Although water dripping from your hot water tank is a frightening sight, water heaters can leak from the bottom due to one of several causes, some more serious than others.
While you might need urgent water heater replacement to prevent major water damage to your home, a leaking water heater could be something simple and inexpensive to fix. Make sure you know the difference — read this handy guide for reasons behind a water heater leaking from, or near the bottom.
4 Reasons A Water Heater Leaks From The Bottom
Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve
The temperature and pressure relief valve is equipped with a discharge pipe, running down from the top to the bottom of your water heater. This allows it to expel a bit of water if the heat and water pressure inside the tank rise too high. The small amount of liquid that drips out will easily be caught by the drain pan, which you should have installed under your water tank.
However, the temperature pressure relief valve is an important component, so if it’s leaking, have it checked by a professional as soon as possible.
To avoid mineral sediment buildup, you should flush your hot water heater via the drain valve at least once a year. (This will help your water heater to last longer and work better.) When the tank is leaking from the bottom, it may be a signal that the drain valve was left partially open. If simply turning the drain valve to a closed position does not stop the leakage, you may need a replacement valve due to damage.
Issue Inside The Tank
If you have neglected to flush your water heater for several years, mineral sediment can accumulate to the point where the metal of the water heater tank begins to corrode. An early sign is finding your hot water becoming way too hot.
Eventually, this leads to leaking from the bottom of the tank. This type of leakage is a serious issue, which is usually impossible to repair. Installation of a new water heater may be your only option.
Inlet and Outlet Connections
The two water supply lines — the inlet, which lets cold water into the tank and the outlet, which allows heated water out to flow through your home plumbing system — can sometimes loosen, causing leakage.
Tightening the connection is a simple DIY fix. If this doesn’t stop the leak on your water heater, though, the water lines may have to be replaced.
What To Do If Your Water Heater Is Leaking?
Assess the situation and take these steps when you’ve determined your hot water tank has a leak.
1. Determine Where The Leak Is Coming From
Don’t get so panicked by that puddle of water on the floor that you automatically assume your hot water heater is about to explode. Instead, check around the water heater and surrounding area and try to spot where the liquid is dripping from. It may actually be coming from another appliance nearby in your basement, such as your furnace drain line.
If you are sure that your water heater leaking is indeed the source, determine exactly which part is producing the leakage. Once you narrow it down, photograph the source to help your plumber troubleshoot the problem.
2. Turn Off The Water Supply
Go to the water inlet line located atop the heater and switch off its lever or valve. This way, you’ll control your water bill and potential water damage to your home since you won’t have the nightmare scenario of hot water leaking out the bottom of the tank while a fresh supply of water continues to be piped into the top.
3. Turn Off Gas or Power
Avoid adding to an already dangerous situation. For safety’s sake, turn off the power, whether electricity or natural gas, to your water heater. Gas should be switched off using the control dial on the side of your gas water heater. Cut the electrical current at your circuit breaker box.
4. Call Dr. HVAC
Congratulations! You’ve successfully minimized the danger of flooding and water damage in your home by turning off the water and power.
Now call a plumber at Dr HVAC for professional water heater repair. We can fix that faulty drain valve, or, discuss the need to replace the water heater to prevent a recurrence. Talk to us about tankless water heater installation to save energy and avoid future water heater leaking emergencies.