When it comes to home plumbing problems, leaks are not uncommon. While some leaks may be quick fixes, some may also indicate a much larger problem. By regularly checking your hot water heater and under your sink for leaks, you can prevent excessive water damage, prevent health issues caused by mold and mildew and even catch a potential problem before it becomes a much more expensive one.
Checking Your Hot Water Heater for Leaks
Water dripping from the hot water tank or pooling below the heater itself can indicate several potential problems, such as corrosion, loose valves or something as simple as condensation. Because it can happen suddenly, it’s important to routinely check your water heater for any signs of leaks as it can also be a sign of a much larger problem waiting to happen.
Determine if Your Water Heater is Leaking
Pools of water and moisture around your hot water heater may simply be caused by condensation. If you notice a suspicious pool of water around your water heater, wipe it up before inspecting the surrounding plumbing, such as water softener discharge lines, the body of the water heater itself and the pipes overhead. If you are unable to pinpoint the source of the leak, continue checking the area for several days. If the water returns, it is likely that your water heater is, in fact, leaking (source).
What to Do if There Is a Leak
If you were able to find the source of your leak, turn off the power to your water heater. On electric heaters, simply switch off the breaker for the water heater in the circuit breaker box. For gas heaters, avoid closing the gas shut-off valve when shutting the power off.
Secondly, turn off the water supply. It’s important to remember that the water inside these tanks can reach temperatures of up to 190 degrees, so if you are unable to access the gate valve safely, turn off the water supply to the entire home.
If the source of the leak has yet to be found, leave the water supply on. This will help you and your plumber pinpoint the problem quicker.
Inspect the Area for the Source of the Leak
There are multiple parts of the water heater that could be the source of your leak. While inspecting the area, make sure to check:
- The cold water inlet and hot water outlet
- The temperature and pressure relief valve
- The heater drain valve
- The base of the hot water tank
A leak coming from the hot water tank itself is common and typically indicates degeneration. Unfortunately, this usually means the tank must be replaced.
Checking Under Your Sink for Leaks
Similar to hot water heaters, it is important to check under your sink for any potential leaks that may result in water damage, health issues or even indicate a much larger problem. Luckily, leaks under the sink are typically easy to fix when found, often coming from the faucet itself, supply hoses or drain pipes. The source of a leaky sink is typically much easier to find than with a water heater.
Determine if There Is a Leak Under Your Sink
Generally, a saturated floor or wet cabinet is the first indication of a leak under your sink. There may even be water spraying or a pool forming underneath or around the sink itself. However, if a faulty seal is to blame, the leak may not be evident until the sink if full of water.
What to Do if There is a Leak
Often, dripping water is a sign of a loose connection, although it may imply faulty pipes as well. In the event that any of the pipes fittings are too loose, a simple tightening will often fix the problem and prevent further water damage. However, if you are unable to locate the source of the leak, chances are the sink drain or faucet itself is leaking (source).
Contacting Professional Help
If you are unable to identify the source of a leak from your water heater or under your sink, you may benefit from contacting a plumber for assistance. Additionally, if you discovered a problematic leak, ensure your safety by reaching out to a professional. What may seem like a small plumbing issue can turn into an expensive plumbing failure or flood. If you’re concerned about a leak, contact Moon Valley Plumbing today at (480) 588-1926.