There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than coming home to a basement full of water. If the water heater has been leaking for a long time, the consequences can be severe.
Age of Tank. Water heater tanks older than 15 years leak more often than newer ones. Parts wear out as the unit ages, the water doesn’t keep its warmth as well, and leaking occurs more frequently. Another reason older water heater tanks crack is because rust forms in the tank, leading to corrosion and allowing water to leak through cracks.
Drain valve. Plumbers and homeowners use the drain valve to empty the tank. When they need to clean the tank, homeowners also use the drain valve, but it can slacken over time, allowing water to leak through. If the component isn’t watertight, a new drain valve is necessary.
Too much pressure. Pressure happens in water heaters because the hot water causes steam and fills the space. If steam has no place to go, the pressure becomes overwhelming. Water exits through any crack in the heater to relieve some of the pressure.
Faulty temperature and pressure relief valve. Water heater leaks arise because of the temperature and pressure relief valve, the T&P valve. If this valve doesn’t work, the pressure in the tank increases. It’s possible the valve is simply loose and requires tightening, but if the part is unreliable, the piece needs to be replaced. Before tackling the T&P valve issues, lower the pressure in the tank.
Inlet and outlet connections. In a water heater, cold water comes through the inlet, and hot water leaves through the outlet. These links allow hot water to enter your water fixtures. As the tank ages, these connections loosen and cause leaks.
While some leaks are unpreventable, homeowners do have some control over water leaks, using the following preventive measures:
Tighten loose parts. Check for any loose components on the water heater. Loose parts allow water to leak through, so a good practice is to tighten them as often as necessary.
Preventative maintenance. Maintenance checks allow a plumber to inspect the entire plumbing system, including the water heater. A plumber will ensure there are no leaks, inspecting all components to see if they have future leak potential.
Drain and clean tank. A clean tank reduces the chances of it cracking because of sediment build-up. Homeowners can clean the tank themselves by using the drain valve, removing water, and adding a bleach-water solution. The mixture clears any mold and mildew growth, improving the water quality and ensuring sediment collection doesn’t damage the tank.
Check the water heater often. Homeowners can do their part by examining the water heater as well. Check for loose parts, cracks, and sediment build-up.
Act fast. Responding quickly to any leaks ensures homeowners won’t face harsh consequences. Long-running leaks increase the chances of flooding. If the pressure builds up in the tank, the heater can explode.
A leaking water heater can be taxing, especially if you don’t know why or how it occurred. But you don’t have to stress about getting the job done right with Gene Wagner Plumbing, recently ranked as one of the top two plumbers in Southeastern Wisconsin by Milwaukee’s A-List. Contact us or call us at 414-541-9217.