What Is This Water Around My Water Heater?
Leaking from a water heater, then water pooling around the bottom of the unit, are very likely signs of a bigger problem, or a bigger problem you’re going to have soon. If you’re seeing occasional leaks from a water heater, this is when you should take steps to find, limit and solve the issue. The leak can be from the bottom, the top, or a valve. Neglected water heaters may cause substantial flooding. Standing water can lead to mold and mildew, odors, residential property damage, safety hazards, and health hazards, and wind up as costly repair work. It’ll be less costly to find and fix the problem early on if possible.
To help you know why your water heater is leaking, here’s a rundown of typical causes of leaks and how to cut off the water when you need to.
How to Turn Off Power and Water in a Water Heater
If you find water everywhere, the first step needs to be turning off the power and water to the water heater. You can stop the leak from getting worse. You don’t want the dangers of gas or electricity running while you or anyone works on the system or is nearby touching the water or heater parts.
Usually, a water heater has an emergency shutdown. It should be on the system itself. If you can’t find it, here’s what to look for and do. First, you need to turn off the power to the system.
Electric – The safest and most likely way is to go to your breaker box and switch off the breaker for the water heater on the electric panel.
Gas – Find the on-off dial on the water heater. It should be lower on the heater. Turn the dial off.
Next, turn off the water to the water heater. Find the water supply inlet on the top of the water heater. There’s a dial there. Turn it off – clockwise.
The Most Common Causes a Water Heater’s Leaking
The Tank is Leaking
The most usual reason a water heater is leaking is damage to and a leak from the tank. If your hot water tank is dripping, or worse, that suggests it has an internal problem that is leading to a leak and water pooling at the base of the tank.
One frequent problem causing a damaged tank and tank leak is a buildup of sediment and debris inside the tank over time. This is most common in systems or locations with hard water. You should flush your water tank and get rid of dirt, deposits, and sediment every six months.
If you don’t, the performance of your water heater will decrease. The same goes for your whole plumbing system. The debris can contribute to deterioration and damage to the tank shell, leading to leakage.
In the case of internal damage to a water heater, you’ll almost always need to replace the system entirely. If you think your hot water tank is damaged but you’re uncertain, it’s best to hire a plumber to inspect it. If the issue isn’t with the tank, you may be able to avoid the expense of putting in a new system.
Drain Valve Leaking
A water heater tank has drain valves at the bottom. It’s designed to drain water out to keep the system working its best with its best efficiency. In this function, deposits gather over time. It’s a normal thing, yet if left to grow and get worse, it’ll cause damage to the inside of a tank. If you find a leak from the bottom of the water heater or from the nozzle, the source of the leak may be a loose or broken valve.
If you have water leaking from the nozzle of the drain valve, you might be able to fix it on your own. Try tightening the knob by hand. It could be, over time, the nozzle can become loose. If you try this and still have a leak, it could be a failed valve or another issue for a professional to take care of.
T&R Valve Leaking
The T&R valve, or temperature and pressure relief valve, releases pressure from inside the tank, typically when the water is too hot. A tube runs from this valve to the floor and a drain. This makes sure steam or hot water goes straight into the drain instead of a spray or leak into the room or onto the floor which could hurt someone or cause damage. If you see a leak near the bottom of the water heater, you can try checking the discharge tube. If you find water in the tube, the T&R valve isn’t working properly. It’s best to call an expert technician to service or replace this valve.
Often a leak is because of an internal problem. If your water heater is leaking, it could be from too much debris in the hot water tank. As soon as a water heater gets long into its life cycle, calcium and magnesium will likely build and form deposits at the base of the water storage tank. When the accumulation of minerals becomes too bad, fractures and corrosion can start to develop in your water heater. The only method to fix a water leakage that is triggered by a damaged tank is to change the entire water heater system.
Don’t Ignore Water Pooling Around a Water Heater
A leaking water heater is absolutely nothing to ignore. With time, the leaks could cause water damage to the flooring or more and lead to an even bigger headache and more of an expense. If you find water pooled around your heater, it’s a good time to call a professional technician. Have an experienced expert check the leak and inspect your system for additional issues or maintenance.
South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.