Why Is My Hot Water Tank Leaking?

Hot water tanks have a limited lifespan, so even the most well maintained unit will eventually give out. If your water heater seems to be leaking, finding the source of the leak can help you decide whether or not your water heater truly needs to be replaced. In this post, we’ll talk about water tank leaks and basic maintenance for your heater, so you can avoid problems that cause serious damage to your home and possessions.

Determine the Source of the Leak

Inspect your water heater on a regular basis to look for signs of trouble. Doing this monthly can help you avoid a flood that can cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.

If you find water on the floor beneath your appliance, the first thing you’ll need to do is locate the source of the leak. Feel your water heater tank for moisture, and look for signs of corrosion and rust. If you don’t feel any moisture on the tank itself, inspect the pipes around the tank. Water leaks can come from the pipes that feed into or come out of the tank, or may come from an unrelated problem, like a nearby window or crack in your basement wall.

If you’re unable to find the source of the leak, dry the floor and place a towel in the area where you found the leak. Inspect the towel every hour or so until the towel gets wet again. This will help you track the leak. Common sources of water tank leaks include:

  • Hot water tank: The tank itself can develop corrosion that can eventually lead to a leak. When this happens, the water tank will need to be replaced.
  • Pipes that lead into or out of the tank: Pipes have a way of developing leaks, especially at the joints where two pipes connect. If this is the case, you’ll be able to find evidence of corrosion on the pipes.
  • Condensation: Sometimes condensation from the tank or nearby pipes will simulate the appearance of a leak. If the problem is condensation, it will be closely tied to the temperature and humidity of the room. For example, cold water pipes may develop condensation when the room itself is warm and humid.
  • TPR Valve: The TPR valve is very important, because it releases pressure from inside the hot water tank to prevent it from exploding. If your TPR valve is faulty, it could start to leak. If this happens, it needs to be replaced right away.

Take Fast Action

If your hot water tank or the pipes that supply the water to the tank is leaking, the first thing that you should do is turn off the water supply valve. If you can’t find the valve, turn off the water supply to your home.

Next, call the plumber. If you live in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, call Terry’s Plumbing at (412) 364-9114. We answer our phones 24 hours per day 7 days per week, so you’ll never be left without help.

Maintain Your Water Heater

You can extend the life of your water heater with proper maintenance. We recommend draining your water heater on a regular basis, if you have a traditional tank water heater. If you have a tankless water heater, descaling your water heater periodically can lengthen its service life.

When your water heater gets older, around 7 years old, start having it inspected annually by a plumber. Your plumber can help you determine when it’s time to replace your water heater before a leak forms. For an appointment with the plumbers at Terry’s Plumbing, call us today at (412) 364-9114.