Why Is My Water Heater Rusty?

There are many reasons you might have a water heater with rust on or around it, and it’s good to consider all of them. These are the most common reasons you might have rust on or around your water heater. 

Faults in the Water Heater  

Of course, the first thing you’ll probably think of is that there might be faults in your home’s water heater. If you’re dealing with something that appears to have faulty pieces on it, you’re obviously going to wonder whether there’s something wrong with it directly. In this case, it’s a good idea to consider whether the water heater has a problem.

It’s true that especially if there’s rust happening on the water heater itself, it could be a problem with the water heater, and it’s good to either rule it out or confirm it. However, it’s not usually the most common problem associated with a rusty water heater. Usually, you’re going to have another problem that’s causing this rust. 

External Leaks and Water Flow  

It’s always possible you’re having issues because of water that’s coming into your home from the outside. There are a variety of ways this can happen; water likes to expand to fill any space that’s available. The most common external leaking problems typically come from either flooding above-ground or hydrostatic pressure below ground.

Regardless of the type of external leak you have, the water can move to the area around and on your water heater. That can then rust because of the interaction between the water and the metal of the water heater. Water coming in from the outside is an important problem you should strive to address at the source. 

Internal Leaks and Water Flow  

If water isn’t coming in from the outside, where could it be coming from? The answer is simple: the inside. There are many places water can come from the inside. You might have had a pipe burst in your basement, you may have had a flood in the upper level, or you may have just spilled water in your basement. Either way, these are all internal issues.

As with external leaks, internal leaks can be either abrupt or ongoing. Although a quick flood is something that typically happens only for a short period of time, after which you can clean it up and go back to normal, there are also longstanding leaks that can happen for a very long period of time that tend to cause ongoing damp basements.  

High Basement Humidity 

Of all these problems, there is one that can occur by itself or due to any of the above-mentioned problems: high basement humidity. Though some people think of high basement humidity as being something that’s part and parcel of having a basement, the truth is that a healthy basement needs to rely on low humidity to keep its health.

Any type of water entrance, whether it’s from the inside or from the outside, can lead to high basement humidity if allowed. This humidity can cause serious damage to many surfaces on your home, from your water heater to your drywall and even your concrete floors. Even if you don’t feel like your basement is especially humid, you might need a basement dehumidifier to put your basement back to a healthy humidity level.

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