MY WATER HEATER LEAKS: What are its signs and causes?

Water heaters are one of the most useful equipment in the house. It provides comfort in our daily lives, especially during the cold season. You don’t want to suffer from taking a bath due to the cold water. However, with almost all types of appliances, problems can possibly occur.

Any type of water heater can last for more than a decade, with regular maintenance and cleaning. According to an IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety) study, a water heater is one of the top five sources of water damage. A small amount of water might seem like a minor problem for a homeowner, but if taken for granted it might bring several dangers. Such as;

  •    Discoloration in wood flooring and walls
  •    Damage to baseboards and trim due to prolonged contact with water.
  •    Possibility of tank explosion
  •    Growth of mold and mildew. Mold can grow quickly when the leaking water heater is not fixed in a timely manner.

 

What Are The Signs That My Water Heater Is Leaking?

A regular inspection is necessary to prevent you from spending hundreds and thousands of dollars of repair. Check for the following signs to see whether your water heater is about to leak;

  •    Rusty water that is coming from your water heater
  •    The buildup of moisture around your water heater
  •    A frequent rumbling or banging sound when the water is heating up

Once you have already determined that your water heater is the cause of the leak, it is advisable that you turn off the power supply to your water heater to avoid injuries.  

CAUTION:  The hot water from the water heater tank is extremely hot, that could cause first degree burns on the skin on contact. Be careful not to have any contact with it when doing an inspection. Or, let the water heater cool down before doing the inspection. Be extra careful when doing this job.

What Causes The Water Heater To Leak?

There could be a lot of reasons why your water heater leaks. Seeing the leak could give you an idea that your water heater has to be replaced, but before jumping into that conclusion try to give it a thorough inspection. Know the source of the leak and check whether your water heater needs to be replaced or not. Check the list below of the common reasons why your water heater leaks.

Loose Fittings and Connections

Hot water consists of two connections – cold water inlet and hot water outlet connection. The cold water inlet is where the cold water enters the tank and the hot water outlet is where the hot water leaves the tank. These fittings and connections can be found at the top of the water heater itself. Check both of the connections to see whether it is the source of the leaking.

If any of these fittings are loose, simply tighten them with a pipe wrench or replace them with new connections.

Malfunctioned Temperature and Pressure (T&P) Relief  Valve

The T&P valve is a little lever that you can see on top and sometimes on the side of your tank. This valve is a safety mechanism that is used to relieve the pressure from within your tank if the temperature or pressure gets higher than its capacity. When temperature and pressure rise, there is a tendency of tank explosion. So, a temperature pressure relief valve plays an important role in preventing water damage.

If you see moisture coming out from the T&P valve, it’s possible that it is the source of the leak. You can also check the points of connection to the water tank to make sure that this is really the culprit of the leak. There could be two reasons why you can see a leak from the T&P valve. The first reason might be because there is an excessive pressure built up within the water heater and the valve is opening to release some pressure. In this case, your water heater is performing well and you just have to adjust the pressure and temperature of the water heater. The second reason is your water heater itself is defective. If the source of the leak is due to a defective T&P valve, it needs to be replaced.

Fixing this problem might seem like as easy as a pie, but it should be taken very seriously. Call a professional if a situation arises.  

Broken Drain Valve

A drain valve is located at the bottom of the tank. It functions as the gateway when emptying a water heater. The drain valve can be the source of the leak due to overuse and deterioration. The leak can easily be stopped by just re-tightening the valve with a wrench. If it is defective, then it has to be replaced.

The Water Heater Tank Itself

This can be the last thing you would check for water leak as water heater tanks are designed to last for many years. Due to its age and deterioration, it’s almost possible that corrosion and rust build up. When that happens, it allows the water to leak out from the tank. This problem can only be fixed by purchasing a new set of water heater.  Massive water damage to your property will definitely happen if a replacement is not done immediately.

Regular inspection and maintenance can reduce your risk of water damage due to leaking water heater. If you suspect that your water heater has an issue to address, it is a good idea to call a professional. Yet, if it is too late and severe water damage has occurred, you may contact a local Square One Restoration and Rebuild. We are available 24/7 and respond quickly to any emergency clean up and restoration.

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