Water heaters seem like a simple part of your home’s infrastructure. Heat + Water = Hot Shower. Surprisingly though, they are more complicated than you think. There is a lot that goes into making sure they are operating to full capacity. Subtle changes over the years can throw them off. Over time, they do wear out just like other appliances in your home. As a result, they can start to leak. So what do you do if your hot water heater is leaking?
First, Confirm Your Water Heater Has A Leak vs. Condensation
Leaks in your water heater can be hard to diagnose if they aren’t extremely bad. Sometimes it can be the result of a poorly installed pipe, other times it could be an issue with a clogged valve. Even if you have a leak, it can be hard to know where it is coming from. Other times you might think you have located your water heater leak, but find out later there were multiple holes. No matter what, if you are trying to troubleshoot this yourself without a licensed plumbing contractor, there are a few easy ways to check if, and where the leaking water might be coming from.
The most obvious sign that you have a water heater leak is finding water at the base of your unit. Just because you find some does not mean it necessarily is from your tank. Water could be there because of condensation from your pipes, or could have traveled over from a different appliance. So the first thing you need to do is make sure it is your water heater that requires service.
Always use caution when you are checking your water heater. Water from your unit can be over 120°F, and will scald you if you come into contact with it. Start at the top of your tank, looking for water, and methodically move down. There are a few places that leaks can originate, so be thorough as you inspect your water heating system.
Leaks Can Originate From:
- Cold Water Inlet
- Hot Water Outlet
- Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (This can be on the top or the side of your unit)
- Drain Valve
- Bottom of the Tank
PRO TIP: If you have a pool of water next to your water heater, but can’t figure out where it is coming from, dry the wet area, and lay down some newspaper. If new water is dripping down from somewhere, it will leave spots on the paper where it hits. This will route your eyes to the proper area to further inspect.
One you verify your water heater is leaking, turn off water to it, and unplug it if it happens to be electric. (Most units are gas.) You will want it to be repaired quickly, as a small problem can turn into a major one not to mention going without warm water. Depending on how serious your leaking water heater is, you might be able to fix it yourself. Just know that most work (including new installations) must be done by a licensed plumbing contractor in order to comply with local building codes. For this reason, you should call a licensed plumber in order to either repair or replace your unit if it’s more than just a leaky valve.
Hackler Plumbing Can Help
If you are in need of professional plumbing help, or have an emergency on your hands, Hackler Plumbing is here for you. We can fix any issues you have with your leaking water heater, or if needed we can replace your system with either a traditional or tankless water heating system.
Call us today for a free estimate. We would love to hear from you!