We know that any problem with your hot water heater is a frustrating hassle – especially an unidentified leak. How can you tell if it’s serious? When should you call a plumber? How much is it going to cost? Fortunately, Gotelli Plumbing is here for you.
As far as leaks go, even though they are a pain to confront, a leak from the top of your water heater is by far the best scenario you could ask for. Leaks from the top of your system are almost always repairable – especially if caught in a timely manner!
However, these types of leaks must be addressed or they can cause serious damage and become a much larger problem. If you suspect you have a leaking water heater, avoid the electrical and water damage that can occur – contact a plumber.
How Do I Know My Water Heater Is Actually Leaking?
While some people might feel it’s obvious when their water heater is leaking, there are a couple of common culprits that are often mistaken for leaks. If you have a gas water heater, it’s possible for rain to travel down the vent pipe in a storm and collect on top of your water heater. It’s also common for water heaters to produce some condensation. Sometimes an overworked system might produce more condensation than normal, mimicking the signs of a leak from the top.
Simply dry off the areas in question and return later to see if the water has returned. If it is dry, no worries. If water has collected again, you probably have a leak.
How Do I Stop The Leak?
To stop leaking water you must first find the source of the leak. You should always turn off your water heater before searching it for leaks. Gas water heaters should have a dial or switch on them to turn off. Electric water heaters can be turned off by switching off the circuit breaker on your electrical panel.
Once the system is off, find the cold water inlet. Leaving the cold water inlet on will allow you to see where the water is leaking. Dry off the top of the water heater where the inlet connects with the tank. If you are unable to see water leaking out anywhere, press a paper towel down and see where the water soaks it. You can also check the pipes and seals for the source of the leak.
Turn the cold water inlet off once you’ve located where the leak is. This will keep the water from continuing to leak out and cause damage while you attempt to fix it or call a plumbing service.
What Causes A Water Heater Leak?
There are multiple reasons your water heater could be leaking. Here are some of the most common causes of water heater leaks from the top:
- Cold Water Inlet Valve – The inlet and outlet pipes are often sources of leaks. Simply check this valve for any leakage of the water running through it. If it is dripping, try tightening the connection. If it’s still dripping you might need to replace the valve altogether.
- Loose/Corroded Pipe Fittings – The fittings on the inlet/outlets are called dielectric nipples. They are made to connect two dissimilar metals and can become loose or corroded. If these fittings are leaking, try to tighten them. Pay attention to their quality as well. If they look rusty or deteriorated, you might need to replace them. Rusted pipe fittings could also indicate tank rust as well, so keep a watchful eye out.
- Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve – This valve’s purpose is to control the temperature and pressure and can be located on top of your tank. If you notice water leaking from the threads of this valve, it is a good idea to replace it all together. The valve is there to ensure the safety of your tank, so it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to their function.
If you have any more questions about your water heater health, contact Gotelli Plumbing. We’re the best Marin County water heater repair team to trust with your hot water. We have decades of experience and are ready to help!