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A Water Heater Leak: What It Means and What to Do

water-heater-leak-what-to-doA plumbing leak is definitely something you don’t want to deal with in your home. However, you may very well have to deal with one eventually during the course of your homeownership. A leak coming from your Blackfoot, ID water heater can be pretty disconcerting in particular, but you needn’t worry when you have our team on your side.

Your first instinct when you discover a water heater leak may be that you need a new system altogether. However, there are instances in which a leaking water heater simply needs a new component. While a leak could be due to a corroded tank—in which case, yes, a replacement is necessary—there are alternative reasons this may occur.

A Faulty Temperature and Pressure Valve

The water heater’s temperature and pressure relief valve is tasked with relieving your water heater tank of pressure in the event that it gets too high—which can be hazardous. However, if the valve is faulty, your water heater may leak. This doesn’t typically pose a serious threat to your home, but it is important that you have the pressure relief valve replaced as soon as possible.

A Leaking Drain or Pipe

Your water heater’s drain valve is tasked with allowing you or your professional plumber to rid the water heater tank of sediment that can cause significant damage. If this drain is leaking, it might only need a cap or a replacement part.

The leak could also be coming from either the inlet or outlet pipe of your water heater, should either of them have a loose connection or corrosion. This means that you need a pipe replacement or repair, not a full water heater replacement!

Condensation

Unfortunately, condensation is typically a sign that your water heater should be replaced—but not because it’s dangerous. Condensation most often occurs when you water heater cools down and the air around it is warm. However, if you’re running out of hot water too quickly, to the point that the tank has the chance to cool down, then chances are your water heater is too small for your home’s demands.

What to Do When You Discover a Leak

No matter what the cause of your water heater leak is—and you may not be able to determine this without the assistance of a professional plumber—there are a few steps you can take to fend off any property damage or water heater tank damage until one of our professionals can take a look.

  • Cut the Power: Turn off the fuel source leading to your water heater. For a gas-powered water heater, this means finding your thermostat and switching it to either OFF or PILOT to shut off the gas. If it’s electric, then find the appropriate circuit breaker to shut off the system.
  • Shut Off the Water: Locate the cold water line that leads to your water heater—typically a valve located right on the line—and turn it to the right until it closes. This cuts off the water and allows you or your professional plumber to move onto the next step.
  • Drain Your Tank: This step may require the help of one of our professionals—if you feel uncomfortable draining your tank on your own, we are happy to assist. It requires attaching a hold to the drain valve near the bottom of your water heater and running that hose to a floor drain or sump pit. There’s a vacuum within your water heater tank, so you may find resistance to the water flow. You can resolve this by opening any hot water tap in your home.

Once your water heater is drained, your risk of property damage is lessened, and our professional plumbers can successfully work on your tank to pinpoint the cause of and resolve your water heater leak.

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