A water heater is essential in most households. However, just like any other appliance, it will begin to wear and tear over time. Leakage is one of the signs of a faulty water heater. As your unit ages, leaks become more common as various parts begin to wear down naturally. Too much pressure, sediment collection in the tank, and loose valves are other causes of a water heater leak. While there are some inevitable causes that you can’t control, below are still some tips that you can use to prevent leaks and give your water heater a longer lifespan.
1. Drain and Flush the Tank Often
The majority of leaks begin from the internal tank. Homeowners need to be aware that hard water contains large amounts of sediments that may build up in the water tank. When this residue collects over time, your tank will begin to crack or rust, leading to leaks. It’s vital, therefore, that you maintain a clean system.
Drain and flush the tank at least once annually, and you can even use a bleach-water solution to clean off any mold or mildew that may have accumulated. Regular cleaning ensures that the sediments won’t become too overwhelming for the tank. Alternatively, you can install a filtration system in your unit to stop or reduce the amounts of sediments deposited into the tank.
2. Check and Inspect All the Pipes
The water pipes slacken with time, creating a loose connection that can result in leaks. Follow your cold-water inlet and hot water pipes, and check for misalignment or openings. It would be best to resolve this issue as early as possible to prevent water from seeping into your walls or flooring.
It’s worth noting that pipes are more likely to loosen very fast, and it would be best to perform regular checks. Using a wrench, tighten any loose fittings and ensure that all pipes feel sturdy.
3. Schedule Preventive Maintenance
Routine maintenance for the entire heating system will help keep your water heater operating correctly and efficiently all year long. An experienced plumber will easily spot signs of active leaks and fix them immediately.
Have a professional check the water temperature and pressure every six months. When the tank’s pressure rises to an unsafe level, the TPR (Temperature/Pressure-relief valve) opens up to release some pressure. You may begin to notice leaks from the valve or at the bottom of the tank, indicating high temperature.
On the other hand, if the tank’s water isn’t adequately hot, the cold-water supply pressure rises. The water comes into the tank at high pressure and can result in leakage through the TPR valve. A professional will help adjust the temperature and pressure to the desired level to prevent leakage.
The maintenance service also involves inspecting the anode ray after a period of three to four years. The anode rod removes corrosives sediments from the water supply. After a certain period, the sediments may accumulate to a higher level until the rod can no longer hold them, so they begin to settle at the bottom of the tank. As a result, they may damage the tank causing leaks. When you schedule regular maintenance, the technician will know when to replace the anode rod when it’s wholly corroded to prevent damage.
4. Check the Water Heater Frequently for Corroded Parts
Look out for any corrosive components that create a weak section on your unit. Rust is warning enough that your water heater is close to failing. Check for rust signs on the pipes and fittings at the top of the tank. Most tanks have two special steel pipes at the top fitted onto the tank through copper pipes and fittings. When these two metal components come together in the presence of water, they wear away gradually. The extent and speed of damage will depend on the quality of your water.
Corrosion at the threaded joint pipe joint can severely weaken the pipes leading to leaks. Even worse, excess pressure at such a weakened point may cause joints to burst. If you notice rust at such places, call your plumber early enough for a closer inspection. He might suggest replacing the fittings at the damaged locations before it advances to an unexpected pipe burst.
5. Inspect the Drain Valve Often
Each heater contains a drain valve at the bottom of the tank to help draw out water for maintenance purposes or when you want to replace the heater system. If the drain valve isn’t ultimately closed, it might lead to leaks. Frequently inspect the valve and tighten the knobs. Check to see if you can spot water seeping through the drain valve. It’s an indication that the valve isn’t water-tight, and you need to replace it as soon as possible before the leak gets worse.
6. Add an Automated Shut-Off System
Installing an automated shut-off valve in your water heater system will help protect your home from water damage due to leaks. When the unit detects a leak, it shuts the water flow. The valves will remain closed until you reset them manually. It gives you time to fix the broken connections before they cause significant damages. More advanced units also have an alarming function that alerts you even when you are away that it has deactivated the water heater system due to a leak.
7. Respond as Soon as You Discover Leaks
The best way to prevent massive leaks is by responding to any minor leaks as soon as they appear. The faster that you can fix it, the less water damage you will face. Note that leaks from the tank or increased pressure can be hazardous, and it would be best to have your plumber address this as soon as it occurs to minimize the chances of extreme occurrences.
What might seem harmless at the moment may grow into a bigger problem. As water continues to run at high pressure through a hole, the little drips continue to expand, causing major leaks. Patch any simple water drips to save on time and avoid future expenses.
Water heater leaks can cause extensive damage to your house. When the water gets absorbed into the wood surfaces, it causes decay. Further, an overflowing leak could result in flooding, which causes molds and permanently stained walls. Create a consistent maintenance schedule for your water heater to prevent leaks that result in expensive repairs. When well maintained, your unit can last between 8-12 years.
If you need an expert’s assistance, get in touch with Rite Way Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing. Reach out to us for water heater flush, water softening system installation, and other plumbing services. We have a team of licensed technicians who offer exceptional services to keep your home in the right conditions.
Our company serves Tucson and the surrounding areas. We are committed to creating exceptional indoor comfort for our clients through HVAC installation, repair and maintenance services. We also deal with mini-splits, energy audits, duct cleaning and repairs.
Reach out to us to schedule your unit’s maintenance and inspection today. With our vast knowledge and expertise in the industry, we will ensure that your water heater runs as efficiently as possible.