Oh no – you just found a big puddle of water below your water heater. But you’ve been using your shower and sinks, so you might be wondering if using your water while your water heater is leaking is causing more problems. Maybe you’ve called for an appointment for water heater repairs, but it might be a few days before they can come to your house, but you can’t be without hot water for that long.
So you might wonder if you can still use water if your water heater is leaking? The plumbing team at Heartland Heating, Air & Plumbing has the water heater answers you’re looking for. We repair both electric water heaters and gas water heaters.
Is a Leaky Water Heater an Emergency?
While a leaking water heater might cause panic at first, it is generally not considered an emergency. This is because most water heater leaks are very small and will normally not cause you to be completely out of hot water. When you call a plumber for water heater repairs because of a leak, be sure to let them know how much water is leaking and where you think the leak is originating from.
Clean up all the water from around your water heater and then watch how much water leaks out of it. You’ll be surprised how minor some leaks are. But knowing there is a water heater leak is the first part of the battle. You’ll most likely still have hot water when you shower or do dishes until a plumber can arrive. However, if you monitor your leaking water heater and find that a lot of water is leaking out of it, be sure to tell your plumbing company when you make your appointment for repairs.
Get Your Leaks Addressed Quickly
Even though we just said that water heater leaks aren’t often considered an emergency, that doesn’t mean they can be neglected. If you notice a puddle of water, clean it up right away. Do not let it seep into your floors because it could cause water damage. If you can put a bucket under the leak to catch the water, that can help prevent water damage. If you find that extended use of your water heater makes your leak worse, let your plumber know. Standing water and water damage can also promote mold and mildew growth. So the sooner you get the leak addressed, the better.
That being said, while you’re waiting for water heater repairs, try to ease up on your hot water use. It’s still ok to shower, but if you were looking for an excuse to eat out for a day or two so you don’t have to do any dishes, a leaking water heater is a good reason to do just that.
Find Out Where the Water Heater Leak Is Coming from
A common reason why it might seem like your water heater is leaking is condensation. Condensation occurs when the temperature of the room varies extremely from the tank. If the water tank is very hot, but the room is cold, condensation will occur outside of the tank. This is normal and it means there is nothing wrong with your hot water heater.
To find where the water heater is leaking from, take some soapy water on a sponge or in a spray bottle and cover the pipes leading in and out of the tank, and the top of the tank. Pressurize the system without turning on any appliances. Where you see bubbles start to form is where the water is leaking from. If you start smelling rotten eggs and you own a gas water heater, then you have a gas leak.
Common causes of leaks include:
- Old water heater tank. Tanks tend to last around 10 years
- A loose drain valve.
- When there’s too much pressure in water heaters, water leaks through any crack to relieve pressure. This is often caused by your water heater temperature being set too high.
- Loose connections between pipe fittings.
- Sediment collection is common in homes with hard water.
- Corroded anode rod. Corrosion is normal, and replacing the anode rod is a common water heater repair.
Call Heartland for Comprehensive Water Heater Repairs
When you notice leaks coming from your water heater, there’s no need to panic. Clean up the water and see where the leak is coming from and how big of a leak it is. Once you’ve assessed the situation, then call the plumbing team at Heartland Heating, Air and Plumbing for help. Our experienced plumbers can help fix gas and electric heaters and make showers warm again. Call us to schedule repairs today.