Everyone has been looking forward to Spring but no one looks forward to a spring leak in your water heater!
Your home is a place of tranquility so envision relaxing and then suddenly noticing that there is water dripping from your ceiling! What if you walk in the door and you find a pool of water on your home’s floor?! Is this some type of new indoor thunderstorm? NO! Your hot water heater is starting to leak or might have already burst.
Here are 3 likely causes of a soon to be leaking or burst water heater.
This is a frightening juncture, but Water Heaters Only, Inc. Santa Monica encounters it daily. We want to share three avoidable symptoms that you can monitor regularly with your hot water heater.
1) Rust is corroding your hot water heater tank
The symptom: Your hot water heater is made of steel, which is mostly iron. This means that over time the water will cause the tank to rust.
Thankfully your hot water heater has an internal rust protection safe-guard: A “sacrificial” anode rod.
This rod, which usually measures between three to five feet, rusts in place of the tank. That is why it is called the “sacrificial” anode rod. It’s taking the rust for the greater good of the hot water heater! But once that rod deteriorates, your water heater rusting out will follow soon after.
The visible symptom: You will notice that your hot, tap water is the color of rusty brown.
The actions to take: You want to inspect the anode rod once every two years and at least annually once the warranty has expired. You will most likely change the anode rod once every 4-5 years. If you have been using a water softener, you might want to even change it sooner.
2) Sediment build-up
The symptom: As the hot water heater gets older, sediment (which is essentially minerals stemming from your hard water) settle at the bottom of your hot water heater’s tank. This mineral layer keeps the water from the burner, forcing it to run longer to heat the water, causing it to overheat and eventually start to break down the tank.
The audible symptom: When you listen to your hot water heater, you will hear a popping, knocking noise. That noise is water being held under the sediment that is bubbling up. This trapped water is trying to escape the sediment layer. Picture boiling water in a pot trying to push off the lid of the pot when it starts to boil over.
The actions to take: In this case, the sediment build-up needs to be flushed from the tanks. This is often done once a year and after you flush the tank, you will then want to drain it.
Click the video above to see our technician turn off a leaking water heater
3) Too much internal pressure
The symptom: Your temperature and pressure valve (T&P valve) keeps opening up to release pressure.
This situation is like what happens if you blow too much air into a balloon and eventually, POP, it bursts! In your water heater, if too much pressure builds in the tank, the hot water heater will eventually bust a leak and burst.
The visible symptom: The T&P relief valve is constantly releasing, opening, and letting off water. And, even worse, if after it constantly is open it just stops then it might have actually broken.
The actions to take: First you want to check how high you have set the temperature. Too high a temperature can build too much pressure in the hot water heater.
Next you will want to test your T&P valve to make sure that it is releasing the pressure from your tank. You can find the valve on the top or side of the tank. Just turn the switch up for 5 seconds and make sure it can release water (watch your feet, that water will be hot!)
Of course the best way to take great care of your hot water heater is to schedule an appointment for one of our professionals at Water Heaters Only, Inc. Santa Monica to perform an inspection or service on your unit.