Signs Your Water Heater Is Leaking

A leaking water heater is a serious issue and cannot be ignored. As soon as you notice the leak, you should immediately take certain steps to determine what the issue may be and whether or not it may need professional help or an outright replacement.

Inspect the Water Supply Lines

The first thing to do if the source of the leak is not immediately obvious is to check the plumbing pipes coming out of the top of the water heater. These are a common place for a leak to occur, and water from here can easily drip down and make it appear that a leak is coming from another source, such as the tank. So, remove any insulation from the pipes which may be in the way and inspect the tubes for any leaks. If you discover any leaks, the pipes will need to be replaced.

Check the Water Heater Nipples

Another common source of leaks is the water heater nipples which connect the cold water inlet line and the hot water exit line to the water heater. The threads on these nipples are a common place to find leaks. Often distinguishing a leak on the nipple from one on the supply tube can be difficult; however, if the supply tube is replaced and this has not solved the issue, it is likely the nipple. Replacing water heater nipples can be a difficult job and will generally require professional assistance.

Inspect the Temperature and Pressure Release Valve (T&P)

Next, check the T&P valve for any leaks. If this valve is leaking, it may implicate a serious issue with the water heater itself. Generally, a T&P valve will only begin leaking when a serious issue is causing the pressure or temperature of the water inside the heater to rise too high. However, other issues could also lead to this type of problem, such as if the valve was recently removed or replaced and it was not properly sealed. In this case, it may be enough to tighten the valve or to remove and reinstall it with fresh plumber’s tape.

Alternatively, if the water heater is attempting to heat the water to too high a temperature causing excessive pressure, it may be possible to turn the temperature on the water heater down to reduce the pressure. Other issues that could be at fault include a faulty T&P valve or pressure regulator. In most cases, this will need to be diagnosed by a professional plumber.

Examine the Drain Valve

Another common source of leaks is the drain on the bottom of the water heater. Once the drain valve has been opened to drain or flush the water heater, it will often fail to properly close afterward. In many cases, this can be solved with a new hose cap; however, it may require replacing the drain valve entirely.

Inspect the Tank

If none of the previous steps showed signs of a leak, then it is likely the water heater’s internal tank itself is leaking. Generally, this will be a serious leak that produces a considerable amount of water. This type of leak cannot be repaired, and the entire water heater will need to be replaced.

Final Thoughts

If your water heater is leaking, using the above steps can help you to pinpoint the problem to have it quickly solved. However, if you cannot pinpoint the problem or are uncomfortable working with a water heater, do not hesitate to call in the professionals immediately.

Contact Us

For assistance with a leaking water heater, call J Griffin Heating & Plumbing. Our licensed team of plumbers has more than thirty years of experience helping homeowners with all of their heating and plumbing issues. Call us at 781-520-1212 and connect with us on Facebook.