When winter weather hits the Fairview, IL area, you want your water heater in top condition. The easiest way to test that you don’t need water heater replacement or water heater repair is to test it. If your test reveals water dripping out of the water heater, it is critical to determine what is the cause before cold weather comes. A leaking water heater could indicate a large problem, a small problem, or even no problem at all. It just depends which of the following is the cause of the leak.
The best possibility is that you are simply mistaking condensation for a leak. The difference in air temperature outside the tank and inside the tank may cause condensation. If enough condensation forms, the tank will drip, and a puddle may even form on the ground nearby. This is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about, easily correctable with a towel or sponge.
If the pressure is set too high in your water heater, water will try to force its way out through the path of least resistance. This usually results in water leaking out of a joint connecting a pipe to the tank. Fixing this problem requires simple water heater maintenance to ensure that the pressure is set correctly.
High pressure can also be caused by a damaged temperature pressure relief valve. The leak should appear in roughly the same place as if the pressure is set too high, but it is more difficult to repair. This will require replacing the valve completely in most situations, which is something that should generally be left to a professional water heater repair technician.
Over time, the drain valve will become loose simply from constant use. This causes a slow leak near the drain line. Unless it has become worn, fixing this problem usually is as simple as tightening the valve with a wrench. While this is a relatively minor problem, if left uncorrected for too long, the valve could fully loosen resulting in possible flooding.
As tanks get older, they are subject to corrosion and stress from aging. Eventually, no matter how much water heater maintenance you receive, this will result in a crack or hole. There is no good repair option for this problem. If the tank is too old, you need water heater replacement as soon as possible.