A water heater leak can quickly turn from a minor inconvenience to a major problem. A leak that goes unnoticed or is left untreated can result in major water damage to your home, and the national average cost for water damage repair in a home is three thousand dollars.
In addition to being dangerous and costly, a leaky water heater is inconvenient for your day-to-day life. A leak can slow your water heater’s efficiency or cause it to stop functioning altogether, cause electrical damage, and result in significant amounts of wasted water.
It’s clear that a water heater leak needs to be stopped, diagnosed, and repaired immediately. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with a leaking water heater!
1. Recognize a Leak
First and foremost, you need to recognize that there is a leak in order to fix it. It’s easy to see if there’s water pooling or other visual signs, but if it’s a slow leak, it might be more difficult to notice right away.
Higher-than-usual water bills can be a sign that your water heater has an issue. If you hear water rushing or dripping, but can’t see water visibly leaking on the outside, that can also signal an internal leak. If you notice any strange symptoms, it’s a good idea to call a professional to make sure you aren’t missing a hidden issue that could be building up to a catastrophe.
2. Stop the Damage
Before you can make any repairs, you need to immediately stop the damage (or potential damage) from the leak. Turn off the power to the water heater by shutting off the power breaker in an electric heater or turning off the gas switch in a gas heater. Then, turn off the incoming supply of water to your heater by closing the inlet valve.
Do not attempt to fix the damage without first ensuring water sources are switched off and turning off the water heater’s power system.
3. Find the Leak
Finding the source of the problem is the next step. Here are the common places you should check to locate the source of the leak:
- Pipe inlets and outlets. These are the points of connection from your main water system to your water heater tank. If the inlets and outlets are damaged, or even screwed too loosely, the water might be leaking out of them.
- Pressure release valve. This is a valve on the outside of the tank which helps regulate the pressure of the water heater. If the water pressure is too low, your water supply will slow to a trickle or not come out of the appliance at all. If it is too high, the pipes can burst and leak. The pressure release valve could be a source of a water heater leak.
- Drain valve. This is a valve that can be used to drain water out of the tank. If it is damaged, it could cause water to leak.
- The surface of the tank itself. Finally, the tank itself might be cracked or broken. Check the surface of your tank heater for cracks or moisture. If your tank has an insulation covering on the outside, you may need to remove it to fully check your water heater.
4. Call an Expert
Even after visually inspecting your heater, you may not be able to find the source of the leak. When you are experiencing a problem with your water heater, whether serious or seemingly minor, the best option is to call an expert right away. Unless you are qualified in plumbing or electrical work, it is unlikely that you alone can completely fix a problem that requires more than a simple pipe tightening.
Look for a trustworthy company with specific experience in water heater repairs in Glendale to give your water systems a long-lasting fix.
5. The Fix
There are a variety of problems that might be causing your leak and solutions to stop it. Depending on the source and the severity of the leak, you may be able to fix the issue yourself if you have some basic knowledge.
Some solutions for fixing the leak are:
- Tightening or replacing the inlets and outlets. If the problem is in the cold water inlet or the hot water outlet, you may be able to stop the leak simply by tightening the valve around the pipes. If the pipes or the connections are broken, you may need to replace them entirely.
- Changing the pressure relief or temperature valve. If the problem is in either one of these valves, you can either replace or tighten them. This depends on how severe the leak is—if the valve has slipped out of place and just needs to be adjusted, it can be fixed very simply. However, if the damage is significant, you may need to replace these to stop the leak completely.
- Replacing the tank itself. If the crack or hole is in the tank body itself, you will need to replace the tank altogether. It’s a good idea to work with a company providing water heater installation services that can help you select a new tank that will serve your home and family for years to come.
Hopefully, your water heater is in good condition and functioning properly. But when it springs a leak, you can confidently solve the issue by following these steps and enlisting the aid of an expert technician.