You can thank your water heater for those relaxing, warm showers. Water heaters play an important role in homes by heating the water used for showering, cooking, and cleaning. A leak in your water heater could have an easy fix, or you might have to replace the entire water tank. To help you determine if it’s time to purchase a new water tank, we have created a list of 6 types of water heater leaks and troubleshooting tips.
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Ordinary Sources of Water Heater Leaks
Water heaters could leak for many different reasons, and fixing them could be quick and simple, or you might require a professional’s help.
Water Heater Nipple Leaks
There are two nipples on top of your water heater that are designed to connect the cold water pipe and hot water line to the heater. It is common to find leaks on the thinnest part of them. If your water heater is leaking, remove the damaged water heater nipples by using a pipe wrench and replace them. Purchasing new nipples from your local hardware store will eliminate the problem.
Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Leaks
A water leak near the temperature and pressure relief valve is a sign of a critical issue with your water heater. Usually, this valve will not begin to leak unless there is an underlying problem. A source of the leak may be overheating. When the temperature of the water in the tank becomes too hot, the pressure will start to increase and cause the valve to release water to alleviate the pressure. On the other hand, the hot water heater leak can be caused by a loose valve on the tank. If lowering the temperature on the thermostat and tightening the valve does not work, it may be time to call a plumber.
Drain Valve Leaks
The water heater’s drain valve is at the bottom of the water heater, and it could be one of the easiest fixes. Sometimes, when you drain a water heater, the drain valve does not close completely, causing a leak. You can cap the drain valve with a hose cap, or replace the drain valve with a new one. A new valve costs around $20, and are easy to install.
Read More: How To Insulate Your Pipes: Tips & Steps
Water Supply Line Leaks
If you notice water on the floor near your water heater, the first step is to check the water supply lines above the water tank to confirm if they are loose or damaged. A small crack in a water supply pipe can cause water to drip down the exterior of the water tank. Prior to having an anxiety attack about your leaking water heater, it’s important to inspect the water supply pipes to confirm if they are damaged. If you discover a leak, make sure to shut off the water supply before replacing the piping.
Sediment Collection & Damage to the Tank
The longer you own a water heater, the longer sediment collects in the tank. Usually, it is not a serious problem and all you need to do is drain the water heater to get rid of the sediment. But if you do not drain your water heater for a long time, then the sediment could cause corrosion in the bottom of the tank and cause water to leak out. When this is the issue, there is nothing to do but replace the whole tank, making this type of leak one of the pricier ones to fix.
High water pressure may be the source of the leak in your hot water heater. The hotter the water gets, the higher the pressure is due to the creation of steam in the water tank. If there is too much pressure, water can leak through cracks and loose parts in the hot water heater. The solution to this is to lower the temperature that the heater is set to heat the water.
Steps You Should Take to Check If Your Water Heater is Leaking
Checking to see if your water heater is leaking needs to be done properly in order to find the true cause of a leak. The first thing to do is to turn off the water supply. There are two types of valves that will help you shut off the water. If you have a gate-style valve, turn the valve all the way clockwise. If you have a ball-style valve, turn the handle 180 degrees. After shutting off the water, turn off the power. For electric water heaters, just turn the electricity off at the breakers. For gas-powered water heaters, shut off the gas supply by turning the valve to the gas line.
Once you have shut off both water and power to your water tank, check all the primary parts of a water heater. Check the inlet and outlet nipples, the pressure relief valve, the drain valve, and the bottom of the water heater to find the source of the lek. Lastly, check the pressure of the water tank to see if it is too high. The pressure should be anywhere from 50-100 PSI, but it could hold up to 150 PSI. To stay on the safe side, keep the pressure under 100 PSI.
Once you discover why your water heater is leaking, determine whether it will be a do-it-yourself fix or a job for a licensed plumber. Usually, you can replace valves yourself and lower temperatures to decrease the pressure. However, if the culprit is the tank leaking itself, you will need to call a professional to help you out.
Water Heater Repair & Installation Services
No matter the issue with your water heater, our team of licensed plumbers will restore the distribution of warm water in your house. We offer emergency plumbing services for broken water heaters, damaged water pipes, clogged sewer lines, damaged garbage disposals, and inefficient sump pumps. From leaks to installation and replacement, we offer up-front pricing and fast services so that you can get back to a comfortable, functioning home. Give our team a call by phone at (732) 201-3305 to create an appointment. If your plumbers are not able to fix the problem with your water tank, we will collaborate with you to choose a new gas or electric water heater for your house.