“Why is my water heater leaking?” A dreaded question for homeowners everywhere. A leaky water heater means no hot water, which should go without saying is an extreme headache. If you noticed a puddle near your water heater, here are some of the most common culprits for it.
Over time, your heater will start to collect sediment at the bottom of the tank. Nothing too harmful to the water quality, but it’s not necessarily something you want to have there. Regular cleanings will prevent this from happening, but without these scheduled scrubs, the sediment will continue to build up over time. Eventually this material starts to eat away at the base of the tank and cause small cracks that lead to leaks.
Water heaters aren’t what people normally think about when they think about the concept of water pressure, but it still applies as it does with any other plumbing fixture. In water heaters it’s mostly due to steam created by the hot water. The steam occupies the empty space within the tank, creating pressure against the metal. The more steam, the more pressure, and the less room for the steam to move. Eventually the pressure will push the water out of the heater creating a leak. Be sure to lower the temperature on your heater to avoid excess amounts of steam within the tank.
Cracked Storage Tank
Some homeowners want to expand the amount of water their heater can hold, but don’t want to go in for a full-blown water heater replacement. So they opt into a storage tank: basically a smaller tank attached to your water heater to increase the amount of water it’s able to handle at a given time. These storage tanks are great accessories for homeowners who’ve recently expanded their household and need more hot water quickly, but because they incorporate glass into their design, they’re a lot more prone to damage over a shorter period of time. They’re a lot more prone to cracks and wear and tear than the main tanks they’re attached to, so they make people ask “Why is my water heater leaking?” quite a lot. They usually require a full replacement of the storage tank.
These are basically the routes through which water enters and leaves your water heater. Over time, it’s extremely common for these connections to loosen and be a little leaky. In fact, it’s just about the only thing that can feasibly go wrong with these components. A plumber will be able to tighten the connections up and stop any leaking from these areas.
Corroded Anode Rod
Water can be filled with a lot of corrosive materials that would wear down your water heater over time. That’s why heaters are equipped with anode rods; small, easily replaceable pieces of metal that act as a magnet for these harmful materials that would rust out and corrode your tank from the inside out. Because these rods do so much work attracting corroding chemicals, they themselves break down and corrode over time. When they break down enough, water is able to leak down through the space they once occupied. Luckily, anode rod replacements are among the easiest water heater fixes out there and you won’t have this type of leak long.
Old, Broken Down Tanks
From cars, to appliances, to even our own bodies, the older things get, the more prone to issues they become. Water heaters are no different. Sometimes your tank is just past its best by date and has started to rust and corrode with age. Maybe, in addition to the leaks, you’re noticing the water just isn’t as hot as it used to be. In this instance, the best thing to do is just replace the whole water heater with a newer model, rather than dumping money on repairs on a fixture that’s already on it’s way out.