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Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

water-heater-inspectionA good water heater will last you just over 10 years. However, that time can be shortened if your water heater’s tank develops a leak. There’s no way to patch up a leak in the tank, so your only option is a complete replacement—that’s a cost that no one wants to be surprised with.

But don’t fret—leaking doesn’t always guarantee a replacement. We’ll go over the different kinds of leaks your water heater can develop, the causes of leaks, and what you can do to minimize the risks.

Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks

Before calling in for repairs or replacement, you can do a bit of investigating to find out where the leak is coming from.

Cold Water Intake and Hot Water Output Connections

These are the pipes that are connected to your water heater. If these fittings are loose, it’s not uncommon for them to leak. The leaking water can drip all the way down the sides of the tank, giving the appearance that the leak is coming from the bottom of the tank itself. They can easily be tightened with a pipe wrench.

The Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

This valve is designed specifically to discharge water if the temperature and pressure in the tank gets too hot. This is a safety measure to prevent the tank from taking damage and, in extreme cases, bursting. If these valves are frequently leaking water, it’s a sign that you might need to lower the temperature of your water heater. The manufacturer typically sets the water heater to 140°F, but we recommend lowering it to 120°F. If the problem persists, there might be something wrong with the water heater’s temperature gauge.

The Drain Valve

This valve is located near the bottom of the tank, so it would certainly give the impression that the tank itself was damaged and leaking. The washer inside the valve might need to be replaced. Although it might sound like a simple fix, it can get messy—we recommend recruiting the help of a plumber in Frisco, Texas.

The Tank Itself

We’ve saved the worst for last. If the leak isn’t coming from any valve or fitting, then there very well could be a leak in the tank. At that point, there’s nothing that can be done except to have the water heater replaced.

The way a tank leaks in the first place is often due to one of two things:

  • Sediment: “Hard water” is water that carries high concentrations of minerals—it’s especially prevalent here in Texas. As the water is heated, the minerals can separate and form a layer of sediment at the bottom of the tank. If the tank is not regularly flushed, the sediment can create pockets of hot water that burn through the tank.
  • Corrosion: Likewise, the water can also corrode the tank. Water heaters measures to defend against this, like a glass lining and the anode rod, but these things will wear down over time. Annual maintenance is crucial to ensure that the tank isn’t being subjected to corrosion.

Can’t find the source of your water heater’s leak? Contact Hutchins Plumbing & Air Conditioning today to schedule a service. Get it done right… Right now!

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