Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

January 21, 2021

If you notice leaking around your water heater, it could be a symptom of a much bigger problem. Depending on the nature of the leak, flooding may occur, which could damage floors and walls. You will have to contend with a spike in your utility bills and the expenditure of fixing the water damage. Let’s discuss some of the reasons your water heater may be leaking.

Water Inlet and Outlet Connections

The joints and connections around water fixtures are usually the biggest culprits when it comes to leakage. It’s advisable to start by checking the points around the inlet and outlet pipes that connect to the heater. Connections are usually the first to leak, long before your equipment starts developing faults.

Keep in mind that the leak can work its way down the heater. You may assume that the leak is coming from the tank. If a connection is loose, it may only require tightening with a wrench. Be sure to cut off the water supply before you check for leakage.

The T&P Relief Valve

Your water heater may leak if there is excessive pressure inside the tank. It may also leak as a result of excessive heat. When the water inside exceeds the heat and pressure rating, the temperature and pressure valve opens, releasing the water from the storage tank. If there is moisture around the valve, it is either regulating temperature, or the device is faulty.

Manufacturers usually set the default temperature of the water heater to around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the Department of Energy recommends keeping the temperature at 120 degrees or lower.

You can start by lowering the thermostat settings to determine if the issue is with the pressure and temperature valve. Turn the power back on and observe if there is still leaking. If the problem persists, you should consult plumbers from 4 Seasons Heating & Air in Alpharetta for assistance.

It is also possible that debris is clogging the T&P valve. You can flush out the blockage by opening the valve and letting the heater release the water from the discharge pipe. If your heating equipment still doesn’t work, then the valve may be defective.

Water Heater Nipples

Another part of your water heater that could be causing leakage is the nipples. You can locate them where the water supply connects with the cold water inlet pipe. The threads of the water nipples are quite thin and prone to corrosion. When they rust, they allow water to pass through and, as a result, cause leaks.

It can be challenging to spot leaks coming from the water nipples of your heater. In some states like Georgia, the code requires homeowners to install a dielectric union around the nipples. The fixture will stop the reaction between copper and galvanized pipes, which could accelerate rusting.

After ruling out leaks in the inlet and outlet pipes, you can tell if the nipples are faulty. The heater nipples are usually the other most common reason for a leak. Professionals from 4 Seasons Heating & Air can troubleshoot this problem and correct it.

Water Pressure Issues

According to Georgia regulations, your water pressure should be 80 PSI. When the pressure rises above that point, it can cause problems with your equipment in several ways.

First, the T&P valve may release water to allow excess pressure to escape from your heater. Second, high pressure can damage your fixtures and cause clogging elsewhere in your pipes. The clogging may eventually force the heater to malfunction. High pressure can also limit the flow of water through the piping.

If you have high water pressure above 100 PSI, the local code recommends installing a pressure reducing valve. We also recommend regular maintenance of your equipment to minimize incidences of equipment failure.

Faulty Drain Valve

You can find the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater tank. The purpose of this valve is to drain water during maintenance work. The tank has to be flushed routinely to prevent sediment buildup, which is often the reason behind a water heater’s inefficiency.

First, check that the valve is completely closed. Then, examine it and confirm if there are any signs of moisture. The valve has a watertight design, so if you notice signs of dampness, the device could be faulty.

If there are signs of leaking, it is probably due to clogging or faults within the valve. You can open the valve by turning it counterclockwise. The water running out should flush out the debris clogging it.

If opening the valve doesn’t solve the problem, it could be defective. You can call our experienced professionals in Alpharetta to check and replace defective components.

Problems With the Internal Tank

If you notice water leaking from the bottom, its origin could be from within the tank. Water heaters have a storage unit that has two layers. The inner layer has insulation to maintain the temperature of the water. The outer part protects the internal tank from damage.

Age and deterioration are some of the reasons there could be an internal leak. Due to its structure, you may not realize that water is leaking from within. However, unlike other fixture leaks that only drip, it can cause considerable flooding in your home.

Keep in mind that the water can actually be dripping from the top but appear to be dripping from the bottom. However, if you’ve eliminated other factors, it is most likely an issue with the internal tank. In such cases, it cannot be repaired and will require a replacement.

Differentiate Between Condensation and Leakage

It is not unusual for condensation to build up around the flue and the exhaust in gas water heaters. Condensation is where vapor turns into a liquid when temperatures fall below the dew point.

Because the incoming water is cold, it can lower the temperature around the pipes, causing condensation. In a typical home, a water heater can produce one or two liters of water every hour it is running. Since modern heaters are more efficient than older models, they produce more condensation. The flue and exhaust are cooler and closer to the dew point. Condensation is usually harmless, but you should rule out leakage when you spot moisture.

One way you can rule out leakage is to wipe off the water from around the heater. Set your thermostat to the pilot position and wait for eight hours. Once the temperature has risen for the entire tank, there should be no condensation. If there is moisture, then it is most probably a leak.

When to Seek Repairs

Again, always watch out for signs of a leaking heater. Any leakage could be a symptom of a more severe problem, and seeking repairs without delay could save your equipment.

It is also advisable to schedule routine maintenance of your water heater. Not only does it help extend the longevity of your equipment, but it ensures you keep your warranty in force. A manufacturer could void the contract if the heater is tampered with by an inexperienced person.

You can rely on 4 Seasons Heating & Air‘s trained experts to install, maintain, and repair water heaters in Alpharetta. Our team has experience with AO Smith models as well as other brands of equipment, and we service both gas and electric units. Besides that, we perform heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance. You can also count on us for duct cleaning and care, indoor air quality services, and whole-house humidification and dehumidification equipment.

For quality water heater solutions in Alpharetta, call 4 Seasons Heating & Air today.

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