Water heaters are a cornerstone of the modern home. They provide families with hot water for cooking, bathing, cleaning and other daily activities. While most water heaters are built to last for a long time, they can still develop problems. Leaks, in particular, are a common issue that arise from improper installation or poor maintenance.
In this article, we will show you the first steps to take if you suspect a leak in your water heater and how to diagnose the problem. We will also help you understand when you require professional repair.
How Can You Tell if a Water Heater is Leaking
A puddle of water near your water heater does not necessarily mean you have a leak. Condensation from a known source—such as your humidifier, which is attached to your water heater—could be the cause of the puddle. Additionally, there may be other components attached to your water heater that are the source of your problem, such as discharge lines from a water softener or drain lines from a furnace.
In order to determine the source of the puddle near your water heater, you will need to clean up and dry the area.
Place a dry cloth or paper towels where the puddle was to absorb any future puddles. If no new water appears within days, keep an eye on the area. You’ll want to check this periodically over the next several weeks.
If no puddle appears within a day or two after a leak is discovered, then there is nothing to worry about. However, if a new puddle does appear, you are likely dealing with a leak. This can be caused by a faulty water heater if the heater is older than 15 years.
What to Do When You have a Leak
First, if you have a water heater leak, you should immediately shut off the power supply to the water heater. If your water heater is electric, you will need to locate the breaker box and switch off the power to the water heater. If your water heater is a gas model, then the switch will be located on the exterior of the tank.
Next, you will shut off the water supply to the hot water heater. This is usually done by turning a valve located at the point where water enters the tank (a cold-water shut-off valve). If there is an excessive leak and you are unable to reach this valve, it is recommended that you contact your local gas or utility company. They can turn off your gas or electricity supply.
Can I Use Hot Water if it Leaks
In theory, a leaky water heater can be used for hot-water purposes whilst the leak is being fixed. However, this will drive up the cost of your energy bills; moreover, the situation may deteriorate even more than expected, doing more damage to your home than you could have imagined. The water service provider will be able to tell you whether this would be an acceptable course of action. It is important to do all that you can to avoid needing professional water damage restoration services.
Should You Drain the Water Heater Tank
The professionals working on your water heater can drain the tank for you before they begin their repair work. However, you can drain the tank yourself in preparation for their arrival. To do this, follow these steps:
- Secure a hose to the drain valve and run hose to a gutter or drain
- Release the valve on the water heater tank
- Open the pressure relief valve, this is also located on the water heater tank
- Allow all of the water to drain from the tank
Call Mullin Plumbing Oklahoma City for Professional Water Heater Repair
If the hot water in your home is not working properly, you will want to schedule a service appointment with a professional plumber. Water heater leaks may be easy to detect and repair yourself, but if you are not comfortable fixing them or if you decide to try it yourself and run into trouble, you could wind up with a pricey fix on your hands.