Your hot water tank is one of those appliances you don’t think about often. As long as you’re getting hot water when you need it – such as when washing the dishes or taking a shower – everything is good in your mind. However, there’s something to remember: hot water tanks aren’t designed to last forever, but instead have an average life expectancy of 8 to 12 years.[i] Get into the habit of regularly inspecting your hot water tank. This allows you to pinpoint a leak, or other concerns, before it turns into a major problem.
Remember, even if you’re only seeing a small amount of water, something is still wrong. Some of the most common reasons for a leaking water heater include:[ii]
- Old age
- Improper maintenance (or lack of maintenance)
- Improper installation
- Cracked tank
- Too much tank pressure
- Loose drain valve
Some of these issues are easier to repair than others. For example, if there’s too much tank pressure, you can adjust this and go about your business with a clear mind. Conversely, if there’s a crack in your tank, you should have your water heater replaced as soon as possible. A small crack can soon turn into a big one. And when that happens, you could find water all over your home.
Steps to Take If Your Water Heater is Leaking
Now that you understand the basics of a leaking hot water tank, let’s discuss the steps you should take if you spot water:
Shut off the water supply to the water heater: This ensures that no additional water makes its way to the tank.
Shut off the electric or gas: Some water heaters are powered by electricity, while others rely on gas. Either way, shut it off for safety.
Visually inspect the tank: Can you see where the water is coming from? How much water is the tank losing? A visual inspection may allow you to pinpoint the cause of the leak, which helps you decide what to do next.
The goal of these three steps is simple: to safely find the cause of the leak. Only then can you make a confident decision on the next steps in the process. Maybe you can repair the problem on your own. Maybe you should call a plumber to take a closer look. Or perhaps it’s time for a new water heater entirely. The last thing you want to do is ignore a leaking hot water tank in hopes that the problem goes away. This isn’t likely to happen. Instead, there’s a better chance that the problem will worsen, which can eventually result in a rush of water that damages your home. If your hot water tank is leaking or it’s time for a water heater replacement, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can answer your questions, visit your home, and explain all available options. This will help you make a decision that suits you, your home, and your budget.