A leaky hot water heater can be both a nuisance and a serious problem. If the leak has been going on long enough, there might be water damage to the flooring or walls. A leak can also cause an increase in your water bill as well as your electric bill. Even if the leak is a small drip, you'll want to have it repaired. Here are some possible causes of a leaky hot water heater.
It might be difficult to tell where a leak is coming from if it is a slow leak. Start at the top of the water heater and work your way down since the drips will flow down the tank. The top of the heater has connections for the incoming water. These may be loose and allowing water to drip out of the threads. This is an easy fix since all you have to do is tighten the connections.
Condensation isn't really a leak since the water forms on the outside of the tank. However, water will drip down the tank and it might make a small puddle on the floor and cause concern. Condensation can happen when the supply water is very cold, such as in the winter months. When the hot water drains out of the tank and cold water replaces it, condensation can occur until the water is heated again. Condensation will evaporate and may not be cause for concern, however, if it is a chronic problem, then you'll want to have a plumber take a look. A condensation drain kit may need to be applied to protect the tank from corrosion. Also, be sure to keep the area well-ventilated so the condensation can evaporate quickly.
Worn Pressure Relief Valve
A leaky pressure relief valve can result from a worn or damaged valve. In that case, replacing the valve might be necessary. A pressure relief valve can also leak if the pressure in the tank is too high or if the pressure of the water supplying the tank is too high. A leaky pressure relief valve could be a serious problem since it is a safety mechanism for the heater. You should have it looked at by a professional right away.
Open Drain Valve
The drain valve is on the bottom of the hot water heater. It can leak due to age and deterioration. It may also not be seated properly if it was recently opened when you drained the tank. If flushing the valve and wiping away debris that might be blocking it don't help, you may need to have the valve replaced.
A more serious cause of leaking is a tank that has rusted through in spots. There's not much that can be done to repair such a leak since it signals the end of the water heater's useful life. When the tank is old, corroded, and springing leaks, it's time to have a new hot water heater installed.
Contact a service, like Rapid Plumbing Inc, for more help.