Why Is My Water Heater Leaking? – Learn 4 Common Causes

leaking water heater

Most people know that when their water heater is leaking, it means bad news.

This minor plumbing nuisance can turn into a significant problem before you know it, so it is something that should be handled quickly and professionally.

A small trickle of water can be easily cleaned up with minimal damage to your floors. However, this small trickle will soon turn into a flood that will cause damage to your sub-floors and even dry-wall. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to quickly and effectively diagnose where the leak is coming from and how great the threat is of causing a more severe problem. You may be able to determine for yourself if the leak is an easy repair, or if you require a brand new water heater. 

Regardless of your findings, we recommend always contacting a licensed plumber to look at the issue and either fix the water heater leak or replace your water heater altogether. 

A plumber will look at two main areas to determine once and for all where the leak is coming from and how serious it is.

  1. The first spot the plumber will check is the drain valve. This spigot is located at the bottom of the tank and is responsible for draining the sediment from the water heater. If this is the location of the leak, the good news is your plumber will quickly be able to replace the drain valve for a relatively inexpensive cost.
  2. Now, if the drain valve is not the source of the issue, your plumber will then inspect the tank itself. If the leak is coming from the bottom of the tank, it is not looking good for you. The most likely scenario, in this case, is that sediment has built up and corroded the bottom of the tank causing a serious problem and the need for an entirely new water heater.

Although these are the two most common causes of a leaking hot water heater, they are not always the culprits.

4 Common Causes For a Leaking Water Heater

Below is a list of the four most probable causes of a leak in your water heater.

You can inspect these areas yourself before contacting a plumber to give them an idea of what is wrong and what equipment they will most likely require to repair or replace your water tank.

1. The Cold and Hot Water Inlet and Outlet Connections: 

If this area is the source of your leak, it is a very easy fix. Simply check the inlet and outlet pipe’s connections and see if they are loose and causing water to leak. If this is the case, you may just need to tighten the connection with a wrench or replace a faulty pipeline.

2. The Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve: 

The temperature and pressure relief valve plays an essential part in keeping your water heater running smoothly.

It is responsible for monitoring the water temperature and pressure within the tank.

If there is too much pressure in the tank, or the water becomes too hot, this valve will drain some of the water out of the tank.  

If this T/P valve is the source of your leak, you will most likely be able to see water running down the side of your tank from the valve.

If this is the case, it could mean you need a new valve because the one you currently have is broken, or, it could also mean it is working properly and there is too much pressure in your water tank, so it is forcing the water out through the T/P valve to prevent a bigger problem from occurring.

A licensed plumber can determine which one of these scenarios is the cause. 

3. The Heater Drain Valve: 

As previously stated above, the drain valve is a standard but easy issue to repair. If water leaks from the valve, it is important to ensure it is closed completely. If this watertight drain valve continues to leak, you may have to replace it entirely, but it is relatively inexpensive.

4. The Bottom of the Water Tank: 

Lastly, the most common cause of a leaking water tank. As discussed above, when sediment builds up in the bottom of a water tank for years and years it will eventually corrode through the bottom of the tank and begin to leak. If age and deterioration are the cause of your leak, you will need to call a professional plumber to replace your water heater. 

Signs of a Water Heater Leak

Discovering signs of a water heater leak early on is essential to prevent extensive damage.

Keep an eye out for:

  • Unexplained Puddles: Around the unit.
  • Drop in Water Temperature: Sudden and unexplained.
  • Hissing or Popping Sounds: Unusual noises during operation.
  • Discolored or Rusted Water: A clear indicator of issues.
  • Damp or Musty Odor: Suggests water leakage.
  • Visible Corrosion: On the tank or connecting pipes.

Immediate action upon observing these signs is crucial to avoid costly repairs and potential water damage. Regular inspections and proactive maintenance contribute to efficient water heater operation and a prolonged lifespan. 

Call a Licensed Plumber for Help

No matter the extent of damage caused by the leak or what you believe the issue with your water heater is, we always recommend that you call a professional and licensed plumber to double-check the source of the leak and make necessary repairs or replacements. 

A plumber can easily replace the leaking valve if that is the cause of the problem. Our professional plumbing company in greater Atlanta can also replace your water heater and haul away your old one to be recycled safely. 

If your water heater is leaking and you need a plumber, contact Assured Comfort online to schedule an appointment!

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