Identifying the First Signs of Leaks in Water Heaters

Plumber repairing a water heaterMost homeowners still use tank storage water heaters. Some prefer these conventional ones over tankless water heaters because the upfront costs are lower. The problem with tank storage water heaters is that they are prone to leaking.

Types of Leaks

Throughout the service life of your water heater, you might encounter different kinds of leaks. Early detection is crucial because minor leaks could lead to bigger problems. Here are the types of water leaks:

  • Dripping — leaks cause water to drip from the pipes or the tank itself.
  • Spraying — water sprays from the pipes near the water heater.
  • Pooling — water puddles around and on top of the water heater.

These leaks have many causes. For instance, corrosion is commonly the culprit for water pooling and the biggest water heater killer. The leaks that develop over time and are left unresolved, your tank will start to rust inside and out.

Water leaking from the top is usually due to loose cold inlet or hot outlet pipes. Another reason may be because the inlet valve is leaking.
Normal condensation often causes leaks at the bottom of a water heater. It could also be because of the pressure causing the Temperature and Pressure (T&P) valve to expel a small amount of water through the overflow pipe.

Actions to Take

A water heater leak may present a minor problem, but a small issue such as this could result in bigger problems. Leaving them unaddressed for a long time could make matters worse for your tank storage water heater.

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Turn off the shut-off valve nearest the leak when you see water spraying from the pipes or water heater. Simply rotate the handle of the valve clockwise. If the problem stems from rust, it’s time to replace the tank.

When to Hire the Pros

Regular maintenance is the key to making the most of your tank’s service life. But if it’s time to install a new heating system, the experts at All Hours Plumbing and HVAC recommend switching to a tankless water heater instead. Tankless systems are less prone to leaking and they last longer than tank varieties. They are low-maintenance, as well, and can be more energy-efficient, making them a worthier investment.

Leaks in your water heating system can lead to many inconveniences and serious damage to your home. Keep your home safe and comfortable by giving your water heater the attention and care it needs.