A leaking water heater could cause serious damage if not addressed as soon as possible. Unlike a leaking faucet or toilet, a leaking water heater will affect the entire home. You’ll need the help of a professional plumber to determine the cause and take care of repairs.
A water heater leak may be caused by one or more of the following factors.
Old water tank
With time, water tanks are more likely to spring leaks. This is generally due to rust buildup that causes internal corrosion. When the water tank corrodes, this can lead to cracks that lead to water leaks. Though you can temporarily patch the crack to stop the leak, you’ll need to purchase a new unit to prevent future leaks.
Loose drain valve
The drain valve is used to empty and clean the tank. However, if the valve becomes loose it can cause water to leak from the water heater. Even a small opening can drive up water bills. If tightening the valve doesn’t stop the leak, then the valve is loose at the base and needs to be replaced.
High pressure within the water tank could cause water to leak through cracks in the unit. You’ll need to speak to a professional plumber to determine how best to address this issue.
Malfunctioning temperature and pressure relief valve
High pressure within the water heater can cause the pressure relief valve to release steam outside the unit. You may just need to tighten the valve to address problems with temperature. But if the valve is broken, you’ll need to replace it with a new one.
Loose inlet and outlet connections
The inlet and outlet connections control the flow of water into and out of the tank. These connections can become loose over time and cause a leak. You’ll need to tighten the connections to stop the leak.
Problem with tank interior
Though it’s easy to spot an issue with the external shell of the water heater, problems with the interior shell aren’t easily seen. You’ll need to have the tank drained and inspected by a professional plumber.
Neglecting water heater maintenance could lead to sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank and cause cracks that spring a leak. In this case, you’ll need to replace the water heater.