Leaky Water Heaters: Where Is The Water Coming From?

Posted on: 20 January 2017


Finding a puddle of water on the floor by your hot water heater can be disheartening. Your first thought is probably that it's time to replace the water heater. But while this is sometimes the case, there are many times when all you need is a quick repair. The key is to first determine where, exactly, the water is coming from. Here are the most likely culprits.

The T&P Valve

This valve is typically located on the side of the tank. It is designed to let some water out of the tank if the temperature and pressure become too high. If the water seems to be leaking from this valve, dry it up. See if any more leaks out in the days ahead. Chances are, the valve was just doing its job and nothing at all is wrong. But if the valve keeps on leaking, you'll want to have your HVAC technician come look over the tank to find out why the temperature and pressure are high enough to cause the leak.

The Water Inlets and Outlets

At the top of the tank, there should be two pipes. One brings cold water into the tank, and the other sends hot water out. It's not uncommon for the connection between the pipe and the tank to become a bit loose or for small cracks to form in these pipes. If the water seems to be coming from one of these pipes, your plumber may repair it by applying some epoxy to the crack, wrapping plumber's tape around the pipe, or perhaps replacing the section of pipe leading into the tank.

The Drain Valve

At the bottom of the tank, there's a valve that's designed to allow you to drain the tank if need be. Sometimes, this valve can get jostled and accidentally opened a little. Check that this is not the case; if the valve is open a tiny bit, just have to turn it to the left a little to close it completely. If the valve keeps leaking after you close it, your HVAC tech can generally replace the valve without replacing the whole water tank.

The Base of the Tank

Is the water coming from a corroded spot on the bottom of the tank? Sadly, this means your tank really has reached the end of its serviceable period and needs to be replaced. Turn the water off to the hot water heater and avoid using it until the plumber or HVAC tech arrives. A small leak in the bottom of the tank can grow quickly. For more information, visit sites like http://www.rbincorporated.com/.