A leaking water heater is an urgent and potentially dangerous issue. A leaking water heater can cause property damage in the vicinity of the leak, but more critically, leaking water could short out electric water heaters and create a fire hazard. If you suspect your water heater is leaking, the best course of action is to shut it down until you can see a licensed plumbing professional.
If you do not know how to shut down your water heater, please reach out to our team.
Can you still use water when your water heater is leaking?
Do not use water unless it is urgent. It is not recommended to continue using a damaged or defective water heater. The water heater is the most dangerous plumbing fixture in your home. It is the only fixture that can cause bodily harm or even kill you if improperly maintained.
It can also cause extreme property damage, as demonstrated in a popular episode of MythBusters.
What Causes Leaks?
To diagnose the causes of your leaking water heater, it’s important to first establish where the leak is taking place on the water heater unit.
Water Heater Leaking From the Bottom
There are a couple of potential causes of water leaking from the bottom of your water heater. The most common is a defective or faulty seal around the bottom of the heater. While a defective seal is an easy fix for a licensed plumber, the other most common cause of a bottom leak calls for a new water heater altogether. The average life expectancy of a water heater is 6 to 10 years. If your water heater is beyond its lifespan, a host of internal tank issues may develop that result in leaks from the bottom.
Water Heater Leaking From the Top
Water heaters leak from the top are typically the result of pipe leaks. Often we’ll find dripping pipes and fittings above water heaters that create rust and show leaks on the top. Leaking from the top can also be the result of improper water heater installation.
Fixing a Leaky Water Heater
Resolving a leaking water heater is not a DIY job your average homeowner can accomplish by watching a youtube video. Involve a licensed plumber.
Water Heater Repair Vs Replacement
Water heaters can be repaired, but replacing the water heater may be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
- How long the water heater has been leaking
- Water heater age
- Water heater life expectancy
- Adherence to the manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule
At Blue Planet Plumbing, we typically offer water heater repair and replacement options; however, we always encourage our clients to consider the economic and environmental costs associated with repair versus replacement. Water heaters that are older than 10 years are very inefficient compared to water heaters that have been manufactured today.
Water Heater Maintenance
The best way to ensure your water heater doesn’t end up leaking is to adhere to the maintenance schedule dictated by the manufacturer of your water heater unit. Some manufacturers require regular maintenance to retain the warranty.
All water heaters should be flushed, inspected for proper operation and tested for efficiency and safety annually by a licensed trade professional.
Why Blue Planet Plumbing
If your water heater is leaking, give Blue Planet Plumbing a call. We are dedicated to education and transparency. We offer all appropriate options and help you make the best decision for your family and budget.
We like to remind our clients that we are the check engine light for your plumbing system. And remember, when it comes to plumping being proactive is always more cost-effective than being reactive.
Learn more about our Water Heater Services and Expertise.