Finding a water leak coming from your water heater can be scary. Whether it’s just some dripping or gushing water, it’s important to find the cause of the leak. Some leaks require an emergency visit from your plumber, while others could be a quick DIY fix.
Common Leak Locations:
- Leak from the Drain Valve
- Leak from the Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve
- Leak from the tank
Causes of a water heater leak:
- Faulty drain valve
- Too much pressure in the tank
- Faulty Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve
- An internal problem with the tank
Leak from the Drain Valve
The drain valve is at the bottom of the tank. Every water heater, tank and tankless, has a drain valve. This is used for draining built-up sediment from the inside of the tank.
A leak from your drain valve will cause a puddle under your tank. The area around the drain valve will be wet as well.
If the drain valve is faulty, it may begin to leak from the valve itself. However, if the valve is not sealed properly, water can start to leak out from the edges of the valve.
A leaky drain valve is relatively cheap and fast to fix. The valve will need to be replaced by a plumber. If you don’t have time or money to hire a plumber, you can DIY fix this by screwing a brass garden hose cap onto the valve to stop the leak.
If the brass garden hose cap doesn’t do the trick, or if the drain valve starts linking more water, you should call a plumber for more assistance. The valve may not have been sealed properly when it was installed.
To an improperly sealed valve, you need to hire a plumber.
A Leak from the Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve
The temperature & pressure relief valve releases water when there is too much pressure inside the tank or if the water gets too hot. The valve has a tube the runs to the floor to safely discharge the excess water onto the floor rather than outwards.
If there is a puddle of water under your water heater, check the discharge tube. If you see moisture inside the tube, then the water is originating from the temperature & pressure relief valve. Call a plumber to fix this problem.
They will fix this problem in two different ways.
1. Relieve Pressure in the Tank
If there is too much pressure inside the tank, they will relieve the pressure and fix the underlying problem. Too much pressure could have been forcing water out to avoid the water heater exploding. This is an automatic safety measure.
2. Broken Valve
However, if the problem is with the valve rather than the tank, they will probably recommend replacing the valve. An improperly sealed valve or a broken valve will cause water to leak as well. The plumber will replace and seal the valve to prevent future leaks.
A Leak From the Tank
This is the most common kind of leak. However, it is not the kind of leak you want. A leak from the tank is a sign of an internal problem with the water heater. Possible causes:
- A malfunctioning component
- A broken part
- Sediment build-up inside the tank
- Rusted tank
You should call a plumber to diagnose and repair a leak coming from the water heater tank. Repairs for a tank leak almost always replacing the water heater unit.
Contact a Professional
If your water heater is leaking, you should call a professional plumber to inspect the unit. The fix may be easier than you think, or it could be more complicated than you expect. A failed DIY could lead to more damage too.