There is nothing like starting your day with a warm, refreshing shower. You turn the knob only to realize cold water is coming out of the faucet. Maybe it is faulty?
You check every faucet in the house; there is no hot water. What could it be? If you have cold water coming from all of your faucets, you may have a leaking water heater.
Is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous?
Yes, a leaking water heater can be dangerous. The biggest worry is an explosion. Although it is a rare occasion, it is still a risk. If your water heater is leaking from the T&P (Temperature & Pressure) valve, it means there is an excessive amount of pressure and unsafe water temperatures inside the tank. This could cause the tank to explode.
A water heater explosion can cause serious damage to the inside of your home and your plumbing system. An explosion can cause injury to occupants. If the scalding water comes in contact with skin, it can cause severe burns. The force of an explosion can cause death. It is important to contact a professional if your T&P valve is leaking or if there is any other indication that your water heater may explode.
Another big risk is flooding. If there is a large leak coming from your water heater, it can flood the room that it is in. This can cause a significant amount of damage to your floor, walls, and belongings.
A leaking water heater can also cause mold to grow inside your home. Dark, moist places are the perfect areas for mold to thrive. Mold can grow on your wall and the floor near your water heater.
Can You Repair a Leaking Water Heater?
That depends on where the leak is located on the water heater. Small problems can probably be repaired; large problems will warrant a new water heater. It is important to call a professional to diagnose the issue and tell you the next course of action.
When you call a plumber, you should let them know where the leak is coming from. Let them know if it is a bottom leak, a top leak, or if it is from an unknown location. This will help the professional better understand what kind of leak they are dealing with.
Leaks that occur from the bottom of the water heater can be minor, or they can require an entirely new water heater. The leak could be coming from the drain valve, which is a minor issue. Drain valves can be tightened and easily fixed. However, the tank itself could be leaking. This type of leak cannot be repaired and will require a replacement water heater.
Top leaks can normally be repaired. It is uncommon for a crack to form on the top of the water heater, so the leak is probably coming from the T&P valves or loose pipe fittings. The T&P valve can be replaced to fix the leak. Loose pipe fittings can be easily tightened to stop the leaking.
If you cannot find the leak, it is likely due to a pressure problem, in which too much pressure is building up in your water heater and causing water to leak through a small crack on the water heater. This requires immediate attention, and you may need a replacement.
There is one type of leak that is impossible to see. This leak is inside of the water heater, coming from the tank. The tank itself can rust or crack, resulting in a pool of water. This type of leak cannot be repaired and you will need a replacement water heater.
7 Ways to Prevent Water Heater Leaks
A leaking water heater can cause damage to your property and possibly harm occupants inside the home.
Water heater leaks can turn into bigger problems that may require a new unit. Replacing a water heater can cost a lot of time and money. You can prevent these tragedies from happening by following the list below.
1. Tighten Components
Check your water heater for any loose components. For instance, the inlet and outlet connections can become loose or detach over time. To fix this, you simply need to tighten them using a pipe wrench. Be sure to cut off the power to your water heater beforehand.
2. Regular Maintenance
You should have regular maintenance done to your entire plumbing system. A plumber will check everything including the water heater. They will check for leaks, oxidation, rust, or anything that may cause problems in the future. Regular maintenance ensures your water heater will not have any leaks following the inspection.
3. Inspect Every 60 days
You should inspect your unit every 60 days for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Check your T&P valve and make sure it opens and closes without difficulty.
Turn on a nearby faucet and listen for any unusual noises within the water heater. Listen for popping, rumbling, or creaking noises. These sounds indicate a serious problem and you should contact a plumber immediately.
4. Flush Every 6 Months
The buildup of sediment can clog your water lines. This can put too much pressure on your plumbing system and result in burst pipes, leaks, and water heater failure.
You should have your water heater flushed twice a year to prevent these problems. A plumber will attach a hose to your tank and empty it to get rid of the sediment. They will then fill the tank back up.
5. Annual Checks
Annual inspections help to maintain your water heater and prevent any problems from arising.
A professional plumber will check for several things on your water heater: Water pressure, T&P valve, anode rod, and electric or gas connections. They may also flush your tank during the annual inspection.
6. Set Temperature to Factory Recommendations
The standard temperature recommendation for water heaters is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The Department of Energy, though, recommends a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat causes your water heater to expand. If your temperature is set too high, your water heater will expand more than it should. This puts a lot of stress on the water heater and causes tiny cracks to form on the surface.
Too much water pressure caused by overly high temperatures will also cause the T&P valve to leak.
7. Call a Plumber Immediately
As soon as you suspect something is wrong with your water heater, or you see an active leak, you should call a plumber. The sooner the problem is addressed, the more likely it can be fixed. This will also prevent further damage from happening.
Call High 5 Plumbing if you are facing any problems with your plumbing system. We can fix your water heater leaks or install a new water heater. We can install a variety of different appliances and have the skills necessary to fix any problems you may have. We care about our residents in Denver, CO, and we are ready to serve you. Call us today to learn more!