leaking home water heater Blog

How to Handle a Leaking Home Water Heater

During the cold Utah winter, there are few home components as important as the water heater. In charge of providing hot water to areas throughout your home, the hot water heater supplies everything from showers and baths to dishwashers, laundry machines, sinks and numerous other potential areas.

At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air, we’re here to offer a variety of water heater services among our plumbing repair solutions, including both water heater repair and installation of modern tankless water heaters for homeowners who desire them. One of the most common issues homeowners have with their water heaters is a leak that’s taken place – here are some possible causes of these leaks, immediate steps to take if you find one, plus how our team can help.

Possible Causes of Water Heater Leaks

There are several potential causes of leaks coming from the hot water heater:

  • Corrosion: Over time, sediment may build up in water heater tanks. This sediment can lead to corrosion, cracking and small holes developing in the bottom of the tank, usually necessitating replacement.
  • Drain valve issues: If drain valves have broken or come off, they must be replaced to stop leaks.
  • Temperature or pressure valve issues: These are valves that deal with the temperature and pressure inside the water heater, but they can cause leaks outside it on the sides if they break.
  • Loose connections: Strain over a period of years can loosen either the inlet or outlet water lines, leading to leaks. In most cases, tightening or replacing these lines will remedy the issue.

Steps to Take

If you discover a leak coming from your water heater, it’s vital to take steps to stop the flow of water temporarily while you wait for our plumbers to arrive. Take the following precautions:

  • Power off: First, you need to turn off the energy source leading to the water heater. If your home uses a gas water heater, find the thermostat and switch it to OFF or PILOT to turn the gas off. If you use an electric water heater, go to your electrical breaker panel and find the breaker for the water heater, then turn it off to cut power.
  • Water off: Next, find the cold water line that leads to your water heater, plus the valve located on it. Turn this valve to the right until it closes, blocking water from entering.
  • Draining: For homes with a standard water heater tank, it’s vital to drain this tank. Find the drain valve near the bottom of the heater and attach a hose to it, running the hose to a floor drain or sump pit. Open the valve to drain, plus turn on another hot water faucet in your home to break the vacuum and allow water to flow out of the tank. Draining should take about an hour.

Professional Service

The process above should be completed after you’ve already notified our team and set up an appointment. When we arrive, we’ll diagnose the source of the leak and recommend the proper solution, whether that’s a simple repair or an upgrade to a newer water heater, such as an efficient tankless option.

For more on water heater leaks, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services, speak to the staff at Monkey Wrench Plumbing, Heating & Air today.