Preventing Damage: How to Handle a Leaking Water Heater at Home

Greetings, homeowners of Gilbert and Mesa, Arizona! A leaking water heater can quickly escalate from a minor inconvenience to a major disaster if not handled promptly. As your trusted local plumber, we understand the importance of early intervention and quick action when it comes to plumbing issues. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the steps to handle a leaking water heater at home, preventing further damage and ensuring your peace of mind.

Identify the Source of the Leak

The first step is to determine the source of the leak. Water heaters can leak from various locations, each requiring different responses.

  • T&P Valve: Check the temperature and pressure relief (T&P) valve. It’s designed to release excess pressure, but if it’s faulty or improperly installed, it can cause a leak.
  • Drain Valve: The drain valve, located near the bottom of the water heater, is used to flush out sediment. If this valve is loose or damaged, it can cause a leak.
  • Tank: A leak in the tank itself can be a more serious issue and may require professional intervention. Rust or corrosion on the tank can lead to leaks and may indicate a need for replacement.

Turn Off the Power and Water Supply

When you’ve found the source of the leak, it’s crucial to turn off the power supply and water flow to the water heater.

  • Electric Water Heater: Switch off the circuit breaker dedicated to the water heater.
  • Gas Water Heater: Turn off the gas supply by closing the gas valve.
  • Water Supply: Find the cold water supply valve, most often located close to the top of the water heater, and shut it off.

Drain the Water Heater

To prevent further leaks and potential damage, drain the water heater of any remaining water. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and direct the water to a safe location.

Exercise caution: The water inside the heater can be scalding hot, so handle with care and ensure you’re wearing appropriate protection.

Addressing the Leak

The steps to address the leak depend on the location and severity of the issue.

  • T&P Valve Leak: If the T&P valve is leaking, it may be due to excess pressure. Check the pressure reading on the pressure relief valve and release some water to lower the pressure. If the valve continues to leak, it might need replacement.
  • Drain Valve Leak: If the drain valve is the culprit, try tightening it with a wrench. If that doesn’t stop the leak, it may need replacement.
  • Tank Leak: If the tank itself is leaking, it’s best to call a professional plumber immediately. A leaking tank often requires a water heater replacement.
  • Consult a Professional Plumber: For complex issues or if you’re uncertain about how to handle the leak, it’s always best to seek the expertise of a licensed plumber. A professional can accurately diagnose the problem and provide appropriate solutions.

Handling a leaking water heater at home requires swift action and a careful approach. By identifying the source of the leak, shutting off power and water supply, draining the heater, and addressing the issue appropriately, you can prevent further damage and ensure the safety of your home. Remember, Phend Plumbing is always ready to assist. If you encounter a leaking water heater that’s beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to call us at 480-388-6093. Let’s work together to keep your home safe and plumbing in top-notch condition!