5 min read

Water Heater


Leaking water inside your home is stressful for homeowners everywhere, no matter the circumstances. It can be even more so if it’s because of a leaky water heater. It’s a minor nuisance that can quickly become a significant problem if not handled immediately. This is why it’s important to diagnose the source of the leak right away to begin the water mitigation process and prevent further damage to your home.


Where to Find Your Water Heater


Water heaters for most homeowners are an afterthought – until they start causing problems at home. The key to avoiding significant water damage is to perform regular checkups and maintenance to ensure your unit is working correctly at all times. To do that, you must know where to locate your water heater. There are common locations for your water heater. These are:


  • Garage. The garage is the ideal location for most tank-style water heaters. It provides shelter against outside elements, has ample storage space, and minimizes the risk of water damage in case of leaks. 
  • In the Home. For most homes built before the 1970s, water heaters were commonly installed inside the house. They are usually located next to a gas furnace in the laundry room or a separate utility room/closet. 
  • Attic. Installing water heaters in attics was the most efficient choice in homes built over the last 50 years.


Common Areas of Water Heater Leaks


A number of factors can cause a water heater to leak. Tracing the leak’s location is crucial for quick water mitigation. Follow the tips below to know where to look and quickly identify the leak’s location:


  • Bottom Leaks. If there are visible leaks near the bottom of the heater, then there are two possible issues: a loose drain valve or a crack in the tank. Tightening the drain valve using a pipe wrench may fix the issue. If it doesn’t, the tank may have a crack and require replacement.
  • Internal Leaks. Leaks may not be visible from the outside if it’s coming from the inner tank due to its insulation. Water may leak at the bottom of the tank when this occurs, although that is not an indicator of the leak location.
  • Top Leaks. Leaking on the upper portion of the tank may be due to faulty inlet and outlet valves. It may also be caused by corrosion on the anode rod, loosening of the pressure relief valve, or a crack in the tank itself. Tightening the components may fix the issue if the issue isn’t with the tank.
  • Condensation. If there are no visible leaks anywhere on the tank, it might be due to condensation. Condensate forms when there is a significant temperature difference between the tank and the room. 


Determining the Extent of Water Damage


Water heater leaks can quickly become significant if left unchecked. In most cases, the placement of the heater is key to minimizing damage to the surrounding area. For instance, the potential for damage to your home may be minimal if the water heater is installed in the garage or basement.


However, one drawback is that these locations are out-of-sight, which almost always becomes an afterthought. This means even small leaks have the potential to become out of control, which may lead to damage to your belongings or microbial growth.


The potential for damage is amplified when the water heater is placed inside the home. Even with a drain pan, the water may quickly overflow if the leak occurs at a faster rate than it can handle. The overflowing water may seep into your carpet or flooring, ruin your furniture, or even damage the wall in the adjoining room if left long enough.


What To Do After Discovering a Leak


When you discover a leak in your water heater, it is vital to act swiftly to mitigate the damage to your home and belongings. Follow these tips below:


  • Turn off the water. Turn off the water supply line by turning the valve on your water heater. If it’s not working or you aren’t able to do so, shut off your home’s main water supply.
  • Turn off the power. Locate the breaker switch for your heater and turn it off to stop its heating element from working.
  • Drain the water heater. Drain the water from the tank using a hose that runs from the drain valve at the bottom of the tank to a safe lower area. Vacuum formation can be prevented by opening the relief valve handle while the drain valve is open.

Flush with cold water. Remove remaining sediments from the tank by opening the water supply for a few minutes and allowing the water to drain.


Call the Water Mitigation Experts in Suffolk County


A leaky water heater is a big problem in itself and must be dealt with quickly. Often, these problems can be fixed the DIY way, stopping the leaking almost immediately. In some cases, water damage is too extensive, and you may require professional help for water clean-up and mitigation. In that case, call Restoration 1 of Suffolk County! Get in touch with our friendly experts today, and we’ll be glad to help.