A water heater leak is a potential problem that homeowners in Shreveport, LA, may not consider until the problem becomes pronounced. Water heaters are typically located in parts of the home that homeowners don’t frequently see. It is easy to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap. When it becomes painfully obvious that something is wrong with the water heater, serious damage may have been done to the home. Thankfully, there are steps homeowners can take to determine if their water heater is leaking.
How to Know If Your Water Heater Is Leaking
If you hear sounds of dripping water or notice water pooling near your water heater, there is likely a leak. Water leaks can emanate from the drain valve, pressure relief valve, or the water heater’s base.
Leaks Forming at the Base
When a water heater starts to leak at the base, it is usually a slow drip. It won’t immediately flood your basement. However, you should be looking for mysterious puddles of water around the basement, especially around the water heater’s base. If there is a ring of water present at the base or its surrounding areas, it’s an indication that the inner tank of the water heater leaks. This is a sign that your water heater is ending its serviceable life and will likely need to be replaced soon. Don’t ignore the problem by simply mopping up the water when it appears. Eventually, the leak will get to the point where it could flood your home, causing serious damage.
Leaks From the Pressure Relief Valve
Your water heater is under high heat and high pressure. The temperature release (TPR) valve protects your home and its occupants from heat and pressure. This valve is typically located on the side or top of your water heater. The valve works by releasing water if the heater becomes too pressurized. Heated water expands. Without this valve, your water heater would eventually explode if pressure were to continue building.
When the TPR valve leaks, it is usually better to have a professional replace it rather than try to repair it. However, if the leak continues after replacing the TPR valve, it is likely a separate issue. Your TPR valve could be leaking because there is too much pressure building up in your water heater, putting the piping under stress. A technician may opt to install a bladder tank or expansion tank to allow more room for the heated water to expand. In some areas, an expansion tank is required by code.
Leaks From the Drain Valve
A drain valve leak could indicate that your water heater is nearing the end of its lifecycle. It could also indicate that the drain valve needs to be replaced. Drain valve leaks are typically slow. However, they should not be ignored. If your drain valve fails completely, the stored water in your tank will flood your basement.
The drain valve is used to drain hot water from the tank, which is a maintenance task performed to remove sediment buildup. Drain valves leak because of worn-out plastic parts. Over the years, plastic exposed to heat can become brittle, causing the plastic to crack. Plastic drain valves also have rubber gaskets that can break down over time.
Usually, the most reliable fix for a leaking drain valve is to have a professional replace it. While the repair may seem simple, replacing the hot water drain valve has the potential to flood your basement and scald you. That’s why it’s best to trust the job to plumbers.
Predicting Water Heater Leaks
When it comes to water heater leaks, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Unless there is a major impact causing a huge hole in your water heater tank, chances are you will not notice the leak immediately. For this reason, it’s good to inspect your water heater now and then to ensure everything is functioning as it should. Thankfully, you don’t need to constantly inspect your water heater to find out if it has a leak. Other symptoms of a broken water heater indicate that a leak has formed or is about to form.
Changes in Water Quality
Most people opt to take a hot shower in the morning and despise the feeling of cold or lukewarm water in the shower. If you have a water heater leak or if your water heater is starting to break down, you may notice that the water coming out of the heater is lukewarm instead of hot. If this happens a couple of times, you might shrug it off, thinking it’s because the morning is colder than usual or due to some other anomaly. But it could be a good indicator that your water heater is failing.
Holes in your water heater can be caused by oxidation. If the water coming out of your faucets or shower has rust particles in it, or if the clothes you are washing suddenly have rust marks, it’s an indication that rust is accumulating inside your water heater. Your water heater may not be leaking yet, but it will likely leak shortly.
The Appearance of the Water Heater
Even if you do not detect rust in the water, know that your water heater could have some problems in the future if the exterior of the water heater has started to accumulate rust. Rust anywhere on the tank is a good indication that there is a leak somewhere. It’s also good to evaluate the burner units for rust. This can be another indication of an existing or potential leak.
A Noisy Water Heater
Sediment is going to build up in your water heater. If proper maintenance is not done, that sediment could harden, eventually damaging the water heater’s interior. When there is a large collection of hardened sediment, your water heater can start making noise, indicating an issue. This could be a precursor to a leak.
What to Do When There Is a Leak
If you see water accumulating in an area, clean it up and return the next day to see if more water is there. This will help you verify whether there is a leak. Once you’ve determined that there is a leak, turn off your water heater and drain the tank.
Next, contact the professional plumbers at Bobby L. Greene Plumbing & Heating Co.. It’s tempting to want to try to fix a water heater leak yourself, but a lack of experience and proper tools could lead to making a small repairable issue worse. Our professionals can evaluate your tank and determine if it is an issue that can be repaired or if the leak and damage warrant a replacement water heater. We can also discuss with you water heater maintenance options.
Working With Experienced Plumbers in Shreveport, LA
At Bobby L. Greene Plumbing & Heating Co., our licensed plumbing contractors have an extensive history of providing efficient customer service. We are dedicated to ensuring that the plumbing in your home works as efficiently as possible when you need it the most. We are proud to maintain an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. For more than six decades, we have been providing plumbing services to our customers, and we are committed to building long-term valuable relationships.
Our services include hydro jetting, backflow prevention, leak detection, silver lining, and kitchen remodels. We work on garbage disposals, bathrooms, and water heaters. We proudly offer emergency HVAC maintenance and repair and address air quality or flow issues. Contact Bobby L. Greene Plumbing & Heating Co. today to see for yourself how we have been able to build relationships with customers that last for decades.