When you notice water is leaking from your water heater, you’re right to become concerned. The water inside of your water heater is extremely hot, and a big enough leak could damage some of the items in your basement or storage space, or it may even lead to the potential for electrical shock.
There are two places where it is typical for a water heater to develop leaks, and both should be addressed by a professional as soon as possible.
Thermal Expansion Valve
This is a valve protruding from the side of the tank, and it is designed to open when the pressure inside of the tank is too high. If pressure were to build too much, the tank could potentially explode, but the thermal expansion valve stops this from happening.
If this is happening, we recommend turning off your water heater as soon as possible. Usually, there is a shut-off valve located right on top of the water heater. If you can reach this and avoid touching any water (as this can produce serious burns), do so. Ideally, a pipe leads down to the floor so that hot water does not spray everywhere. However, if you cannot get to the water heater shut off valve without potential injury, locate the main shut-off valve to turn off the water to the entire home.
Inside of the Steel Tank
Eventually, a water heater reaches the end of its life as the interior starts to rust and corrode. The steel tank inside of your tank has a protective coating and an anode rod that both help to prevent corrosion, but they really only delay the process. A water heater cannot last forever, and this indicates that the entire system needs replacement. For your safety, shut off the power supply to the water heater and call a plumber right away.
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