A leaky water heater can cause some serious water damage in your basement. Whether it’s a slow and steady leak or your water heater explodes, the result is the same: a wet basement. And a wet basement can create other problems like mold, dust mites, high electric bills and wet drywall. Learn more.
Leaky Water Heater Solutions in Virginia, Maryland, and DC
Basement issues related to dampness, cracks, and leaking can all be very worrying and cause a lot of physical problems in your basements. The good news is that there can be a solution to your problems.
A leaky water heater is a relatively common problem that nonetheless rarely gets the attention it deserves. If you’re having issues with a leaky water heater, it’s important to address it as soon as you can. However, many people don’t know how to address their problems with a leaky water heater. Instead, they just let these problems boil up until they’re undeniable. What can you do to fix your problems with a leaky water heater?
Do These Leaky Water Heater Pictures Look Familiar?
Leaky water heaters come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be tough to identify any of them. If any of these pictures look familiar, you might have an issue you need to address.
Leaky Water Heater FAQs
Learn more about
There are many things that could contribute to a leaky water heater; you could discover issues in just about every part of it. However, there are a few issues that are most common in a leaky water heater.
Water Supply Line Leakage
The first place that’s common for leaks is the water supply line. This is a line that runs into the water heater with the raw water. Typically, this is a cold water line. The water heater then heats the water for you. However, that means there’s usually a lot of water flowing in through this line, which also means a lot of pressure. That means the supply line is ripe for leakage.
A leak that stems from the water supply line can be difficult to fix because you typically have to shut the water off entirely to fix it. However, it is possible without replacing the entirety of the water heater. Remember that over time, your initial fastening may loosen, so it’s entirely possible for this to happen naturally over months and years of having a water heater.
Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve Failure
The temperature and pressure relief valves are important parts of the water heater, but they’re also some of the weaker points in the system. The pressure relief valve specifically intends that excess pressure leaves through that valve. If the pressure has built up too much inside for one reason or another, one or both of these valves may start to leak.
Of course, the carefully balanced system means it’s very unlikely you’ll end up with either of these valves failing. It’s much more likely there will be a different problem. It’s good to remember this potential problem, however, because you should be checking for all issues, not just the ones that seem most likely to you specifically.
Drain Valve Leakage
It’s especially common for drain valves to leak right after you’ve drained the tank for one reason or another. You may have drained the tank for routine maintenance, to deal with another problem, to move the tank, or for many other reasons. No matter the reason, a leaking drain valve is an important problem you should tackle.
The drain valve is where water is supposed to come out. The problem is not that the drain valve is giving off water; it’s that the drain valve is giving off water when you don’t want it to. A trained professional can help you get to the bottom of why your drain valve is doing what it’s doing.
Buildup of Sediment
Your tap water has some minerals in it, even if it’s filtered. It’s unlikely that you’re running exclusively highly filtered water through your water heater, which means over time, those minerals will start to build up on the surface. This typically takes a very long time, but the buildup of minerals, which you can refer to as sediment, can have a negative impact on your water heater.
If you don’t remove the sediment, it will just keep building up over and over again until it ends up causing problems. This buildup can even push on levers and openings, which can cause them to open up when they’re not supposed to. The leaking might be because of a buildup of sediment over many years.
There are plenty of ineffective leaky water heater treatments out there. In fact, it’s common for people to believe an ineffective treatment is their only option. These are some of the most common ineffective treatments.
Ignoring the Problem
Some people choose to just ignore the problem. These people may believe it’s normal for water heaters to leak, or they may just feel like tending to the water heater isn’t worth their time and energy. However, this is one of the worst ways you could treat your leaky water heater, no matter what the problem is.
No matter what, just ignoring a home problem is going to lead you to bad places. Even if it turns out that a specific problem wasn’t that bad, what are you going to do with the next problem, and the next problem, and the next problem? Eventually, you’ll run into a problem that you can’t fix by ignoring it, and that can be harmful.
Focusing on the Water
In their attempts to fix the problem, some individuals will focus entirely on the water that’s pooling around the leaky water heater treatment. Most often, these people will be trying to fix the water rather than trying to fix the source of the water. This can lead to a variety of issues, including sopping up water for months.
Obviously, in the short run, it’s important to focus on the water. If you see water sitting in your basement around the water heater, you should sop it up with a towel as soon as you can. However, once you’ve dealt with the immediate issue, you should start to consider what’s causing the problem so you can fix the root of the concern.
