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Is a Leaking Water Heater a Problem?


They're tucked away in basements or stored in utility closets or the garage, so water heaters are often "out of sight, out of mind." That is until you're hit with a freezing cold shower, no hot water for dishwashing or, worst of all, you come home to a minor flood in the house.

If your water heater has started to leak, even slightly, it can be a sign of a major issue and a serious hazard. Here's why a leaking water heater is such a big deal.

Leaking Water Heaters Encourage Mold Growth

Any time there's damp or wet areas, mold and mildew can sprout. Mold can further damage your flooring and cause a number of health problems, including respiratory disorders and allergies. The EPA says some mold spores are toxic and that can lead to even more serious health problems.

Your Home's Water Could be Contaminated

Is the water coming out of your faucets rusty? Leaky pipes can lead to rusty pipes, which translates to rusty drinking water. This tells you the interior of the hot water heater has begun the rusting process. Call a professional immediately, because a serious burst could occur.

Your Property Could Get Damaged

It might be a "small" appliance, but a leaking water heater can cause massive damage to the surrounding floor and walls, as well as the ones located below it. Water can also seep down into your home's foundation, weakening it over time. Always quickly clean up water found around a water heater.

What To Do if Your Water Heater is Leaking

A leaking water heater doesn't necessarily mean the appliance needs replacing. But you do want to get leaks looked at and fixed as soon as possible. There are a few things you can check on your own before calling in a plumber.

  • Where is the leak coming from? It might not be the heater. Wipe up any water near the unit and carefully inspect the fittings to see if they're wet, too.
  • Look around for other possible sources of water. Is there a window nearby? Another water pipe?
  • If it's still not clear where the water's coming from, place a couple paper towels under the heater and check back every few hours to see if they're wet.

Once you determine the water heater is the culprit:

  • Turn off the water to the tank
  • Turn off the power supply. For electric tanks, shut it off at the breaker and for gas tanks, switch off the gas supply.

Though it's possible to check the inlet and outlet, the pressure relief valve, the water pressure, the bottom of the water heater, and the drain valve, we recommend having a professional check out your water heater if you find any leaks. It's the fastest and surest way to get it back in good working order (or replace it).

Getting Help with a Hot Water Heater Leak

If the hot water heater in your Jacksonville, FL home is leaking, we recommend calling in a qualified professional to diagnose the problem, figure out where the water is coming from, and let you know if it can be fixed. David Gray Plumbing Services can quickly help you find the source of the leak. Contact us online today or call us at (904) 605-8190 to learn more.