Is Your Water Heater Leaking?
Do you think you have a leaking water heater? If you have a leak, there are some pretty quick ways to find the leak.
Are you wondering why you need to find the leak and not the plumber? Well, if you find the leak and can point it out to the plumber then you will be saving your plumber time on the job. And that saves you some money.
Testing to see if you have a water heater leak
If you think you have a leaking water heater, the easiest way to test for a leak is by simply placing paper towels under where you think the leak is. Wipe up any puddle or drips that you see under or near the water heater. Then place some paper towels where the water was and leave them there for a day or two.
Be sure to check on the paper towels every few hours or so. If the paper towels are still dry after a day or so, chances are you don’t have a leaking water heater and you are in the clear for now. If you start to see moisture than you will want to start looking for the leak.
Looking for the leak in your water heater
Looking for a leak in your water heater does not have to be very difficult. Remember that water follows the laws of gravity. One of your first steps to locate the leak is to give your water heater a good “once over”. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom. Just by looking, you may be able to spot where the water is coming from.
If this yields you no answer, try other possible leak sites like the cold-water inlet and the hot water outlet. You will also want to check all of the plumbing connections and fittings as well as the temperature/pressure and relief valve.
What do you need to know?
Not all leaks mean you need a new water heater. It could be something as simple as tightening a loose fitting. Anything beyond a quick turn of the wrench means you should call a plumber. If you want to try doing it yourself, turn off the power to your water heater. If your water heater is electric, turn off the circuit breaker to the water heater.
If you have a gas water heaters, there should be a dial located on the water heater–make sure this dial is in the off position. Next, you will want to make sure that the water supply to the water heater is off. There is a valve, which is normally located above the water heater, which should also be in the off position.
Did you know that many water heaters could heat water upwards of 190 degrees? At these temperatures you can be seriously injured just by indirect contact with steam or water.
How can you fix the leak?
Not all leaks in your water heater are a DIY fix. Most will require calling a plumber to fix the problem. One easy fix is a loose fitting. If you have an adjustable wrench, you can make sure that all of the fittings are tight and not leaking.
If your leak is coming from a valve, either the temperature/pressure relief valve, you could replace it yourself if you have experience with plumbing. However, if you do not have much experience in the workings of home plumbing, give the local plumber a call.
When do you need to replace your water heater?
Is it time to replace your water heater? Look at the age of your water heater. The average life span of a water heater is roughly 10-13 years. As is the case with most appliances, they could need replacing long before they reach the ten-year mark. Or they could continue working just fine long after the thirteen-year mark.
The bottom line is you really don’t know when your water heater is going to stop working. Some signs to look for are leaks under the tank itself, the water turns cold before the end of your shower, or you have rusty water.
For the DIY people, here is an article on how to install an electric water heater.
What should the budget be?
In order to create a budget for replacing your hot water heater you will need to do a little bit of research. Take into consideration your needs first and foremost. You do not want to purchase a hot water heater that is too small because that is what you can afford and likewise you do not want to purchase a hot water heater that is far too large for what you need just because you can afford it.
There are numerous brands of hot water heaters to choose from but there are only two main types of hot water heaters. You will either have a traditional water heater with a tank or a new style water heater, which is called a tank less or on-demand water heater. If you are going from a traditional water heater to an on-demand water heater you could expect to pay a bit more. If you want to know the best size and type for your home, contact your local plumber for professional advice for your specific project.