A water heater leak may seem small and innocent at first sight, but beware: A leaking water heater can damage your home and belongings and lead to dangerous problems for you and your family. In some cases, they can even be deadly.
Risks From a Water Heater Leak
A water heater typically lasts between 8 and 12 years if properly maintained, but, as with any other household appliance, problems can occur. The most common problem is a leaking water heater. Because water heaters are typically positioned in a closet, garage, or out-of-the-way area, it can be days, weeks, or months before a leak is noticed. These leaks can have a number of consequences.
The number-one consequence of a leaking water heater is damage to your home and your belongings. If a leak is not located and fixed immediately, it can linger long enough to cause serious structural damage to your walls and floor, costing you thousands of dollars.
For this reason, you should never store anything near the water heater or in the water heater closet. Keeping the area around the heater clean and clear will help you spot leaks quickly.
If the water heater leak originates from rusted or corroded pipes, there is the danger of the water supply being contaminated. The rust and debris from the damaged pipes can enter the water supply and be dispersed to every faucet in your home.
The moisture from a water heater leak plus the humidity of the Houston area provides the perfect breeding environment for harmful mold and bacteria. Visible mold in your home can cause nasal and throat irritation, coughing, trouble breathing, and skin irritation.
If you see colonies of mold spreading in your home, or if you or family members show symptoms of mold irritation, call Capital Care Plumbing immediately. We’ll rush over to do an inspection, eliminate the mold, and recommend a strategy to prevent the mold from growing back.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. If your water heater is located near electrical appliances or wires, then leaks pose a serious electrocution threat to you, your children, or your pets.
Although not common, water heaters can explode. Water heaters are equipped with temperature and pressure valves (T&P valves) that release excess water if the pressure gets too high inside the water heater. But if the T&P valve is not functioning properly, pressure can build up within the heater, weakening the tank and leading to an explosion.
What to Do When Your Water Heater Is Leaking
You can diagnose and fix some water heater leaks quickly. Other water heater leaks are more serious and require an experienced, licensed, and professional plumber.
If you suspect your water heater is leaking, turn off your heater by switching the breaker off. If your water heater is gas powered, shut the gas off before switching the power off. Prevent water from continuing to flow into the heater by closing the valve at the top of the heater or by shutting off your home’s main water valve.
When the power and water are off, you can inspect the heater yourself. Make sure the fittings, T&P valve, and drain valve are tight and free of rust and corrosion. If you notice any of these symptoms, let us know. We can fix them or recommend replacing parts or the tank itself if necessary.
Water heater leaks are easily avoided by having your heater routinely maintained. Contact Capital Care Plumbing today if your water heater is leaking or to schedule your annual water heater maintenance.