Having a leaking hot water system in your apartment can be quite troubling. However, depending on the cause, the good news is that there is a quick fix for your hot water system leaking dilemma. To repair a leaky water heater, the first thing to do is to determine the cause of the issue. For instance, a water heater may become leaky as a result of age, poor maintenance, excessive tank pressure, a loose drain valve, or bad plumbing during installation.
Likely causes of a leaking hot water system
As we mentioned earlier, incorrect installation of water heaters may lead to premature leaking of the appliance. For example, a loose drain valve will eventually start to leak. However, a problem like that can be rectified – all you need do is to fasten the valve as soon as you notice it is loose.
Also, the water heater may be damaged as a result of excessive pressure to the tank. Such high pressure can be caused by a bad pressure relief valve and too much pressure coming into the water heater. For such issues, it is best advised to contact a professional plumber, as it can be dangerous and complicated to handle.
Ideally, water heaters work well for 10 to 13 years. But if you ever notice that water is dripping from the base of your water heater’s tank into the burner component, then there is a good chance that old age is responsible for your hot water system leaking. The reason can be caused by several years worth of sediment piling up at the base of the tank. If care is not taken, the base of the tank will rust and eventually become leaky. For such a problem, rather than repairing the rusty base, the best option is to replace the water heater altogether. You may replace the water heater by yourself, but if you think you lack the experience, always call a licensed plumber.
DIY: Repairing A Leaking Hot Water System
With your hot water tank leaking from somewhere and some DIY know-how up your sleeve, you may like to have a go at fixing your system by yourself. If you do so, you will need to adhere to the following steps:
If there is a water supply connected to the water heater, shut it off. Also, if you are using an electric water heater, deactivate the electrical power. Or, if your water heater is powered by gas, shut off the gas supply.
Open the valve at the base of the water heater tank close to the floor to drain out the water from the tank. You may find a garden hose useful in the process – attach it to the drain valve and pass it to the closest drain. This will save you from messing up your floor.
After you have emptied the tank, disconnect the gas line, water lines, and flue pipe if you are using a gas water heater, or the water lines and the power wires if you own an electric water heater. It is possible that the water heater is still very heavy, so use a dolly to take it out of your place.
After the removal of the faulty water heater, clear and clean up the position for the new water heater. Get the new water heater into the correct position and start to reconnect it to the water lines. Afterwards, connect the gas supply and the flue pipe for a gas water heater, or the power supply for an electric water heater. In the case of a gas water heater, ensure that you assess the gas line joints using soap bubbles to check for any leaks.
Then, activate the power/gas supply and start to refill the water tank. If you are using a gas water heater, attempt to ignite the pilot light. Also, check the thermostat and be sure that it is set to your preferred temperature. By now, you can enjoy your newly installed water heater.
Reminder: If you’re planning on getting an expert in for these kinds of problems, you might want to make sure they are fully licensed and can provide you with a Gas Compliance Certificate.
How to change a Water Heater Valve
It is possible that the pressure relief valve on a water heater will not withstand the extreme pressure condition in the water heater or damaged valve. The result? A hot water tank leaking in a way you cannot ignore. You can replace a damaged valve by yourself, as long as you stick to the guide below:
- Switch off the water heater and cut off the water supply. Then, remove some water from the tank
- Discharge the rest of the pressure by lifting the small lever on the valve
- With a wrench, unscrew the valve from the tank. Then, put in the new valve
- On the threads of the new valve, there is Teflon tape. Apply it before screwing it into the water heater
- By now, you can safely refill the water heater tank. Then, activate it
- Some of the other possible leaks may require only tightening the fittings on the water heater and the supply pipes. Also, check and tighten any loose valves too.
Planning on Replacing or Fixing a Leaking Hot Water System?
The scale or the cause of the leak are the most significant factors. In many other instances, a leaking hot water system can be fixed, while in others, a replacement is the only or best option. In the latter case, most homeowners end up replacing the broken system with an identical or near-identical unit. While this can fix the issue, it is not the best option. With continuous upgrades to hot water system technology, it is much better to go for a contemporary choice than to stick with a system produced a decade ago.
Fortunately, you can save all this stress by getting an expert to fix or replace your leaking hot water system.