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Why is My Water Heater Leaking?
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Plumbing 08/25/17

Why is My Water Heater Leaking?

There are many reasons your water heater can leak, and even more parts of the water heater that may be leaking. While most cases can be preventable or fixed easily, there are some indicators that your water r heater simply needs to be replaced. 

Age

Water heaters leak due to the age when you have a very old water heater. Bill Howe has seen many water heaters over 30 years old that worked great, but as materials and regulations have changed, water heaters can start to leak and become too old after 10 years if not sooner. Always check the manufacturer’s warranty before installing a new water heater, change the anode rod and flush the water heater annually to keep the interior tank in good condition.

Water heaters consistently hold 30 + gallons of water and are constantly working. As a result, sediment and minerals build up and can settle remaining in the tank for years. They will eat at the inside of the tank and cause leaking from the bottom. This type of leaking will require replacement. 

Pressure

As pressure fluctuates from the city to your house, it can affect the fixtures in your home, especially the water heater. If your water heater begins leaking at the temperature and pressure valve, it might be an indication of pressure or temperature fluctuations. In fact, it is now uniform plumbing code to have an expansion tank that will eliminate many pressure issues in the water heater. If you find dripping or signs of water at the T & P valve, it should be checked immediately. You can prevent this by checking your water pressure regularly and ensuring you have an expansion tank installed. 

Drain Valve

A common, and easily repaired, cause of water heaters leaking is simply a loosened drain valve. I symptom of a leaking drain valve might be dripping water towards the bottom of the tank near the valve. If you have recently drained or flushed the water heater or replaced the drain valve, it might not be tight enough. To repair this issue, simply tighten the valve and this should solve the problem. One caution is to ensure there aren’t any additional signs of leaking such as a pressure or possible age issue. 

We have spoken about when to repair and when to replace your water heater, but there are so many variables that may cause it to leak. Regular maintenance and vigilance can help avoid disasters, and if you plan on going on vacation, Bill Howe always recommends shutting down the water to your house to avoid floods on your return.

When in doubt, or if you would like a free estimate to replace your water heater, call San Diego’s best plumber, 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469), “because we know Howe!”

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