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Top Causes of Water Heater Leaks and How They Can Be Prevented

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A leaky water heater could mean any of many potential problems, but one thing for sure — it is a clear indication that you are facing a plumbing emergency, and the best course of action is to immediately call in an emergency plumber. As a water heater user, you may want to know the typical causes of leaks in your hot water system.

Here's a look at some of the most common sources of water leaks that most seasoned find when they are hired to repair leaky water heaters.

Corroded water tank

One of the worst enemies of your water heater tank is the sediment that settles at the bottom of the tank. If left to build up over time without being removed, the sediment gradually eats away the tank material, and may leave behind holes that cause leaking hot water.  

To prevent this problem and extend the lifespan of your water tank, it is important to regularly flush the tank so as to get rid of the sediment. Removing sediment from the water tank also helps improve water heating efficiency, which may plummet over time as sediment buildup continues to increase and insulate the bottom of the tank.

Faulty temperature-pressure relief valve

This is a safety component that is designed to discharge water from the water heating system when the pressure inside the water tank or temperature setting is too high. If this component is not functioning properly, it won't allow for systematic release of water out of the water heating system through the discharge piping connected to the valve. Instead, the water will drip or gush out of the valve itself. 

The best way to avoid this problems is to always operate your water heater on the recommended temperature settings and periodically have your temperature-pressure relief valve inspected for damage that may lead to operational failures. Faulty valves should be replaced with the right product.

Faulty drain valve

Drain valves are usually found at the bottom of the water heater tank, and they are used to discharge water from the tank when sediment is being flushed out. If your tank's drain valve is damaged, it may discharge water from the tank even when it has been shut off. If you see water pooling under the floors on which your water tank stands, it is most likely that your drain valve is leaky. 

As with a temperature-pressure relief valve, regular inspection and maintenance service is critical to ensuring that your drain valve remains leak-free.

Having been informed on the typical causes of water heater leaks, you should seriously consider following the preventative steps recommended to help avoid the problem.