There is usually no reason to panic when your water heater starts leaking. It is a common problem faced by households and can be fixed without the help of a licensed plumber most of the time. When you find that your water heater is leaking, the first thing you should do is identify the source and cause of the leakage. It may be a worn out valve, faulty connection or corroded tank. Once you have determined what is causing the problem, fixing the water heater is a matter of changing the setting or repairing or replacing the faulty components. You may need a screw driver and an adjustable wrench for this job.
Here are some causes of water heater leakages and their remedies:
- Loose Faucet: The faucet can become loose after some time of use and cause water to leak. A simple remedy for this is to tighten the valve using an adjustable wrench. If that doesn’t work, then consider replacing the entire faucet.
- Faulty Plumbing Connection: Water can leak if the flex lines at the inlet or the drain valve at the outlet are loosely joined. If you find that your water heater is leaking from either of these points, then tightening them with an adjustable wrench usually works. If the leakage subsides but does not stop, then you may have to replace them.
- Faulty T&P Relief Valves: Water can leak if the temperature and pressure relief valves are faulty. First, try to fix them by cleaning the debris collected in and around the valves. If that doesn’t solve the problem, then you may have to replace the valves.
- Faulty Heating Element: If the heating element is faulty and causing the leakage, then you may have to replace it. This usually requires a licensed plumber, but you can also do it if you are fairly handy.
- Excessive Temperature: If the temperature is set too high, it can cause the T&P valves to remain open continuously, which leads to water leakage. If that is the case, then reduce the thermostat setting to lower the water temperature. The recommended temperature for water heaters is 120o Celsius.
- Condensation: Condensation is a natural phenomenon in which tiny water droplets are formed when humid air comes into contact with a cold surface. This especially happens on a cold day. Once the water heater becomes warm, the droplets flow down the surface giving the impression that the water heater is leaking. There is nothing you need to do about it because the apparent leaking stops as soon as the droplets are exhausted.
- Corroded Storage Tank: The minerals present in water can corrode the water tank and cause small holes to form. Since patching the holes doesn’t provide a permanent solution, you may have to replace the entire water heater.
If your water heater is leaking despite your best efforts, then you should call a licensed plumber to fix it. Do not consider replacing it right away without first consulting your plumber. Trained plumbers can fix most of the problems that you cannot.