Can You Repair A Leaking Water Heater?
Can you repair a leaking water heater? Yes, you can. A leaking water heater can be simple to replace depending on the nature of the leak or very complicated to require an expert plumber. The first step when repairing a leaking water heater is finding out the origin as well as the cause.
The main causes of water heater leaking problems
- Aging water system.
- Poor maintenance.
- Very high tank pressure.
- Loose drain valve.
- Poor plumbing.
If your water heater was not installed well, leaking could develop prematurely. If the drain valve is loose, it will slowly start leaking. However, this is a simple issue that can be remedied by tightening the valve.
The pressure on the tank can cause a lot of damage to the water heater over time. It can cause issues such as bad pressure to the relief valve and elevated pressure to the water heater. These issues are complicated and are better addressed by a professional plumber.
The lifespan of most water heaters is between 11 and 13 years. If you note that the water heater is leaking from the bottom part of the burner compartment, the chances are that age has caught up with it. The problem arises from an extended period of sediment buildup at the bottom of the heater tank. Eventually, the tank corrodes and starts leaking. In such a situation, your options are very few. Simply replace the system.
It is advisable to work with a professional plumber with requisite skills when replacing the system. However, if you prefer the DIY (do-it-yourself) option, here are the main steps to follow.
The basic steps to follow when replacing a water heater
- Start by shutting down the water supply to the water heater. You also have to turn off the power supply. For those with gas-fired water heater, the gas should be shut off from the mains.
- Drain all the water from the water heater tank by opening the valve located at the bottom. You might want to attach the standard garden hose to guide the water outside the house to avoid flooding.
- Once the water is drained, disconnect the water lines, flue pipe, and gas line if the heater is gas fired. If the water heater is electric, disconnect electric heater and water lines. Note that the water heater may still be heavy and a helping hand or dolly will come in handy.
- Once the old water heater is out of the way, clean the surface ready for the new system. Then, lift the new water heater carefully and fix it in position. Restore the water line and electric or gas lines ensuring that everything is firmly done to prevent leaks. If the water heater is gas-fired, make sure to test the joints for leaks with soap bubbles.
- Turn the power or gas on and start refilling the tank. If it is a gas water heater, ensure that the thermostat is set at the preferred temperature. In most of the cases, this is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The new water heater should be ready by now.
Basic steps to replacing a pressure relief valve of the water heater
In some cases, the water leak can be caused by high pressure on the water heater. The problem can result from a high-pressure situation or a faulty valve in the water heater. If the valve is faulty, consider replacing it using the following steps.
- Start by shutting off the water heater, turning off the water supply, and draining all the water from the tank.
- Then, discharge any remaining pressure by lifting the lever on top of the valve.
- Before screwing the new valve to the water heater, run a Teflon tape on the threads. Then, screw the new valve in position firmly.
- Refill the tank and then turn the water heater on.
Notably, most of the leaks you will encounter on water heaters can be repaired by tightening fittings or valves, and connecting pipes. Remember that if you are not confident of doing any task on the water heater, it is always advisable to work with a professional.