Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

09/29/2021
Leaking water heater

Typically, the “giveaway” signs that you are experiencing water heater problems is having no hot water, water that is too hot, or a strong odor. But, what does it mean if your water heater is leaking? If you notice your water heater leaking, there are several potential causes for this. First, determining the intensity of water leakage is key –  Is it dripping, spraying, flooding, or simply condensation?

If water is…

Water heaterDripping – First determine where the drip is coming from. If it is coming from the temperature-pressure relief valve, this is common as it is designed to release water if excess pressure is sensed.

Spraying – In this case, water pressure in the pipes or from the water tank is likely involved.

Flooding – This could mean corrosion, and if this is the case, water heater replacement is necessary.

Potential Causes Of A Water Heater Leaking:

This is a very common water heater problem and it’s usually a loose drain valve. If the drain valve is loose, is will slowly leak water. In most cases, if it is a loose drain valve, simply tightening it should do the trick. However, over tightening the valve will cause issues as well.

Another common water heater problem associated with a water heater leaking is if there is too much pressure in the tank. Pressure in excess will force water to leak out of the tank to relieve some pressure. A common cause of having too much pressure in the tank is if the temperature is set too high or if the exterior water supply to the house is coming in at a pressure that is too high. In some cases, if the water pressure is too high, or the relief valve is broken, pressure could build up in the tank and cause an explosion.

Water heaterWhile water heaters are designed to last many years, they do eventually need to be replaced. Towards the end of their lifespan they may experience corrosion which could lead to a water heater leaking or flooding. Additionally, corrosion or rust could be causing greater risk to your water itself. Water exposed to rust can absorb bacteria and pickup rust that you are then drinking and/or exposing your body to.

It is not uncommon for homeowners to confuse normal condensation with a water heater leaking. Since cold water enters the tank, it can lead to condensation when outside air is hot.

Whenever you are experiencing a water leak or flooding in your home you should first turn off your main water supply to avoid further damages. When it comes to a water heater leaking, you should also shut off the power to your water heater. When dealing with water heaters, remember that they are typically set to heat water to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause serious burns, so proceed with caution.

Anytime water is involved in your home, it is recommended to call a professional plumber to properly diagnose the issue and then properly repair it. Small leaks could potentially turn into large leaks and/or flooding, which could lead to serious (and costly) water damages. The best way to proactively keep your hot water heater running as it should is regular maintenance, care and cleaning. Kulk’s Heating & Plumbing is available 24.7 for emergency plumbing situations. Contact us if you are experiencing a leaking water heater or any other water heater problems.