We all like to take hot showers or the occasional bath. And of course, running the dishwasher is a lot easier than washing dishes by hand. We depend on our hot water heaters to provide hot water when we need it. But most of us don’t think about our water heaters very much — out of sight, out of mind. But if you’ve opened up the closet or utility room where your water heater is located only to find a puddle on the floor, you may be wondering “why is water leaking from the bottom of my water heater?”
Well, you’re in the right place to get an answer. At Plumbing By Jake, we deal with leaking water heaters on almost a daily basis. Pretty much any time your water heater is leaking, you need to call a plumber. Keep reading to see why, and then call Plumbing by Jake at (928) 377-5910, and we will schedule a service call.
Causes of a Water Heater Leaking from the Bottom
There are a few reasons your water heater is leaking from the bottom or appears to be. In all of these situations, we are referring to the conventional storage-tank water heater. And as with any repairs or replacements, we or course recommend that you call a licensed plumber to take care of these issues.
The Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve
If you have a small puddle or wet spot to the side of your water heater, it may not be a leaky water heater at all. Properly installed hot water heaters have something called a temperature & pressure (T&P) relief valve located on the side (or top) of the tank. This valve will have a long, narrow pipe attached that runs down to a few inches above the floor. If the only water you see is under this pipe, the T&P valve is your problem.
The T&P valve helps prevent potentially dangerous issues from occurring if the water inside the tank gets too hot, or if excessive pressure has built-up inside the tank. The T&P valve relieves the pressure by letting some of the water out of the tank. This water then drips down the attached pipe and onto the floor. If you have a closed-loop system, you may also have an expansion tank, or need one installed. A failure of the expansion tank can cause more water than normal to discharge through the T&P valve.
Replacing the T&P valve, or adding or replacing an expansion tank is an easy repair.
The Drain Valve
The drain valve on your water heater is located near the bottom of the tank in the front. If it is partially open, water may be leaking out and onto the floor. You can check to see that it is completely closed. A leaky drain valve is not a serious issue. The only thing needed is to replace the valve (after draining the tank, of course).
The Internal Tank
Conventional storage-tank hot water heaters have an external skin, or a metal wall that you see, and an internal water storage tank that you don’t see. When you turn on the hot water tap or go to take a shower, the fuel source for the water heater kicks on and heats the water in the internal tank.
If the internal tank is leaking, you won’t be able to see it, but you will see water pooling under the bottom of your water heater. If it’s been leaking for a while, you may have water damage to your subfloor or drywall, depending on where the water heater is located.
The average water heater is built to last 10 years or so. After that, it’s really only a matter of time until the internal tank starts leaking. If you have extremely hard water, the bottom of the internal tank can start deteriorating before that. That’s because the sediment in hard water settles at the bottom of the tank and speeds the deterioration. If the internal tank is leaking, the only fix is water heater replacement.
Water Heater Replacement
If water is leaking from the bottom of your water heater and it’s a result of corrosion in the internal tank, then you need a new water heater. But you want to make sure that you get the right water heater for you and your family.
Plumbing by Jake can help you figure out what that is. We’ll ask you some questions about your hot water usage habits, whether you have a dishwasher and washing machine, and how many people are in your home. We’ll also need to know if your current hot water heater is an electric or gas water heater. Based on your answers, we can recommend the correct size water heater.
Some people are also interested in tankless water heaters. We can go over the pros and cons of tankless and demand hot water heaters with you so you can make an informed choice.
Call Plumbing by Jake for Water Heater Repair and Replacement
If water is leaking from the bottom of your water heater, your best course of action is to get it checked out by a local plumber. Call Plumbing by Jake at (928) 377-5910, and we’ll diagnose the issue and let you know your options. We offer 24/7 emergency service to both residential and commercial clients. Be sure to ask about our plumbing maintenance plans!