In the US, 10,000 gallons of water are lost due to leaks. In addition, 10% of homes in the US experience plumbing problems resulting in the loss of 32,000 gallons of water yearly. Annoying leaks not only waste hot water but can also cause damage to your flooring and home, costing you more money in repairs. You need a leak-free water heater that provides instant hot water so you can save time, energy, and money.

When your pipes are aging, it’s prudent to have them checked for leaks by a good plumbing company in Portland, Oregon. Read to learn what to do when your water heater leaks.

Cut Power

If you notice water leaking from your water heater, you must immediately turn off the power supply. Not only can this help prevent electrocution, but it will also prevent further damage to the device.

Turn off the gas valve near the tank if your water heater is gas and at the breaker box if your water heater is electric. Ensure all electronics are completely unplugged before this step—you don’t want to risk getting shocked!

If you’re unsure where the power source is located, consult a professional who can help identify and cut off the proper wires. 

Shut Water Supply

Turn off the main valve that connects to the house or turn off the individual valves leading up to each faucet in your home.

Drain Water Tank

Drain all the water out of them by finding a drain valve and attaching a garden hose. Then, inspect all the fittings on top of the tank and ensure they are fully tightened. If there is still no leak, you may want to check for signs of corrosion under those fittings. 

If rust or corrosion occurs, ensure the anode rod in your tank is checked annually and replaced if necessary to prevent future rust damage. In addition to reducing corrosion, the anode rod protects the water tank from rust.

Determine Leak Location

If there is leakage, determine where the leak is coming from.

  • Check the water heater bottom. There is a leak if you see water pooling around the water heater. 
  • The drain valve is located at the bottom of your tank. This valve lets out any extra water that builds up in your tank. A corroded or damaged drain valve can cause a small pool of standing water around your tank. The drain valve may need to be replaced if it has been damaged by corrosion or rust.
  • Check the inlet and outlet pipes to ensure they are not cracked or damaged. If they are, you will need to replace them before proceeding with other repairs.
  • If those pipes are fine, you must check the pressure relief valve (PRV) on top of your tank. This valve releases pressure if there is too much inside the tank so that it may leak due to excess pressure building up inside the tank. You can test this by removing the PRV and filling it with water; if it leaks when you turn on the faucet at full blast, it needs replacing.
  • Check thermostat settings. If you have set the temperature too high, above 140 degrees, it could be causing excess pressure in your tank and causing it to leak. If the temperature setting is below 140 degrees and there is a leakage, the problem could be the valve.
  • Check water pressure. At the hose bib outside your house, you can use a pressure gauge to check the pressure. A pressure-reducing valve is strongly recommended if the inbound water pressure exceeds 100 PSI per code. Besides causing a leak,  water pressure can damage fixtures as well.

Call a Plumber

If you’ve already turned off the power, shut off the water, looked for possible leaks, and drained the tank, there are two options: hire a professional or try doing it yourself. If you choose to hire a professional, You can find plumbers online or through references. 

If you have any problems with your plumbing, getting help sooner is better to avoid spending more money on repairs or replacements.

The sooner you know there is a leak, the better. If you do not fix it immediately, sediment can build up in the tank and deposit on the heating element. The element will eventually be replaced, and your water heater must be replaced at great expense. Water leaks are one small part of large home repairs such as remodels, additions, and new construction. The good news is that your water heater can last 8 to 10 years or longer if you take care of it properly.

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