Water heater leaking is one of the most common problems for users of water heaters. And, if your water heater is leaking, this can easily damage your household. Even a very small leak is not acceptable. You may not want to hear this, but even tiny water heater leaks may quickly result in bigger problems. Fire and other toxic fumes from a water heater leaking can cause a threat to you and your family.
This is why all hot water heaters should be maintained and regularly checked for possible leaking. It is important to check all the connections from valves, bolts, gaskets and fittings. Simple preventive maintenance like this may protect you from high replacement costs.
Depending on the cause of the leaking water heater, the problem can be easily solved by simply tightening the bolts that hold the pressure relief valve, or it may lead to hot water heater replacement.
Most causes of a hot water heater leaking are associated with the plumbing connections or the bolts and gaskets of the pressure relief valve. It’s also possible that the cause of the leaking hot water is due to pipes going in and out of the water heater. You can fix it yourself or you may contact an expert plumber to solve the water heater leak. However, if the leaking is caused by a weak connection from one of the bolts or gaskets that are either loose or worn out, you may easily fix it by either tightening the bolts or replacing the worn out gaskets without causing too much cost on repairing the leak.
Emergency tips when facing a leaking water heater.
- Turn off the power.
- Turn off the circuit breaker.
- Relieve the pressure at the hot water heater leaking point.
- Turn off the main water vent. Shut off to avoid water damage.
- Do not touch the hot water heater leaking spot. Let it cool off for a few minutes.
Things needed for stopping water heater leaking
- Adjustable wrench
- Wire brush
- Plumber’s tape
- Copper flexible fitting hose
- Hot water heater tank
- Hand gloves
- Safety goggles
- Safety boots
Hot water heater leaking causes
Condensation is a common cause of water heater problems. If your water heater is leaking, you’ll notice it during the process of cold water being heated in the tank. But when a leaking hot water heater is not the result of condensation or any of the possible causes listed below, then you may need a plumber to inspect the root cause of the leak.
- A water heater leaking may be caused by a damaged or worn out temperature pressure relief valve. This will require immediate repair in order to prevent thermal expansion that leads to the slit opening of the tank. Or a perfect functioning temperature pressure valve may be leaking hot water due to high water pressure.
- Leaking water heaters often have faulty drain valves. Tightening or replacing drain valves will surely solve your problem.
- For gas water heaters, the water that’s leaking may also be caused by clogged vents. Unblock the clogged vents to solve the leaking water issue. If the problem still persists then contact a plumber.
- When you have an electrical water heater, then water leaks are often due to heating element gaskets. Electrical heaters may need the installation of a new gasket to stop the hot water from leaking.
- If you found out that the water heater leaking location is coming from the pipes, then checks it for possible reasons. Loose connections on incoming water pipes to the water heater may be the cause of your leak. Just tightening the pipes and fittings should stop the water heater leaking from the bottom.
- Remember that water heaters have limited life spans. It is possible that the tank has become corroded and is the reason of the leaking water. If that is the case then the water heater itself must be replaced.
When to replace a leaking hot water heater
Water heaters consume a very high level of electricity because of the continuous heating of water from the tank itself. And, over time, the heating costs may increase. On average, the life span of a water heater is usually fifteen years. But because of wear and tear and other factors surrounding it, they can stop functioning at various times without knowing it. When a hot water heater breaks down, this may result in not having your water heated quickly to seeing actual leaking hot water around the tank. When this happens, then it’s about time to replace the hot water heater without having a lot of repair cost for fixing the leak.
A hot water heater leaking needs to be replaced or repaired as soon as possible, because the more pronounced a leaking water heater becomes, the more permanent the damage in the future.