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5 Reasons Why Your Water Heater Leaking?

Water Heater Leaking

Water leaks can cause extensive structural damage, flowing into the walls and flooring in your home. One of the most common sources of leaks is the water heater. Issues such as an old tank, damaged drain valve, high water pressure, and sediment buildup can cause the water heater to leak or damage the base where water can flow out. 

It is important to monitor your water heater and identify any possible leaks around the base or floor. You can also schedule a professional water leak detection service from a reputable plumbing company in Sterling, Virginia. Catching water heater overflow or leaks as they occur can minimize damage to your home and save you hundreds of dollars in structural repairs.

1. Old Water Heater

How long should a water heater last?

  • A traditional water heater lasts an average of eight to 12 years.
  • A tankless water heater can last up to 20 years.

Once a water heater reaches its life expectancy, you can expect to schedule water heater repair more often. As the tank ages, the parts wear out. The tank may have tiny cracks, or the pipes may have loose connections. You may have to replace some parts. The inside of the unit may also have corrosion. Regardless of the issue, an old water heater will show wear. 

If you move into an older home, you should check the age of the water heater. You may even want to schedule a water heater inspection to see if you need to address any issues. Doing so may prevent water heater leaks. 

2. Loose Drain Valve

Water heater drain valves drain the hot water from the tank to remove built-up sediment. They are typically at the bottom of the tank, which allows the water to drain effortlessly. If you notice dripping or a small stream of water coming from the valve, it signifies that it is either damaged or old and needs repair. There are two main issues with loose drain valves.

  1. Worn-out plastic – Some hot water tank drain valves consist of plastic. Over the years, plastic has become brittle. When the valve empties the drain tank, the plastic can crack and allow water to leak out of the tank.
  2. Failing gasket – Plastic drain valves also use a gasket. Since the rubber gasket will deteriorate over time, losing its seal in the valve. You may notice water slowly trickling from the drain valve gasket.

3. Excessive Water Pressure

Normal water pressure inside a water heater is 50 to 100 PSI. Your unit contains a water pressure valve to ensure the water heater maintains the right pressure. The valve relieves excess pressure in the water heater tank. Doing so prevents excess pressure buildup that can cause a tank to burst, leading to a massive water leak. 

There are three main causes of excessive water pressure.

  1. Valve adjustment – If you shut the valve too tight, water pressure will build in the tank. The tank can withstand a certain amount of pressure. However, it will burst if the pressure from the hot water gets too high.
  2. Faulty valve – The water pressure valve may be stuck or damaged. Although it is possible to repair a valve, your best option is to replace it if it’s old or heavily damaged. A valve replacement is affordable and simple.
  3. Hot Water – Experts recommend maintaining a hot water temperature of 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water is too hot, it will create water pressure inside the tank, causing it to burst. Inspect your water temperature and lower it if it is above 140 degrees.

4. Loose Inlet or Outlet Connection

Most water heater leaks occur around the base’s bottom of the unit. However, leaks can occur at the top of the tank around the inlet or outlet. Inspect the heater and look for water leaks in one of these three areas.

  1. Fittings – You may notice that water leaks when the inlet or outlet fittings meet the water heater. The fittings may be loose and require tightening using a wrench. They may also have corrosion. If so, they’ll need a replacement.
  2. Faulty Valve – By now, you’ve probably noticed that your water heater has a lot of water valves that control different functions of the tank. The inlet and outlet pipes also have valves that control water flow. The valves may be leaking.
  3. Pressure Relief Valve – The pressure relief valve may be on top of the water heater instead of the bottom. Check the pressure relief valve to see any loose connections or leaks.

5. Damaged Or Old Water Heater Tank

Standard water heaters contain two shells. The external shell provides insulation for the internal shell, which holds the water. A final layer of metal covers both shells. Water heater leaks in the internal shell are difficult to spot but occur because of age and deterioration. You don’t see this type of leak outside the tank. 

Some water heaters have an additional tank to expand the amount of water they hold. These tanks sometimes use glass to line the tank. Over time, minerals collect and calcify on the glass. It causes the glass to crack and leak water. Additionally, when the water becomes hot, it expands, which puts stress on the glass and causes small cracks. Replacements are necessary in both cases. 

Schedule Water Heater Repair in Sterling, Virginia

Don’t let a bad water heater keep you from getting hot water. Contact Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air for complete water heater repair in Sterling, Virginia. We can perform a full assessment of your home to find and fix any problems. To schedule water heater services in Sterling, Virginia, fill out our contact form or call us.

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