Follow these steps if your tank water heater is leaking:
Electricity and water is a dangerous combination! If you have an electric water heater, turn off the water heater’s power at its circuit breaker. Never stand in water while touching any electrical outlet.
It’s also easy to slip and fall in even a small amount of water. Plus standing water breeds bacteria and mould. So it’s best to mop it up and dry out the area quickly if you can do so safely. If you’re home alone or elderly, never risk slipping in water or falling off a ladder.
Turn Off Power
Turn Off Water
Verify Leak’s Source is Water Heater
Determine Leak’s Location on the Heater
Determine if Fixable
If Not Fixable, Replace it
If you are not comfortable with ANY of these steps, call us!
We’re more experienced with water heaters than any other professional plumbers in the area.
If it’s repairable, we’ll repair it quickly and correctly. If it’s not, we’ll replace it. And we’ll do it at a lower cost than even big box retailers!
We Guarantee Your Satisfaction!
How to Safely Turn off the Power to a Leaking Water Heater
Before even calling us, you’ll want to turn off the power and water and mop up the water … if it’s SAFE for you to do so! If you’re home alone or elderly, never risk slipping and falling or climbing up on a ladder. Read the safety first above!
Make Sure Everyone Knows Where and How to Shut Off Water, Gas, Electricity
Have a family meeting to review the exact location and how to shut off the:
- main water shut off valve
- breaker box for the electrical outlet
- gas main valve
Be prepared so you will know what to do to avoid running around in a panic when disaster strikes. Everyone is impressed when a cool, calm and collected person knows what to do when a disaster strikes! For some it may be as simple as shouting “quick, call the plumber”!!!!
Electric Water Heater …
If water surrounds your electric water heater, turn off the power at the circuit breaker.
Don’t take risks walking on wet floors or using ladders, especially if you’re home alone or elderly.
Gas Water Heater …
Gas water heaters have an on/off dial or switch. It’s usually near the bottom of the tank. Turn it off there.
Turn Off the Heater’s Water Supply
Find the shut off valve on the cold water inlet pipe and shut it off. It’s located above the water heater, usually on the pipe. It will either have a pull-down valve to shut it off or a dial. If it’s a dial, turn it clockwise to turn off the water supply.
Don’t take a chance slipping in the water while reaching for the shut off valve. Instead, turn the water off at the main water shut off valve. Click here if you need help finding your home’s main water shut-off valve.
Source of the Leak – The Water Heater or Another Water Appliance?
If there are other water appliances located near the water heater, find out if water is coming from there. For example, do you have a water treatment system nearby? Discharge lines from a water softener could be the culprit.
Best to mop up the surrounding water and dry the area. It’s easier to find the exact source of the leak when it’s dry. Plus it’s safer too.
If you have no other water appliance nearby, water is obviously coming from your water heater.
Determine the Leak’s Location on the Water Heater
Once you know the leak is coming from the water heater, then check the easy-to-fix places first. If you can diagnose the problem yourself before you call us, it will take us less time and save you money.
Inlet and Outlet Pipe Connection Need Tightening?
Check the cold water pipe coming into the water heater and the outbound hot water pipe. If you feel drops of water at either of those connections, you might be able to fix it yourself by just tightening the connections!
Better yet, you can leave it to us to do for you. A minor repair.
Is the Temperature and Pressure (T&P) Valve Leaking?
If the T&P valve needs to be replaced, it’s a fairly minor repair. However, if water is leaking from the T&P valve, it does not always mean a faulty valve. It may be doing exactly what it’s designed to do: relieve pressure. It could mean the pressure regulator to your home is failing. We always check to make sure your home’s main pressure regulator is working properly BEFORE checking the water heater.
The T&P Valve is attached to a pipe located at the top (or side) of the water heater. It’s there to relieve pressure in case the water inside the tank gets too hot or excessive pressure builds up. It basically prevents the water heater from becoming dangerous.
So a faulty T&P valve should be replaced immediately. It’s a minor repair but important.
Determining if the T&P valve is faulty is tricky and best left to us. It’s NOT a good idea to test it by opening it up (even though other plumbing websites may say so).
Is the Drain Valve Completely Closed?
The drain valve is located near the bottom of the water heater. It’s there so that the heater can be drained and minerals flushed out of the tank, extending the water heater’s life. Check to see if this valve is completely closed.
If it’s closed but faulty and causing the leak, we can replace it.
Internal Tank of Water Heater Leaking?
When we’ve ruled out the source of the leak as any of the repairable items above, the leak is likely coming from the internal tank. We won’t be able to see the internal tank, of course, but if the water heater is around ten years old and leaking, it needs to be replaced. (According to Department of Energy, tank water heaters usually last between 10-15 years)
Ways to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater and Prevent Leaking
Our “hard” water in Fallbrook, Bonsall, Vista, Oceanside and Temecula, has a high mineral content. (For example, according to the Fallbrook Public Utility District the water hardness is 205. Anything over 185 is considered “exceptionally hard”.)
These minerals are safe to drink and are actually electrolytes. However, when electrolytes react with metal — a process known as electrolysis — they cause corrosion. So the more we can do to prevent or delay the electrolysis process from corroding the iron water tank inside the water heater, the longer it will last.
Here are a few ways we can help you to do just that:
Call us to drain, flush and service your water heater at least once a year
The best way to get the most years out of your water heater is to call us to service it at least once a year. We’ll drain and flush it quickly and safely as well as check anything that can be cost-effectively repaired or replaced BEFORE you wake up to a leaking water heater!
Call us to replace the anode rod inside the water tank every two or three years
Tap water has a certain percentage of minerals which form electrolytes, or small electrical currents. The higher the mineral content or “hard water” number, the stronger the electrolytes. These electrolytes react to metals lowest on the element chart first, literally eating away at the metal to cause corrosion. This process that causes corrosion is know as electrolysis — or galvanic corrosion.
So to protect the iron water tank from corrosion, an anode rod made of aluminum or magnesium around a steel wire core is inside the tank. Then the electrolysis process corrodes the anode rod before it can corrode the iron metal water tank. (If you want to protect a bronze prop shaft on a boat, however, zinc is the metal of choice … but that’s for another blog.)
However, as the electrolysis process gradually eats away at the anode rod, you want to replace the anode rod BEFORE it becomes completely corroded. Otherwise, once the anode rod is destroyed, electrolysis will then move on to corrode the iron metal in the tank, causing it to leak.
Therefore, when we routinely replace the anode rode, we’re continuing to protect the heater’s internal iron tank from corrosion. If it’s not routinely replaced, every two or three years, the metal storage tank will become corroded, causing it to leak and need replacement.
Get a whole house water treatment system
The “softer” your water, the lower the mineral content. Fewer minerals means fewer electrolytes, thus much lower rates of galvanic corrosion. So with a whole house water treatment system, ALL your water appliances last longer. In particular, water heaters will last much longer.
Find out more about the benefits of our water treatment systems here.
As our name implies, we are the leading water heater experts in the area. We are most qualified to determine if its cost-effective or possible to repair your existing water heater.
And if your water heater needs to be replaced, we guarantee the lowest price. We’re even less than big box retailers!