Finding a puddle under your hot water tank is never a welcome sign as it usually indicates a problem with your hot water system. However, it’s important to conduct an initial inspection to determine the source and extent of the leak. This inspection helps to make sure that the leak is, in fact, coming from the water heater, and whether you are dealing with a plumbing emergency. Below are the essential steps you should take if you notice water under your water heater.
Determine if Water is Coming from Your Hot Water Heater
The first step is determining whether the leaked water is coming from your hot water heater. The water on your floor could be due to condensation or leaks from other pipes, devices or outlets, so if it’s just a small amount of water, wipe it up the first time and check back again in a little while to see if the puddle has returned. Visually check other appliances and outlets nearby to see if they are the source of the leak. If it appears the leak is coming from your water heater tank, continue with the following steps. If a large amount of water is leaking, turn off the water supply to the tank or the main water supply if necessary, and call your plumber as soon as possible.
Turn Off Power and Water Supply
The next step in identifying the source and location of a water heater tank leak is turning off the electricity or gas supply to your tank. This helps to mitigate the leak problem and ensure your safety as you inspect the tank. Turn off the water supply to the tank to avoid worsening the leak.
Determine Location of The Leak
One of the most important things you can do if you find a hot water heater leak is to inspect where the source of the leak is coming from and diagnose the problem if possible. This can help your plumber provide the right solution quickly, and get your water heater up running more quickly.
- Connection Leak
Occasionally, leaks under your hot water tank may be from loose, worn out or faulty connections to and from your hot water tank. This can be the case if your hot water tank is older, or if you installed the hot water tank yourself without the assistance of a plumber.
- Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve Leak
Every water heater has a valve on the side with a pipe to the floor that releases when water becomes too hot or too pressurized inside the tank. If water is flowing down the pipe from the temperature and pressure relief valve, it either means it’s faulty, or it’s working properly but the water in your tank is too hot or pressurized. While issues with the valve are usually fixable, it’s important to call a plumber for an inspection if you see water released from this valve.
- Drain Valve Leak
The drain valve is located at the bottom of the tank and is used when you need to manually drain and empty the tank. Ensure the valve is watertight and not leaking. If your drain valve is leaking, it can usually be easily fixed by replacing the valve.
- Tank Leak
In many cases, the tank may be damaged and leaking. This is a more serious problem that often happens to older, worn out water heaters. The only fix is a replacement, and it might be worth considering upgrading to a tankless water heater, depending on what your plumber recommends.
If you find water under your hot water heater, act fast to prevent flooding and diagnose the leak, then call your local plumber for expert assistance.