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What Causes Water to Leak from my Water Heater?

Most people, if they find that their water heater is leaking assume the worst and believe that their hot water tank must be replaced. Fortunately, that is not normally the case. It is important however to deal with the leak as quickly as possible so that water does not damage your floors, walls, and possessions.

There are several things that might cause a water heater to leak. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common reasons.

1. Water supply lines are leaking

It might not be your hot water tank at all! Check the plumbing lines above your heater first. Sometimes a leak here can drip onto the top of your tank and make it appear as though that is where the leak is coming from. If necessary, step up on a ladder and remove any insulation surrounding the lines to inspect the water supply lines leading to the tank.

If you have some basic plumbing knowledge, you may be able to replace the tubes yourself however always make sure that the hot water has been turned off.

2. Water heater nipples are leaking

If you find water on top of your hot water tank and have determined that the supply lines are not the issue, then it could be the water heater nipples that are leaking. This is a common place to find leaks because the threads on the nipples are quite thin. Removing the nipples to replace them with new ones can be a challenging task and will require a pipe wrench.

As with the first scenario, ensure that the hot water has been turned off before attempting a repair.

3. Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve is leaking

Another common culprit for a leaky water heater is the temperature and pressure (T and P) relief valve. This can be a more serious issue because the T and P valve will not usually leak unless there is another problem. The leaking of this valve could indicate a problem with the pressure regulator but to be sure it is best to call a professional plumber.

4. There is a leak at the drain line

If the leak is occurring at the bottom of the water heater, it might be because the drain valve is not closing properly after the draining of the tank. In order to solve this problem, you can use a hose cap to cap the valve, or you can replace the valve with a new one. Just make sure that you turn off the water and drain down the tank first.

5. There is a leak inside the tank

This is the worst-case scenario. If the leak isn’t being caused by any of the reasons above, then chances are that the leak is coming from the tank itself. If this is the case, then the water heater will have to be replaced.

If you require help with a leaky water heater or any other plumbing issue, contact A. McKenna Plumbing today. A member of our team will be happy to assist you.