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If only potential water heater issues were restricted to freezing cold water. Though the water heater is fairly simple in design, there are many components that can give you problems. A common issue, and the topic of this article, is a water heater leak. There are many possible causes of a water heater leak, with some that can go away with a quick tightening and others that will force you to replace the unit. In any case, it helps to know how to troubleshoot the problem even if you are waiting for a local plumber to arrive. If you have not called a plumber, then consider Mr. Rooter Plumbing. We are available around the clock!
Let’s start with some good news. Just because there is water under or around your water heater does not mean that your water heater is leaking. The furnace drain lines, water softener drain lines, condensation, and other plumbing could be the cause of the puddle of water. Try drying the area and place some paper towels or newspapers down. This should help you spot where the water is dripping or coming from. Check back in a day or two. If the water has returned, and you cannot identify the source, then there’s a good chance your water heater is leaking.
Check the Drain Valve
The drain valve is located near the bottom of the tank and is used to flush out the water during repairs and maintenance. Check the area around the valve. There should be no signs of moisture. If there are signs of moisture, then check to make sure the valve is fully closed. If the valve is closed and there is moisture coming from the drain opening, then you may need to replace the drain valve.
Water Inlet and Outlet
If your water heater has a pool of water on top, then the source might be the cold water inlet or the hot water outlet. Follow the cold and hot water pipes. Do you see water dripping or notice condensation? Are the fittings tightened?
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve
The T&P relief valve is a safety feature that relieves the excess tank pressure by opening the valve and allowing some of the water and steam out of the tank. This prevents the tank from overheating and even exploding!
Check for leaks around the area where the T&P relief valve enters the tank. If the valve is in the closed position and there is a leak, then the valve is likely defective and needs to be replaced. If the valve is in the open position, it may be relieving excess pressure from the tank. If this happens often, then call a plumber to inspect the unit.
Leaking Water Heater Tank
The worst-case scenario is when there is a damaged or leaking tank. In this case, you will probably have to replace the unit, but let one of Mr. Rooter Plumbing take a look to make sure a water heater repair cannot get the problem resolved. We are also happy to replace your unit if necessary.