When you think about water heater problems, your mind probably immediately goes to cold showers and freezing-cold tap water. However, there are many other issues to keep an eye out for — including a leaky water heater tank.

Leaks can happen at the top or bottom of the tank, which means there are several potential reasons why you might be experiencing this issue. So, why is your water heater leaking?

We’ll go over what causes a water heater to leak in more detail below.

What Causes a Water Heater to Leak?

If you’ve recently spotted water pooling around your water heater tank, it’s understandable if you’re feeling concerned or frustrated. The presence of water suggests a much bigger problem is at hand and will either require a repair or replacement.

Fortunately, finding out why your water heater tank is leaking doesn’t have to be a drawn-out process. Let’s discuss the potential reasons this issue is occurring so you can get to the bottom of it once and for all.

Old Age & Corrosion

Every appliance and system inside your home will eventually kick the bucket — including your water heater. As your water heater ages, it can experience regular wear and tear or corrosion that can ultimately lead to cracks and leaks.

However, it’s important to recognize that old age isn’t the only factor that can cause a hot water tank to become damaged. If sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank, this can result in many problems, such as higher energy bills, insufficient hot water, and cracks forming.

If you’re wondering why your water heater is leaking, there’s a good chance that wear and tear or corrosion is to blame. In some cases, routine water heater maintenance can help extend the life of your unit and ensure everything is running smoothly for many years. However, it’s also possible that your water heater has simply reached the end of its service life. In any case, you’ll need to schedule a replacement.

Dangerous Amount of Pressure

It’s normal for pressure to build up inside a water heater tank. However, it’s also possible for this pressure to build up to an extreme, potentially dangerous level. Excessive pressure is cause for concern, as it can lead to the tank exploding.

If your water heater detects excessive water pressure, it will release this pressure via the pressure relief valve (or T&P valve, as it’s sometimes called). When the pressure builds up, this valve will release a small amount of water or steam to bring the pressure back down to a normal level.

As you can see, there’s a chance that the “leak” you’re experiencing is simply just the pressure relief valve doing its job. This valve is an important safety feature that should be tested regularly to ensure that it’s working properly.

Pressure Relief Valve Problems

It’s also important to mention that a faulty pressure relief valve can be what causes a water heater to leak. This valve’s main function is to release water or steam when the pressure inside the tank gets too high, but if it becomes faulty or breaks, water can leak out even when the pressure is at a normal level.

You can have a professional plumber replace the damaged T&P valve. Although you might be tempted to handle the replacement yourself, contacting an experienced technician for the job will ensure that the component is installed correctly and safely.

Worn Drain Valve

Have you ruled out a faulty pressure relief valve as the cause of the leak? If so, you might want to check the drain valve next. There’s a chance that a loose or worn drain valve is why your water heater is leaking.

When a professional plumber flushes your water heater tank, they drain out all the water via the drain valve. While this valve comes in handy during routine maintenance tasks, it can experience problems just like every other part.

If the drain valve has become loose, it can usually be re-tightened or fixed with a quick repair. However, you may need to replace the valve depending on the situation. Your local plumbing expert can assess the situation and provide you with the best solution.

Loose Inlet & Outlet Connections

If you have a traditional water heater, then you might know that water enters the tank through an inlet connection. Once the water is heated and ready to be sent out into your home, it leaves the tank through an outlet connection.

If either of these pipes connected to your tank becomes loose, this can be what causes a water heater to leak. Check to see if the leak is coming from the top of the tank. If so, there’s a possibility that you’re dealing with loose inlet and outlet connections.

Is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous?

Now that you know the potential reasons why your water heater is leaking, you might be wondering if the situation is dangerous or not. When it comes down to it, small leaks and regular processes (such as a normally functioning pressure relief valve) aren’t cause for concern.

If you’re dealing with a significant leak or you suspect the water heater has a damaged part, you should certainly exercise caution. Damaged or broken parts can suggest that your water heater isn’t working properly, which can lead to more issues further down the line. Plus, an unruly leak can potentially lead to costly water damage if ignored or put off for too long.

When you encounter water heater leaks, the best solution is to contact an emergency plumber in Phoenix, AZ. The expert will assess the situation and provide you with a solution promptly, minimizing the chances of extensive water damage.

Schedule Water Heater Services with Bumble Bee Plumbing

It can be incredibly helpful to know what causes a water heater to leak, especially if you’re currently experiencing this issue in real-time. Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, Bumble Bee Plumbing can help! No matter if you’re dealing with leaks from the bottom of the tank or the top, we can identify and fix the problem.

Don’t wait to call a plumber for your electric or gas water heater needs. Contact us to schedule a service for your water heater in Phoenix, AZ, today!

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