As the name implies, a water heater is responsible for creating and storing the hot water that comes out of a sink or tub faucet. If you see moisture accumulating on or near the tank, it is important that you take action right away. In many cases, a leak is a sign that the tank itself is damaged or that there is a problem with the pressure valve.
Turn Off the Water and Power
There should be a valve attached to the cold inlet pipe that provides water to the tank. Twisting or turning this object should prevent any more liquid from flowing into it while it’s being inspected. Once the water has been turned off, it is also a good idea to make sure that the gas or electric power to the unit has been deactivated as well.
If you have an electric water heater, you can turn the power off by flipping the switch on the circuit breaker. If the product is powered by gas, there should be another valve located near the unit that you can twist or turn to the off position.
In the event that you can’t find the dedicated water or gas valve, it may be possible to turn the water or power off to the entire house instead. The folks at Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing in American Fork can help you complete these tasks or inspect the water heater on your behalf. One of our technicians may also be able to repair or replace this item in a timely, friendly, and affordable manner.
Look for the Source of the Leak
Locating the source of the leak might allow you to determine what the problem might be. For instance, if the leak is coming from one of the gas pipes, it may indicate that a fitting is loose. In such a scenario, a professional may be able to fix the issue by tightening the fitting.
It is also a good idea to inspect the pressure valve if you notice a leak. In some cases, it will let water out of the tank because it has gotten too hot or because too much pressure has accumulated inside of it. Generally speaking, any water that exits that unit will accumulate underneath it, and this may make it look as if the moisture issue was caused by a cracked or otherwise damaged product.
Although replacing a defective pressure valve is less expensive than replacing an entire water heater, it is important to have someone complete this task as soon as possible. If there is too little pressure being generated, water won’t flow properly throughout your home. However, if too much pressure is allowed to build up in the tank, it could literally fly out of your house.
If you notice that the leak is actually coming from the bottom of the tank, there is a good chance that the tank is cracked. Ultimately, you will have no choice but to have a professional come to your home to replace it.
What Might Cause a Water Heater to Crack?
Water heaters can crack due to sediment buildup, a cracked pressure valve, or old age. Over the life of the product, the tank itself will corrode and allow rust to form on its surface. The rust will then eat away at the unit until the hole or crack develops that results in a leak. If the tank was designed or installed improperly, it could create weak points that are more susceptible to breaking.
How Long Should This Type of Product Last?
Assuming that it has been properly maintained, a water heater should last for about a decade. Therefore, even if a leak is caused by something as simple as a loose-fitting or faulty pressure valve, it may be a good idea to consider replacing it anyway. It may be possible to replace the product that is currently in your home with one that is more energy-efficient. If you’re thinking about selling your home in the near future, a new water heater could be appealing to potential buyers.
If your home’s water heater or plumbing system needs to be inspected or repaired, contact the folks at Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing today for help. We can also repair, maintain, and install temperature-control products, including furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioners. Our other services include indoor air quality testing.