What to Do If Your Water Heater is Leaking

April 25 2019

The typical hot water heater should serve your home loyally for 10 to 13 years. In that time, it will give you thousands upon thousands of gallons of hot water for cleaning, cooking, bathing, and more. Your house couldn’t function without it.

water heater repair & installation

The bad news is that when a water heater is ready to retire, it usually doesn’t provide a two-weeks notice, or give any warning, for that matter. And when it goes, it doesn’t do so quietly.

Why a water heater tank leaks from the bottom

If you see water leaking from the bottom of your water heater, it’s a telltale sign that it’s time for a replacement. Unfortunately, this leak is usually more than a drip or two. If not detected quickly, you could have dozens of gallons of water gushing from the tank onto your floor, damaging personal items and opening the door for mold growth.

This type of leak occurs when minerals build up at the bottom of the water heater tank. Over time, these minerals can corrode the tank’s inner lining until it eats its way all the way through the tank wall. When this damage occurs, there is no easy fix for the tank. You will need to replace your hot water heater.

What to do if your tank is leaking

Should you find yourself in this situation, there are a few immediate steps you should take to limit the water damage.

  1. Turn off the water heater. Gas water heaters have an on/off switch. For an electric unit, you’ll need to flip off the appropriate breaker at your circuit breaker panel.
  2. Shut off the water supply. Look for the shut-off valve for the cold water line going into your water heater. Turn it clockwise until its fully closed.
  3. Clean up the water. Remove any standing water on your floors with towels, a wet/dry vacuum, or a utility pump. If you have a portable dehumidifier, run it in the area to help dry out the area.
  4. Call your plumber to inspect the water heater.

Other reasons why a water heater may leak

If your water heater is leaking but not from the bottom of the tank, that actually may be some good news. Other common leaks that may be fixable include:

  • Cold water inlet valve (top of unit)
  • Temperature and pressure relief valve (top of unit)
  • Temperature and pressure discharge pipe (near bottom of tank)
  • Drain valve (spigot near the bottom of tank)

Having water leak out of your hot water heater is never a good thing. But by knowing where it’s coming from, you can have a better idea of what you need to do next.

When you have a problem with your water heater, make Emergency Plumbing & Solar your first call. We’ll be happy to repair your current unit or install a brand new one. Call us today at (808) 691-9309.