Leaks in the plumbing systems should be treated with maximum attention, as they can cause a lot of damage to your house. Moreover, when it comes to hot water leaks, the problem is also of financial nature, because you pay to heat the water that leaks. This is a double problem you have to face, so it’s good to be ready to deal with it as soon as you notice it. Even though water heaters are usually located in basements or rooms without too much furniture or expensive floors, it’s still a good idea to fix all leaks before they turn into a bigger problem.
The most common part that gets damaged and leaks in a hot water heater is the temperature pressure relief valve, also known as the TPR valve. The role of this valve is to release the water each time the pressure or the temperature inside the tank reaches the maximum admitted tolerance. The TPR valve is made from brass and it is located close to the top of the water heater. It is attached to a discharge pipe that releases the excess water in a safe place nearby the floor. It is common that TPR valves develop a dripping leak after several years of functioning. There’s a simple test you can perform in order to check the valve: lift the attached lever for one or two seconds. If the leak doesn’t stop after you do this, it means it is time for a replacement. Replacing a TPR valve is not difficult, but if you feel you can’t handle it, it’s probably wiser to call a plumber. If you notice the valve discharging blasts of hot water on a regular basis, you should ask a plumber for help, as it may be dangerous to replace it yourself.
Another source of a hot water heater’s leak can be the tank inlet or outlet. This happens because the tanks are usually made from steel while connecting pipes are made from copper. This leads to galvanic corrosion which erodes the steel causing water to find its way out of the tank. Such leaks may be quite insidious, thus passing unnoticed for a very long time. Eventually, they will burst into a major leak that will be visible for sure. This type of fault should also be fixed by a plumbing specialist, as it may require soldering skills.