A step by step guide repair guide
When it comes to leakage in a water heater one will find the problem at the top, the T & P valve, or the bottom. If there are leaks elsewhere then the unit must be replaced. Whereas any leak is unfortunate for the owner, a leak from the top is less of a problem than one from the bottom. Yet, one should carefully inspect the water heater to ensure that only a leak is the problem and not a more severe issue. Should you be unsure of the problem contact a licensed plumber. Water problems are a part of home ownership. Over time one’s water heater is sure to need maintenance and repair. One of the most common problems for a water heater to develop is leakage. The symptoms of a leaky water faucet are generally easy to spot. First, if the duration of hot water drops from day to day or very dramatically, the odds are that there is a leak somewhere (if not with the water heater than with a pipe). Secondly, if there is water discoloration, there is a high chance that one’s water heater is leaking or about to start leaking. One should also consider the warranty and estimated the lifespan of the unit. If the age is approaching that date, one should visually inspect the unit for any leakage.
- Common wear and tear have caused loose fittings – Upon inspecting the unit, ensure that anything connecting to the top of the water heater is securely tightened. The main locations for top leaks are for the most part found around the water inlet area. A sure indicator would be a small accumulation of water around the joints that connect the pipes and fittings to the main unit. If there are any loose nuts and bolts one can easily tighten these down with the appropriate wrench. However, if one finds a leak from an already tightened nut or bolt, then he or she needs to ensure that the threads are not stripped. If the pipe is damaged then a professional plumber would need to do the repairs to avoid mistakes in the repair and future damage to the unit.
- The more serious problem – When there is a small amount of water on the side of the water heater, then the problem could be in the temperature and pressure relief valve. Follow the stream of water on the side of the tank to ensure that is actually coming from the side T&P valve and not overflow from a top leak. Should there be any water around the seam of the valve the further analysis will be needed to determine if the unit can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced. First, ensure that the water level is below the level of the valve. For obvious reasons, one would not want to take the valve off prior to doing so. It is not necessary to remove all the water from the tank, however, just enough to be lower than the hole from where the valve fits. Upon removing the T & P valve carefully inspect the part for any signs of rust or corrosion to the part. If there is any corrosion to be found then at best you will need to find a replacement T & P. However, in most cases where there is rust or corrosion on this part a new water heater will need to be installed. If there is no rust or corrosion on the valve then the most plausible answer is that the part is insecure to the tank in some way. Return the valve after adding tape to the threads to help prevent leakage.
- If you see water under the tank – The most common place to see the water is on the floor around or under the water heater. Where this is an area of concern, the problem may be fixable. Upon noticing water buildup ensure that there is no water within the drain pipe leading from the T&P valve. If there is any moisture or if you spot dripping from the pipe, the odds are that the T&P valve will need to be replaced. If you have already checked the valve and it appears to be running correctly ensure that the drain valve is secured and working. If malfunctioning a quick solution (though you are advised to seek a plumber for full repair) is to attach a brass bearing hose to the area for the drain valve.
- Sediment is a death sentence for water heaters – If you have checked the top of the tank, as well as the side for issues with the temperature and pressure release valve and there, are no issues then it is time to drain the tank. However, before you do this look at the base of the tank to see if there are any visible cracks or holes. If so then you need to go any further. It is advised that if you still do not see any issues that you call a plumber. However, you can inspect for sediment issues if you are confident enough. If when you drain the tank you find a great deal of sediment, then there is a major problem and the tank will need to be replaced.