In Seattle, a leak in your hot water heater can be a big or small problem depending on where the leak is, how severe it is and whether it requires repair or replacement. Here are some things you should know about water heater leaks that will help you determine who to call and how to act.
Where Is the Leak?
Step one is to determine where the water is coming from. Look for leaks around the fittings and valves attached to the device. If one of them is loose or if you see water dripping from a connection, it can probably be fixed relatively easily. However, if the leak is coming from the body of the water heater, you may have a ruptured tank which is a sure sign of a bad water heater that needs to be replaced.
Draining Your Tank
Once you identify the leak, turn off the water supply to the tank and prepare to drain it the rest of the way. You should also disconnect the power from the device. If the water heater is gas, I recommend you call a professional who is certified to work on gas appliances. For electric water heaters, you may still want a professional, but the next step here is to simply turn off the breaker to stop electricity from flowing to the device.
Drain the tank next, using the bucket to capture the water as it is released. If you have a floor drain and can angle the tank over the drain, go ahead and do that now. Once the tank is empty, it is time to tighten your fittings.
Fixing the Problem
Assuming this is a fittings or valve problem, loosen any fittings that appeared to have leaked, repair the plumbing thread and retape the pipes, finally tightening the fittings back into place. The pressure valve may need to be replaced as well – do this now if it is necessary.
Before reapplying the electricity to the water heater, reattach the water supply and turn it on to check for leaks. If it holds water, you are lucky and your water heater’s tank isn’t leaking. Reattach everything and turn it back on.
If you notice the leak continues, you should call a Seattle professional as it is likely the glass inside your tank has cracked or is leaking. Most of the time, this cannot be repaired and means you need a new water heater installed.