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Drawing of a technician holding a toolbox and a clipboard while standing next to a water heater tank

What To Do If Your Water Heater Is Leaking

A gas water heater will last an average of 8-12 years, an electric water heater will last a little longer, around 10 to 15 years.   As the tank gets older, the chance of a leak increase. A leaking water heater can range from a tiny pinhole leak to a major flood. Either way, the damage to your home and property can be extensive; ranging from damage to walls and floors to mold and mildew. 

If you see water accumulating near your water heater, it may not actually be coming from the water heater. Check nearby appliances or condensation from pipes near the water heater, which could be causing moisture to accumulate. Closely inspect the base of the water heater and the pressure relief valve located on the side of most water heaters for signs of leaks.

If you determine the water heater is leaking, the first step is to turn off power to the unit. If you have an electric water heater, turn the power off from the circuit breaker. A gas water heater can be shut off from the power supply attached to the unit, usually by turning a knob to the off position. Next, turn the water supply off by closing the cold water shut-off valve located near the top of the water heater. 

Water heater leaks can occur in several locations, including the cold water inlet and hot water outlet, the pressure relief valve, the drain valve, and the bottom of the tank. Fixing a leaking water heater is not a do-it-yourself project. A qualified plumber should make the repair. Depending on the severity of the leak and the age of the unit, your plumber will either have to repair the water heater or recommend replacing it. 

Preventing Damage From Water Heater Leaks

For an extra measure of protection from unexpected water heater leaks, specially designed pans can be installed under the water heater to divert water leaks to a nearby floor drain. There are also water leak alarms that can turn off the water when a leak is detected from the water heater or another source. 

Have a leaking water heater? Call Ostrom Electrical Plumbing Heating and Air. We can help with all your hot water repair and installation needs.