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Leaking Water Heater: Causes, Solutions, & Prevention

Jun 11, 2024

When you find water near your water heater, that’s never a good sign. A leaky water heater can be a sign of malfunctioning, something that can stop your hot water, ruin your floor, and potentially be a danger to your household. While water leaking from water heaters isn’t favorable, there are still options for addressing and solving it. 

If you’re wondering what to do with a leaking water heater, allow Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air to answer your questions. We can help you not just diagnose your problem with our water heater leak troubleshooting but also provide you with the best water heater leak repair available. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this topic below.

water heater leak

Check for Condensation

If you have water pooling underneath your water heater, it’s time to undertake some water heater leak detection tactics. The first step toward finding the true cause of your problem is to rule out the idea that it might be condensation rather than a leak. Because hot water heaters tend to generate heat themselves, the water you see may be condensation. Testing for this is relatively easy:

  1. Clean up the water underneath the hot water heater.
  2. Ensure your water heater is off.
  3. Wait for a few hours.
  4. Return to the water heater to see if there is pooling water underneath.

Common Causes for a Leaking Water Heater

If you’ve checked for condensation and find that you still have a leaky water heater, it can help to learn more about the cause. Repairing leaking water heaters begins with understanding the problem so that you can get a professional to help amend it. So what, exactly, does this problem occur?

  • Loose pipes: If you have an inadequate valve in your pipe system, a pipe may be loose enough to cause a leak.
  • Cracked or worn tank: If you have a tank that’s been subject to years of wear and tear, it could crack or sustain other damage.
  • High water pressure: If your water pressure is too high, this can cause a burst or leak.
  • Sediment: Too much sediment found in hard water can cause blockages, accumulation, and, eventually, a leak.
  • Malfunctioning anode rod: If your anode rod, a part designed to keep corrosion at bay, is malfunctioning or worn out, this can lead to a tank breach after some time.
  • Relief valve malfunction: If your relief valve was incorrectly installed, this may cause leaks.
  • Age: Your water heater may be leaking due to the inevitable wear that age brings.

Solutions for Water Heater Leaks

Once you’ve determined you have a leak, the next step is to figure out what might be causing it by evaluating every detail about the leak. Where does water pool? Understanding the source of your problem can help your plumber make a more efficient diagnosis, saving everyone time while saving you some money. 

Water Leaking From the Top

If you have water pooling from the top of your water heater, you’re less likely to have a breach. Water leaking from the top of your tank means your pipes may have damage. To test this, consider tightening each inlet pipe with a wrench to see if this makes your problem slow or go away entirely.

Water Leaking From the Bottom

If you have a situation where the water is leaking from the bottom of your hot water heater tank, this may be an issue with the surety of the tank itself. It may also be a drain valve problem. If you have corrosion in either area, that may be the cause; if you don’t have any visible corrosion, try tightening the drain valve to see if this stops your leak.

Water Leaking From the Side

If your unit’s leaking from the side, you’ll need to look at the pressure relief valve. This safety mechanism helps relieve pressure when the hot water heater produces hot water. If yours is old, it may be forming a bad seal; you can troubleshoot the issue by checking the temperature to ensure it is not above 120 degrees.

Other Possible Issues

After testing and troubleshooting for these issues, the only possible ones that remain are due to breaches. A cracked water heater or a faulty anode rod can easily cause a leak from anywhere. The best thing to do for any of these situations is to call a water heater professional who can replace your unit.

water heater repair

How To Drain Your Water Heater

If you have a leak, one of the best things to do is drain the water from your water heater. However, if you want to do this yourself, you’ll need to wait several hours for the water to cool down to avoid any potential injury risks. Consider doing the following:

  1. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your tank.
  2. Run the hose to a drainage location, such as a sink or gutter.
  3. Release your drain valve.
  4. Release the pressure relief valve.
  5. Drain the water from the tank. Don’t drain the water into greenery like your lawn, as this could cause inadvertent damage from sediment.

Tips for Preventing Water Leaks

Water heater leak prevention is key to avoiding future problems. If you want to prevent water leaks in the future, consider the following for your unit:

  • Maintain it regularly
  • Clean and drain your tank often to prevent sediment buildup
  • Tighten valves

Work With Anderson Plumbing

Now that you know how to handle a leaking water heater, why not consult the professionals? It’s dangerous to do DIY plumbing work, which is why Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air has you covered. We can provide you with repairs or even a tankless water heater installation to help prevent potential problems. Our experts have years of experience and will go above and beyond to provide the best results possible.

Fixing water heater leaks doesn’t have to be difficult. If you want to work with Anderson Plumbing, Heating & Air, call us at 760-276-5817 for more information.

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