A leaking water heater can be a serious problem but an easy solution. Can a leaking heater be repaired?
The first step in repairing a water leak is to determine its origin and cause. Some reasons why your water heater may start to leak are:
- Poor plumbing installation or age
- Bad maintenance
- Loose drain valve
- Too much pressure in the cylinder
Water heaters that have not been installed correctly can penetrate prematurely. A loose drain valve will slowly leak over time, but this problem is easy to fix; just tighten the valve when you see a leak.
Over time, the pressure in the tank can cause the most damage to the water heater. This can be due to several problems, such as high inlet pressure to the water heater and a bad pressure relief valve. These problems are better solved by a licensed plumber because they can be complicated and potentially dangerous.
Cause 1: Temperature and pressure relief valve
The temperature pressure relief valve is designed to release pressure when the water becomes too hot or there is too much pressure inside the tank. The T&P valve is equipped with a discharge pipe that runs from the valve to the floor. The tube is in place to ensure that water leaking from the valve is safely directed down towards the floor instead of spraying outward and causing injury.
If you notice a puddle of water at the bottom of the hot water tank, check the bottom of the drain pipe for moisture. If you find water, then the problem is most likely the temperature and pressure limiting valve.
The T&P valve is defective or the tank has too much pressure. In this article you will learn how to test the valve. If the problem is a T&P valve, you’ll usually be able to solve the problem by replacing the valve or calling a plumber to solve the internal pressure problem.
Cause 2: Faulty drain valve
If the leakage comes from the nozzle, the drain valve may simply not be completely closed. Sometimes, something will hit the drain valve handle and cause a small leak. Before assuming that the valve is damaged, first try to manually tighten the knob.
If the nozzle still drips, the drain valve is damaged and needs to be replaced. Since this is not a safety issue, you can screw the brass garden hose cap to the end of the valve to stop leakage. This will give you some time until you can exchange it for a new one.
It is a good idea to buy an alarm with a water sensor that warns you about future leaks. Water sensors can save you a serious headache, and for that price are a great investment.
After locating the leak, the next step is to turn off the water and power the water heater, which will help prevent further damage caused by water.
Check the emergency shutdown sticker on the water heater. If the water heater does not have this sticker, follow these steps:
- Turn off the power
- Turn off the water supply