Water leaks can happen at any time, and no matter what, they are always inconvenient — not to mention dangerous!
The truth is that there are several potential causes of leaks, which means identifying the exact issue can take a bit of troubleshooting. Fortunately, there are ways to identify and fix a water heater leak. We’ll go over why fast action is needed and precisely what to do when your water heater is leaking.
Dangers of Water Heater Leaks
Before diving into why your water heater is leaking, let’s cover the potential dangers of these leaks. In some cases, water heater leaks can cause scalding and severe burns.
The situation is especially unsafe if your system’s T&P valve is involved. For instance, any water leaking from the T&P valve can reach temperatures higher than 210°F.
Turn off the water heater immediately and call a plumber in Hicksville, Wantagh, Westbury, Glen Cove, and surrounding areas, if a T&P valve is to blame for the leak.
Identifying the Leak
First, you’ll need to rule out any leaks in other parts of your plumbing system, such as the drain lines. One way to do this is to look at where the leaking water is gathering. If the water is directly beneath or close to the water heater, then the leak is most likely coming from the tank.
To locate a leak in your water heater tank, turn off the power to your tank and shut off the water supply. (If you have a gas water heater, also remember to turn off the tank’s control valve.) Then, thoroughly inspect the tank for damages. Most leaks occur from a broken connection.
Fixing the Leak
If you now have an idea of where the leak is coming from, you’re still probably wondering what to do when your water heater is leaking. Here are the five most common causes of leaks and how to fix them:
1. T&P Relief Valve: T&P valves are safety devices on all water heaters that relieve pressure from the tank. You will find the T&P valve on the top or side of your water heater.
First, look to see if the T&P valve pipe is leaking. If it’s leaking, you’ll find moisture at the end of the pipe. The T&P valve is broken and needs replacing if water flows from the attached pipe while the T&P valve is closed. Contact a licensed plumber to help fix the problem.
2. Water Supply Connections: If your water heater is leaking from the top, then a loose cold water inlet or hot water outlet could be to blame. Now that you understand why your water heater is leaking, you can try tightening the cold water inlet and hot water outlet connections with a pipe wrench. If the leak continues, you may need to replace the supply hose or flex lines.
3. Drain Valve: It’s also possible that your water heater is leaking from the drain valve. Your drain valve could be faulty or clogged with debris.
To determine if the drain valve is to blame, gather a bucket or garden hose and drain the water heater. As you remove the water, look for any debris or sediment.
You might find pieces of plastic in the bucket. If this is the case, then the plastic dip tube has likely broken apart inside the water heater, which means you need to do more than replace your valve. Most likely, you will need to replace your water heater.
4. Hot Water Expansion Tank: Expansion tanks are one of the leading causes of water heater leaks. Small in size, hot water expansion tanks protect heating systems against excessive pressure.
However, fluctuations in pressure can cause wear and tear on your water heater and lead to leaks over time. Inspect your expansion tank for signs of leaking water.
If you find a leak at the pipe fitting, you can tighten the fitting with a wrench. Alternatively, if you find the tank itself is leaking, seek professional help.
5. The Water Heater Tank Itself: While water heater tanks last long, you eventually need to replace them. You should consider upgrading to a new water heater if your system is more than eight years old. You can continue to replace your tank’s anode rod and flush sediment buildup when you think it’s needed. However, if there is an internal leak, a full replacement is the only option.
Need Help? Turn to Gold Star Today!
Now that you know why your water heater is leaking, contact the licensed plumbers at Gold Star Plumbing, Heating and Cooling for all of your Hicksville plumbing needs. Our dedicated professionals know precisely what to do when your gas, oil, or electric water heating is leaking. We’ll help fix or replace your water heater, 100% satisfaction guaranteed. Call Gold Star today to learn more about our water heater services!