A leaking water heater is a serious concern for homeowners, as it can increase your utility bills and cause significant water damage to your home. The good news is at Westerville Plumbing & Drain, we will help you understand why your water heater may be leaking and the solutions available. 

Before we begin, please remember to turn off your unit before starting any troubleshooting. Your safety is our priority! 

Possible Cause Number 1: Unsteady Cold or Hot Water Inlet and Outlet Connection  

A common cause of water heater leaks is an insecure connection on the cold or hot water inlet and outlet pipes. These connections can become loose due to temperature changes and regular use. When these connections aren’t secure, leaks can occur, leading to a small puddle around the heater base or a slow drip from the pipes. 

To check if these connections are the problem, inspect the top of your water heater. If you see water around them, they might be the culprits. Try tightening them with a wrench, but be careful not to overtighten them and cause more damage. 

Possible Cause Number 2: Failing Pressure Relief Valve   

Another possible issue is a faulty pressure relief valve meant to release excess pressure in the tank. If it malfunctions, it can cause water leakage. A malfunctioning valve can be dangerous because it may indicate the tank is under too much pressure, which could lead to a burst. 

To check if this valve is problematic, gently lift the lever. If water comes out, the valve is working. However, if it keeps leaking after you release it, you might need to replace it.  

Possible Cause Number 3: An Erratic or Loose Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve   

The temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve, like the pressure relief valve, can cause water heater leaks if it’s defective or loose. A leaking T&P valve may indicate that the water temperature is too high, or the tank pressure is too high. Both situations are potentially dangerous and require immediate attention. 

If you think the T&P valve is the problem, check for water around it. If it’s wet, you might need to replace it. 

Possible Cause Number 4: A Dripping Inlet Valve   

If the inlet valve, which directs cold water into the water heater, is damaged or not sealed properly, it could also cause leaks. This often leads to water pooling around the base of the heater. You might see a steady drip or a small stream of water coming from the valve area. 

To address this issue, check the inlet valve for damage or wear. You may need to tighten or replace it. 

When You Should Seek the Assistance of a Professional Plumber:  

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps we mentioned and your water heater still leaks, it’s best to call a professional plumber. Some problems can be too complex or risky for DIY repairs. Keep in mind that a plumber can accurately identify the issue and offer a lasting solution, whether it’s replacing parts or recommending a new water heater. 

Ignoring a dripping water heater can cause significant stress and damage if not promptly fixed. Knowing the common causes and following troubleshooting steps can help you identify and solve many issues on your own. However, if the problem continues, contact us. Keeping your water heater in good working order prevents serious complications later. Being proactive is key! 

Our expert team is always ready to help you keep your home safe and comfortable. Call Westerville Plumbing & Drain today at (614) 540-3437, or schedule an appointment online now by clicking here!