First and foremost, it’s important to understand that a leaking water heater can be a very serious problem. A breached water heater has the potential to cause a massive flood, leading to devastating water damage. Should you attempt to repair the leak and are unsuccessful, you could face thousands of dollars in home repairs. For this reason, some beginners may feel more comfortable seeking help from a certified plumber.
That said, some water heater leaks have some easy fixes. If you feel comfortable fixing your own water heater, these tips will help you.
Your first course of action is to identify where the leak is coming from. The leak may have several different sources, including:
If you’re not familiar with the parts of the water heater, consult with your owner’s manual, or check out this diagram online.
The drain valve is located at the bottom of the water heater, and its primary job is to drain the tank. The drain valve can leak if it’s not closed tight enough, so if you believe the water is leaking from the drain valve, tighten it first before taking any other course of action.
If tightening it doesn’t work, it’s also possible that debris has become lodged beneath the washer, preventing the seal from working. To find out if this is the case, hook up a hose to the valve and then turn on the spigot. Run the water for a few minutes, then turn it off. This could help remove the debris from beneath the washer. If this doesn’t work, the drain valve may need to be replaced. To replace the drain valve, consult with your owner’s manual, or check out this online tutorial.
The supply pipe is located at the top of the water heater. You’ll know if the supply pipe has sprung a leak by the fine spray of water coming from the breach. If this is the case, shut off the water supply to the heater immediately. The shut off valve is located up the pipe. The valve may be red, for easy identification.
Fixing a leaking pipe is a job for a plumber. However, you can put a temporary fix on the pipe while you’re waiting for the plumber to arrive. To do this, wrap the leak with plastic tape, then cover the tape with a pipe clamp. This process is demonstrated in the YouTube video below:
This valve, located near the top of the gas tank, relieves pressure that builds up inside the tank. If too much pressure builds up inside the tank because the water temperature is too high, the valve could leak. To fix this problem, turn down the temperature on the water heater. If this doesn’t fix the problem, the valve may need to be replaced. To replace the valve, consult with your owner’s manual, or check out this online tutorial.
A leaking tank is a fatal problem for a water heater, and replacing the unit is the only effective course of action. To have your tank replaced, contact a plumber you trust. Residents of the Pittsburgh area can contact Terry’s Plumbing. We have a 24 hour emergency hotline and knowledgeable staff, and we’re ready to help you with your plumbing needs. Call us today for more information.