A leaking water heater can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. It can result in elevated utility bills and significant water damage to your home. So, please join your professionals at Canal Winchester Plumbing & Drain as we explore the causes of water heater leaks and the solutions available. 

Before we begin: Please remember to always power off the unit before attempting any troubleshooting procedures. Your safety is our priority. 

Common Cause Number 1: A Loose Cold or Hot Water Inlet and Outlet Connection   

One of the most common causes of a water heater leak is a loose connection on the cold or hot water inlet and outlet pipes. These connections can loosen over time due to temperature fluctuations and regular usage. Consequently, when the connections are loose, water can begin to seep out. This may manifest as a small puddle around the base of the heater or a slow drip from the pipes. 

To determine if this is the cause, examine the connections at the top of the water heater. If water is present around these areas, the connections may be the issue. Tightening them with a wrench could resolve the problem; however, exercise caution to avoid overtightening, as this could result in further damage. 

Common Cause Number 2: A Malfunctioning Pressure Relief Valve   

Another potential cause of a leaking water heater is a malfunctioning pressure relief valve. This valve is designed to release excess pressure within the tank. If it malfunctions, it can result in water leakage. A defective pressure relief valve is a serious concern, as it indicates that the tank may be experiencing excessive pressure. This can ultimately lead to the tank bursting, posing a significant hazard. 

To determine if this valve is the issue, slightly lift the valve’s lever. If water is released, the valve is functioning. However, if it continues to leak after you release the lever, it is likely that the valve will need to be replaced.  

Common Cause Number 3: A Faulty or Loose Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve   

Similar to the pressure relief valve, the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve can also be a source of water heater leaks. This valve regulates the water heater’s temperature and pressure. If it is faulty or loose, it may result in leaks. A leaking T&P valve may indicate that the water temperature is excessively high or that the pressure inside the tank is too great. Both scenarios can be hazardous and warrant immediate attention. 

If you suspect the T&P valve is the issue, inspect for any water around the valve. If it appears wet, a replacement may be necessary. 

Common Cause Number 4: A Leaking Inlet Valve   

The inlet valve, responsible for controlling the flow of cold water into the water heater, is another common source of leaks. If this valve is damaged or improperly sealed, it can allow water to escape. A leaking inlet valve typically causes water to pool around the base of the heater. You may observe a steady drip or a small stream of water emanating from the valve area. 

To address this issue, examine the inlet valve for any indications of damage or wear. It may be necessary to tighten the valve or replace it. 

When to Call a Professional Plumber:   

If you have followed all troubleshooting steps and your water heater continues to leak, it is advisable to contact a professional plumber. Certain issues may be too complex or hazardous for DIY repairs. A professional plumber can accurately diagnose the problem and offer a permanent solution. This may involve replacing parts, addressing internal tank issues, or even recommending a new water heater. 

A leaking water heater can cause significant stress and damage if not addressed promptly. By understanding the common causes and following troubleshooting steps, many issues can be identified and resolved independently. However, if the problem persists, please do not hesitate to contact us. Ensuring your water heater is in good working order will prevent larger issues in the future. Proactiveness is essential!  

Our team of specialists is consistently prepared to assist you in maintaining a safe and comfortable home. You can call Canal Winchester Plumbing & Drain today at (614) 490-7531, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!