How do you know if your water heater leaking is a sign that it is time to replace the unit? Not all water heater leaks are equal, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to invest in replacing the entire hot water heater.
Leaking from the top
If you see water dripping or pooling near the top of your water heater, it could mean a few issues. If your temperature and pressure (T&P) valve is located on the top of your water heater, the leaking could be coming from there. Check to see if there are signs of water or past signs of corrosion. If the valve is weak, it is best to replace it, as it is a safety issue.
If you notice a pooling of water, but don’t see a source, it could be rainwater coming in through the vent pipe. If it has rained recently, keep an eye on the are to see if more water collects or if it disappears.
It could also be one of the inlet or outlet water pipes, which can typically be repaired fairly easy. If no exposed pipe is showing signs of water, it might be coming from a leak in the pipe behind the wall.
It is normal to see a small amount of condensation on the outside of the water heater. Increased use will increase the amount of condensation.
Leaking from the Bottom
If your water heater is leaking from the bottom, it is almost always a sign that you have to replace it. It could be the T & P valve if it is located near the bottom or on the side of the tank. Check the valves first, if they are dry, the leak is coming from the tank.
If properly maintained, the life expectancy of your standard water heater is 8-10 years What causes water heaters to break down and leak from the bottom is the corrosive effects of the sediment in the tank.
The sediment that sits in your water heater slowly eats away at the tank. One solution is to add an extra anode rod inside the heater. These rods attract the sediment and extend the life of the tank.
If the water heater leaks from the bottom in a steady stream, you will want to turn off the water (at the water heater or at the house) and call a plumber. Unless you stop the water, or drain the tank, you risk the water heater bursting and possible flooding.
It is always a good idea to flush the tank once a year and perform routine leak checks. Look for signs of corrosion around valves and exposed pipe, or signs of water near the water heater. A small leak can turn into a big problem if left unchecked.
If you are experiencing water heater leaks, call Bill Howe in San Diego today! 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469). We have been the leading water heater repair specialists in San Diego for over 35 years and install quality RUUD brand water heaters.