My Water Heater is Leaking, What Should I Do?

Do you hear a strange dripping sound coming from your water heater?

If so, it’s time to act fast—your water heater is leaking!

Not only can a leaking water heater be an expensive problem to fix, but the leak may also be a sign of a much bigger issue.

In this article, we’ll provide five steps you can take to address water heater leaks, as well as some common causes of leaks and how to prevent them.

Keep reading to find out more!

Turn Off the Water Supply

To prevent further damage from a leaking water heater, turn off the water supply to the tank. Typically, there is a dedicated shutoff valve on the cold inlet pipe of the water heater tank. If it is a gate-style valve, turn it clockwise until it cannot turn any further. For a ball-style valve, turn the handle 180 degrees.

If the valve is damaged, you can shut off the water supply to your entire home by locating the main water shutoff valve. If you cannot find it, contact an emergency plumber to assist you.

Turn Off the Electricity

To ensure your safety when dealing with an electric water heater issue, turn off the power at the breaker before handling the tank. Simply switch the breaker to the “off” position.

For a gas-powered water heater that is leaking, it is recommended to turn off the gas supply before inspecting the tank. The gas line leading to the tank should have a dedicated shut-off valve.

Once the power and gas supply is turned off, you can assess the situation and identify the source of the leak more accurately.

Assess the Damage

How bad is the leak?

To better understand the situation, it can help to look around for any signs of corrosion and check for any cracks in the tank.

Once you’ve determined what’s causing the leak and its severity, you can start deciding whether to try fixing it yourself or call a professional plumber. Safety should be your primary concern regardless of what caused your water heater leak.

Identify the Source of the Leak

To determine where the water is coming from, inspect all the most likely sources, including:

  • Pipes
  • Drain valve
  • Pressure relief valve
  • Seals
  • Bottom of the water heater

You may also want to check for clogs or blockages in any of these areas, as well. If you are having trouble locating the source of the leak, it might be helpful to consult a professional plumber for assistance.

Explore Repair Options

Once you’ve identified the issue, it’s time to explore repair options.

This will depend on the cause of the leak. If a part is broken or worn out, it may be something you can replace yourself. If there’s an issue with plumbing, you may need to hire a professional plumber.

You should always refer to your water heater manufacturer’s instructions for necessary replacements and repairs. If you don’t feel comfortable performing the repair yourself, call in a qualified technician for assistance.

Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks

Most water heater leaks are caused by a combination of:

  • Age — As water heaters age, the inner tank and its components may corrode and eventually begin to leak.
  • Corrosion — Corrosion is a natural process that occurs due to the interaction of water and metal components, leading to rust and wear-and-tear that can cause leaks.
  • Improper installation — If a water heater is not properly installed, it can cause leaks. due to loose connections or faulty components.
  • Improper maintenance — If the water heater is not regularly maintained and inspected, it can cause leaks due to sediment buildup or other issues.

In some cases, leaks may be caused by external factors, such as plumbing problems or frozen pipes. If you suspect a water heater leak, you should take immediate action to prevent further damage to your home.

Preventing Water Heater Leaks

Now that you know what to do if your water heater is leaking, it’s important to consider ways to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place.

To help ensure your water heater operates efficiently and safely, there are a few key measures you can take:

  1. Inspect your water heater regularly for any signs of leaks or corrosion. If you find any issues, have them addressed immediately by a qualified plumber.
  2. Flush your water heater tank yearly to remove sediment and debris. This helps keep the unit running smoothly and more efficiently.
  3. Ensure that your water heater’s temperature is set correctly; too high of a setting can cause leaks or even an explosion.

These preventative steps will help safeguard against further problems with your water heater and extend its lifespan.

If you need help repairing a leaky water heater or have other plumbing-related questions, call JMK Plumbing today.

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