A leaking water heater is always cause for concern, but in some cases, it may be possible to repair it on your own. Water can pool around the heater for several reasons, so if you observe dripping or pooling near your water heater, the first thing you need to do is characterize the nature of the problem.
Is the water dripping, spraying or flooding? This information will guide your next steps.
If Water Is Spraying Or Flooding From The Water Heater’s Pipes
If you observe water spraying from the pipes around the water heater or it is flooding from the heater, this indicates an issue with the water pressure within the pipes or water tank. For example, the supply pipes that deliver water to the water heater might be leaking, or there could be a leak coming from inside the water tank.
The first thing to do in this situation is turn off the valve that is closest to the supply side of the leak. You may find a shutoff valve on a pipe that is just above the water heater, possibly with a red handle. Some shutoff valves come in the form of a lever that must be pulled 90 degrees to turn off, while others have a handle that must be rotated clockwise.
If the water heater does not have its own supply valve, your home’s overall water supply valve needs to be turned off. This can usually be found near the place where your cold water pipe enters your home and may even be situated outdoors if you live in a warmer climate.
If The Leak Is Coming From The Hot Water Tank
When hot water tanks leak, it is often because corrosion has eaten through the metal of the tank. This requires a replacement, and it is best to hire a professional to carry out the work. Water heaters must be emptied before they can be replaced, which can be dangerous due to the water’s temperature.
If The Water Heater’s Heating Element Gasket Is Leaking
If you have an electric water heater, leaks may come from the gaskets sealing the heating elements that lead to the tank. In this case, it is necessary to turn off the electrical power and the water supply to the tank before replacing the gasket. Because there is the possibility of damaging the water heater’s heating element, it is best to leave this type of repair to professionals.
If Water Is Dripping From Your Water Heater
When you observe water dripping from your water heater, the first step is to determine where it originates. Some of the most common sources of drips are the water tank’s drain valve and pressure release valve. If the drip is coming from the bottom of the tank, that usually means corrosion has eaten its way through the tank, and it will need to be replaced.
Water may also leak from the temperature or pressure relief valve, which releases water any time it senses excessive pressure. This can occur when the water heater’s temperature dial is too high or the main water supply pressure to the home is too strong.
The TP relief valve may also be faulty, which will require a replacement. In any case, it is essential to ensure that the TP valve is working properly to prevent an excess buildup of steam that may lead to a water tank explosion.
If water is leaking from the water heater drain valve, tightening the valve may be enough to address the issue. However, the valve may need to be replaced if the problem persists.
Could Your Leak Be Condensation?
In some cases, what appears to be a leak is actually caused by condensation, which can form when cold water fills your tank and then drips down. If the problem is especially noticeable when your tank is first filled or in very cold temperatures and then disappears once the water has warmed up, it generally points to condensation.
If you have a gas water heater, the condensation may also be coming from the vent, so it is important to check it for obstructions. If you notice anything blocking the vent, turn off the water heater and clean out the flue or call a plumber for assistance.
Get In Touch With Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling
Don’t let plumbing problems interrupt your daily routine or leave your home without warm water. If your water heater is leaking or underperforming in any way, get in touch with the professional residential plumbers at Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling.
We have been serving the Northern Virginia area for more than 90 years, and we have built our reputation on offering high-quality emergency plumbing services as well as general plumbing services and bathroom remodeling.