In some situations, adding tape may be a great fix or part of a fix for a leaky water heater. This method of inefficient fixing doesn’t mean you’re using tape at all. It refers to the issue that some people have where instead of trying to figure out what’s going on, they just add some extra tape to the joints they think might be leaking and leave it at that.
Especially if your water heater is leaking enough that it’s extremely obvious, it’s unlikely that adding tape will really do anything. Rather, adding tape may just bandage over the problem for a short period of time. What will you do once the tape stops working? Will you just add more tape? This is a “quick and easy” fix that doesn’t really fix anything.
Replacing the Water Heater Entirely
It’s true that in some extremely severe cases, you may need to replace the water heater as a whole. However, as with the tape, this isn’t something you should rely on entirely. In fact, it’s almost the opposite of the tape; where the tape is quick and easy, but rarely effective, replacing your water heater is entirely effective, but extremely difficult and often prohibitively expensive.
If you think your water heater problems are so severe that you’ll probably need to replace your water heater, it’s imperative that you talk to a basement waterproofing specialist first. They’ll be able to either confirm or deny your fears by relying on their longstanding knowledge of basement waterproofing issues, which can include leaky water heaters.
Obviously, the ability to fix a leaky water heater instead of having to replace it is beneficial. You can avoid lots of frustration and difficulty in replacing the water heater. However, is it possible? These tenets will help you fix the water heater’s leaking.
Install Additional Support
Sometimes, you might just need additional support for the water heater. Some water heaters may have weak points that tend to need additional support, or else they leak. This depends highly on the water heater you have, the places the water heater is leaking, and any other issues you might be having in your basement on top of the water heater.
Additional support isn’t really something you should take on yourself. Instead, you should definitely consult a basement waterproofing expert. This expert will be able to give you more information about your water heater, any other points in your basement that need fixing, and whether you’ll be able to fix the water heater with additional support structures.
Replace Specific Parts
It may be that your water heater is experiencing failure in a very specific part. For example, if your temperature valve has suddenly started to leak, it may just have a defect. In these cases, it’s often enough to replace the parts of the water heater that no longer work.
Water heaters typically function under a lot of pressure with a lot of heat and steam. This combination of factors means it’s typically not safe to remove a part of a water heater without the proper training. If you’re thinking about using this fix, make sure you talk to a basement waterproofing expert first so they can disassemble the water heater correctly.
Make Sure You’re Using the Product Properly
It may seem silly, but a good method of double-checking your leaky water heater is to make sure you’re using it properly. Obviously, you think you’re using it properly. Most people think they’re doing everything the right way; it’s unlikely for someone to intentionally keep doing the wrong thing. However, it could be worth it to take a quick look at the instructions.
Remember that using the product properly means a lot of things. It means having fastened everything together tightly enough, having positioned it correctly, having followed all safety warnings, and more. At the very least, you should make sure you’re using it properly before moving on.
Use Your Heater in Conjunction with Other Tools
Although you shouldn’t trust something like a basement sump pump to take care of standing groundwater in your basement, it’s true that these tools can be very helpful for many people. If you tend to have serious issues with basement water, you might choose to install a sump pump to preemptively take care of it.
The exact tools you should use tend to vary. Some people might find a sump pump more than enough for their needs, while others may also choose a grated drain pipe. It depends on your current situation, where you want to be in the future, and what the expert believes is necessary. If you’re unsure whether or not you need the sump pump or other drain option, consider talking to an expert first so you can get an expert opinion.
Trust the Experts to Get the Best Results
If you have a leaky water heater in your basement, you’re almost certainly going to have a variety of basement waterproofing issues. This is even worse because it’s coming from the home and not the outside, so something like encapsulation won’t help. Instead, you need to tackle it at the source, and the source may depend on a variety of factors.
Whenever you’re having serious leakage issues with your water heater, don’t try to DIY a fix. Although some fixes may be as easy as a bit of plumber’s tape, most fixes any larger than that are going to be difficult or even impossible to do on your own. Instead, schedule an inspection with a JES basement waterproofing expert to learn more about your options.
CHOOSE THE EXPERTS HERE TO HELP YOUSchedule your free inspection
Free Homeowner's Guide to Basement Waterproofing
Subscribe to our email list today and receive your Free Homeowner’s Guide to Basement Waterproofing, written by Professional Engineers, a $19.95 value! You’ll learn about wet basement problem signs and what they could mean for your home’s health and safety.