Common Causes of Water Heater Leaking from the Bottom
All water heaters have a drain near thebottom of the unit so that the tank can be emptied before removal, or duringroutine cleaning of the tank itself. A leaking drain valve can be identified bymoisture or water dripping, either out of the drain opening or around the valveitself.
The pressure relief valve (T&P valve)is an important safety measure for your water heater to relieve excess pressureif the water heater gets too hot. On most water heaters, the pressure reliefvalve is on top of the unit, but most systems include a tube attached to thevalve in order to channel the water to the floor.
Water heaters that are not cleaned outperiodically can build up sediment in the tank. Salt and other chemicals in thesediment may lead to premature rusting or corrosion inside of a water heaterand eventually cause pinhole leaks to form.
Normally, replacing a water heater shouldbe done by a professional but if you’re a DIYer, you can do it yourself. On mostmodels, you will need to remove the plumbing connected to the water heater, anddisconnect the power inside the access panel. For gas water heaters, be sure toturn off the gas line leading to the water heater, and disconnect the linewhere it enters the tank.
Replace the water heater with a new unitand reconnect the pipes and power. “How long do water heaters last?” isquestion usually related to the water heater tank itself. When the tank isdamaged, it’s time for a new unit.
Some water heaters may experiencecondensation on the water tank. This more common on older water heaters, but itcan happen to newer tanks if the insulation has been damaged or the thermostatis set too high for safe operation. Allow the tank to sit idle for severalhours with the power or gas turned off.