What To Do If Your Water Heater Starts Leaking
February 27, 2017
One day, you notice water around the water heater in your home. Is it leaking? Even a small leak in your water heater can quickly turn into a lot of damage to your floors and walls. Thus, it is vitally important to rectify a potential leaking water heater as soon as you suspect something might be wrong. The sooner, the better, so you can minimize potential damage and especially lasting effects. With that in mind, here are some instructions on what you should do if you think your water heater has started leaking.
Identify If it’s a Leak
This may surprise you, but not every bit of water found on the floor around your water heater is a leak. The heater, pipes, and any major appliances nearby often form condensation, which may accumulate and drip onto the floor, resulting in the water around the heater. Wipe the water up and inspect the heater and surrounding area for the source. Look for clear signs of a leak around the whole area. If you cannot find anything, try placing some paper towel or newspaper down and observe for a couple days. If the water does not come back, you likely have nothing to worry about.
Cut the Power
Once you know your water heater is leaking, make sure you turn off the power to it. Water and electricity do not mix well, so this is an important safety precaution for the next steps. For an electric heater, this is often as simple as flipping a switch in the circuit breaker. For gas water heaters, there is a different switch on the appliance you can turn to the off position.
Stop the Water
If the leak is obvious, and you can get to the shut-off valve safely, without coming into contact with any water, go ahead and shut the valve. If you cannot do so safely, or are unsure about the location of the leak at this stage, it is best to leave things alone and call a professional. You do not want to suffer injuries, including severe burns, because of trying to turn it off unsafely.
Locate the Leak
If possible, identify where the leak is coming from on your water heater. The more information you can provide a professional with before they visit your home, the better. Common sources of leaks in water heaters include the temperature and pressure relief valve, the heater drain valve, the bottom of the water heater tank, and the outlet pipe connections to your water heater.
Many leaks at the pipe connections often require just tightening things up and are simple fixes. Other leaks, like ones stemming from the bottom of the tank, can be very severe. Leaks from the bottom are particularly detrimental because the insulation often makes them impossible to see from the outside.
Repair or Replace
With all water heater leaks, you will either need to repair the heater or have it replaced with a new one. Regardless of which you suspect you will have to do, it is best if you phone a professional to help you with this step. They can confirm your suspicions and safely fix or replace your water heater. Even if the fix seems simple, you do not want to make a mistake and cause even more damage in your home.