water. When that valve breaks down, water will be surging in at too strong a force. You’ll need to rely on professional services to get this relief valve replaced and maintained.
Corrosion on an Old Water Heater Tank
Water and metal – specifically iron – do not go well together but unfortunately they often have to when it comes to a water heater. Over time, sediments and rust will tear through the tank. Sometimes, a water heater leak is caused by a hole created by corrosion build-up. All that rust could have eaten through the metal and now the damage is big enough for water to seep out.
The best way to handle this is to have a second anode rod installed. This rod is made of either aluminum or magnesium and it is designed to take all the corrosive damage. This rod will allow itself to corrode over time so that the rest of the tank will not. You’ll be saving a lot of money and you’ll prolong the life of your water heater tank with one of these.
Another good way of fighting tank corrosion is to flush out the tank at least once a year. You can prevent water heater leaking simply by letting all the built-up sediment out. This you can do on your own, without the supervision of professional plumbers although you might want one to explain how it is properly done.
So There’s a Leak, Now What?
Remember that these are the main causes for water heater leaking and that there could be a myriad of smaller other details that lead to a leak. Sometimes small problems build up until you’ve got a tank issue that has grown out of hand. Perhaps the pressure is too strong and you’re tank is slightly corroded at the bottom.
When you do have a water heater leak the first thing you should do is to call on professional plumbing services to immediately assess the issue and then fix the problem. Some people refuse to do so, thinking they can just handle the problem with a DIY guide on the internet, but plumbers are trained and paid to the job and to do it right. Safety and high-quality repairs are well worth the money.
When professionals do come in, it is always a good idea to have them assess your tank, not just the damages done. This will let you know if there are any other problems brewing or if there are parts that may need replacement soon. You will learn how to properly take care of the tank so it will last longer.
Hot water heater leaking can be a big concern but luckily it is easy to spot the causes. Once you know what is causing the leak then you can easily jump to a repair plan that will make sure you get proper water temperature and pressure back to normal in no time.