Leaking around water tanks are a part of life. Knowing how to do quick fixes and repairs can save you a fortune when it comes to home maintenance. If you think you have a leak in your hot water heater, check to see if it is something you can fix yourself.
The only time your water heater should be releasing water is when you open the valve to drain your tank. If you find that water is coming out of your tank on its own, the problem may not be too serious. Often times your water heater tank may be moved a bit and the valve can come loose that way. This kind of fix is easy and just requires some tightening around the valve.
Leaking from the Valve
Before taking any action, you should be sure that the leak itself is actually coming from the valve. Take a cloth or towel and stick it underneath your valve. If it comes out wet, you know that the drain valve is where the leak is coming from. For a leaking valve, get an adjustable wrench and tighten the washer. This should solve your problem, but if your valve is still leaking, you may need to call a plumber.
Replacing the Drain Valve
If you notice that the valve itself is dry, your leak is most likely coming out from underneath the water heater. This can be fixed by removing the drain valve and replacing it. You will need to empty your hot water tank completely before attempting to remove the drain valve. Purchase a drain valve repair kit for your local home repair store and follow the instruction to install your new valve.
Replacing the Washer in the Drain Valve
A hot water heater leak by the drain valve may also be caused by a worn-out washer. Check to see if the drain valve washer needs to be replaced by unscrewing and see if it tightens any further. Replacing the washer should fix your leaky valve, but if it doesn’t you may have a more serious problem.
Sometimes the hot water heater tank itself will get corroded throughout the body of the tank. This corrosion will cause tears and holes to form in the walls of the tank. If you see anything like this on your hot water heater, you will need to get it replaced as soon as possible. Call your plumber and drain out your tank to prevent any more leaking.