It’s an Ottawa homeowner’s worst nightmare. You walk into your basement, and there’s a puddle of water on the floor, right by your hot water tank. So you start wondering, “Is my water heater leaking from the bottom? And does that mean I need emergency plumbing service… now?”
A water heater leaking from the bottom is often a warning sign of serious trouble, so it’s essential to find out how to handle it. Consult this guide to determine what to do about your leaky water heater and why it’s not working properly.
What Should You Do When You See A Leak?
1. Determine Where The Leak Is Coming From
Sometimes a water heater appears to be leaking. Yet, the water is coming from a different source — possibly the furnace drain line or water softener discharge hose, for example. Once you rule out these other sources, it’s crucial to figure out what part of the water heater is leaking. If you can safely do so, snap a picture or two of the leak to help your technician pinpoint the issue.
2. Turn Off Gas or Electric Power
Switching off the power will help keep the area safe until you can get professional water heater repair. For a natural gas water heater, locate the control dial on the side of the hot water tank and turn it OFF. For an electric water heater, go to your main electrical panel to find and turn off the breaker that controls the water heater. It will most likely have its dedicated 240-volt circuit.
3. Turn Off Water Supply
Next, you’ll need to shut down the water supply. (A 200-litre hot water heater leaking from the bottom is bad enough. You don’t need the water supply constantly piping in more water.)
Look for the water supply inlet on the top of your heater. It will be equipped with a valve (which you should turn clockwise) or a lever (which you should move to the closed position).
4. Call The Professionals
Now that you’ve got things temporarily under control, it is time to contact a licensed professional for a water heater service. Even a small water heater leak has the potential to do severe damage unless it’s fixed promptly.
Reasons Your Water Heater Is Leaking From The Bottom
Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve
The T&P valve is designed to relieve excessive heat or pressure inside your tank water heater. If necessary, it will release some water through its discharge tube. The water will then trickle down to the floor beneath. Dampness at the end of the tube is a good clue that this is the issue. Because the T& P valve is a vital safety device, you should have it professionally repaired ASAP.
The drain valve is at the bottom of your hot water tank. It drains out the water when your tank is flushed to remove mineral sediment (a vital maintenance task that you or your plumbing technician should perform annually). A leak in this area might indicate that the drain valve is not completely closed, in which case you can close it yourself. Otherwise, the valve could be faulty and require water heater replacement.
Inlet and Outlet Connections
Your water heater has both a cold water inlet and a hot water outlet. Occasionally one of these might loosen. The solution could be tightening the connection — which you can easily DIY. Otherwise, you may have to get the flex lines replaced.
Issue Inside The Tank
By far, the most severe problem is an issue that’s right in the tank. Excessive mineral buildup can corrode the tank from the inside out. The eventual result is your water heater leaking from the bottom. When this type of leakage occurs, you’ve got a real plumbing emergency on your hands, which will need urgent professional attention.
HEADS UP: If your leak comes from an internal issue with the tank, be prepared — it will probably mean you’ll need to have the water heater entirely replaced. If so, consider switching to a tankless water heater. That way, you’ll avoid leakage problems in the future.
Expert Water Heater Repair Or Replacement
Wherever that leak is coming from, Hot Water Ottawa will take care of it. We’re your Ottawa-area address for expert water heater repair and replacement. Talk to our team about the benefits of tankless water heater installation!