4 Common Reasons for Water Heater Leaks

new water heater in home

It’s just laundry day. A busy, but regular afternoon. You go down into the basement to throw in another load … and there, right under the water heater: a dreaded, unexplainable puddle.

In our experience, people usually have two reactions to a water heater leak. They go something like this:

“Oh great! The house is going to explode! Say bye to our savings, hot showers, and summer vacation! Family, time to evacuate.”

Or, on the opposite side of the spectrum…

“Meh. It’s probably fine. I’ll just ignore it and it’ll sort itself out.”

The technicians here at Avid Plumbing want you to know – neither of these is particularly ideal. Read on to learn more about common reasons for water leaks, and why over- and under-reactions to them could land you in the bad kind of hot water.

Potential Reason 1: It’s just the drain valve.

Drain valves act as a water release in the event the tank needs maintenance such as cleaning. When the drain valve is loose, it can cause a leak — and a leak caused by a loose drain valve is easily fixed with a simple wrench! It’s also possible the drain valve is on its last legs and isn’t watertight anymore, meaning the valve itself must be swapped out. Again, super easy — no need to panic.

Potential Reason 2: It can’t handle the pressure.

Water heaters are dealing with water that’s, well … hot — thus some pressure is normal and naturally occurring. Why? Because hot water creates steam, which raises the pressure in the tank. If the pressure hits a certain amount, the tank will try to relieve it any way it can — often by leaking. This happens most often when the water temperature is set too high, so check to make sure you have it set correctly.

Potential Reason 3: There’s a bunch of gunk in it!

The longer a water heater is in use, the more sediment will naturally collect in its tank. Usually, this just slightly lowers the water quality or creates minor clogs that resolve themselves. However, if the sediment is left for too long at the bottom of the tank, it can cause corrosion. Unfortunately, if this is the reason your tank is leaking, there’s no way around a replacement. That’s why it’s best to prevent this type of leak by draining your water heater tank annually.

Potential Reason 4: It’s lived a long, full life.

The average life span of a water heater is about 10-13 years, and leaks happen more often with old tanks. Water is one of the most destructive forces on earth, and even if you maintain your tank perfectly, over time, it will naturally deteriorate. If your water heater is at the end of its life and you’re noticing frequent and repeated leaks, it’s best to replace it before it gives out completely or floods your home.

Got Questions About Water Heater Leaks? Contact Us!

Avid Plumbing offers trustworthy, same-day service. When you choose us, you are choosing highly trained technicians committed to honesty and integrity. We’re also dedicated to educating homeowners about their plumbing needs so that you can feel more confident and empowered in managing your asset. To get to the bottom of your water heater leak, call 608-661-2843 or contact us online today.