A lot of damage could come from a leaky water heater. When water leaks from the tank, a valve, or the inlet or outlet pipes, your crawlspace or a closet could become damaged, or mold could result. In some cases, a hot water leak can prove dangerous. A leaky water heater is certainly something you want to avoid, but it’s also something few people spend time thinking about.
So could your water heater be headed toward a disastrous leak? It’s possible. Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your water heater is at risk, and take the proper precautions to prevent a leak from any part of your system.
Have You Noticed Strange System Behaviors?
Does the water heater only provide hot water sporadically or does it run out quickly? Does it take a long time for hot water to reach your showers? There are many possible reasons for strange behaviors from a water heater. One is that the water heater simply is not the proper size for your home, and that it needs replacement. Another has to do with a broken dip tube in the unit.
A water heater leak—in the tank, the outlet pipe, or elsewhere—could also be responsible for these malfunctions. Even a small pinhole leak could cause trouble with delivering the proper amount of hot water to your faucets and showers.
How Old Is the Anode Rod?
One maintenance task that’s essential to a longer water heater lifespan is often ignored. If corrosion begins in a water heater, there’s no way to stop it, and the whole system usually needs replacement. Your water heater has a glass lining, meant to prevent corrosion, as well as a sacrificial anode rod.
The anode rod is highly corrosive. It essentially draws corrosion to itself rather than allowing the tank to succumb to its effects. Over time, though, this corrosion eats away at the rod, and it needs to be replaced in order to properly do its job.
Do You Have Hard Water and Scaling?
Hard water—an excess of minerals in the water supply—is quite common in our area. It leaves stains on faucets, makes it difficult for soap to dissolve, and, worst of all, can cause severe damage to pipes and appliances. In a water heater, left-behind scale can rattle around on the bottom of the tank, resulting in a loud banging noise.
This noise is a result of steam bubbles attempting to escape through the layer of sediment to the top of the tank. As sediment, or scale, shuffles around on the bottom of the tank, it wears down the lining, leaving the tank vulnerable to corrosion.
Have You Scheduled Maintenance?
Routine water heater maintenance helps to prevent many of the problems mentioned above, meaning your water heater tank is less likely to develop a leak. There are many tasks a technician may perform to make sure your water heater works properly.
- Checking the anode rod.
- Flushing the tank.
- Checking valves, the dip tube, inlet, and outlet pipes.
- Adjusting temperature and pressure.
We recommend doing this once a year, or more often if you have hard water, to protect your system.