Understanding Water Heater Leaks That Can Be Repaired by a Plumber

Posted on: 3 March 2017

If you have an electric water heater in your home and notice a pool of water under the appliance, then you may be concerned about water leaks. This is a serious concern, because the appliance will need to be replaced if a hole forms in the tank itself. However, this does not need to happen if water is leaking from somewhere else on the tank. There are several places where leaks can occur that require repairs made by a plumbing services professional. 

Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

If you see a valve on the top of your water heater that is also attached to a long metal tube, then this is your temperature and pressure relief valve. If water is coming from the valve, then it may simply be doing its job correctly. The valve is meant to release water when there is too much in the tank or when an excessive or high water temperature is reached in the tank. If these sorts of things cause the temperature and pressure relief valve to release water, then this is a sign that the thermostat is not working correctly or that the outlet pipe is clogged and too much water is being pulled into the tank. 

Also, temperature and pressure relief valves will weaken over time. When this happens, then valves will open well before they should. Small amounts of water pressure as well as slight increases in temperature can cause the valve to open. The valve itself must be replaced when this occurs. 

Element Gasket Leaks

Depending on the size and capacity of your water heater, the appliance will have either one or two heating elements. These elements come into direct contact with the water and heat it. The elements are fitted through holes in the side of the water heater. Most elements twist into place and are fitted with rubber gaskets to keep water from leaking around the elements. 

The rubber part of the gasket can break down, just like other types of gaskets. When this happens, water can start to work its way around the gasket and leak out. If you notice rust around the element cover or if you see that the insulation that sits around the water heater is wet, then these are signs that a leak has formed around the element gasket. 

If your water heater has been tripping its fuse lately, then this indicates that the electrical wiring attached to the element has been getting wet as well. This can be dangerous, so turn off the appliance and contact your plumber as soon as possible. 

If you notice your water heater is leaking and have questions or want to get it fixed, talk to a professional like those at Quality Plumbing.