Your home’s water heater is essential to keep your family comfortable. Thanks to it, you can take showers at a comfortable temperature, and do washing and cleaning in a more efficient manner. Yet, despite its functionality, it often goes unnoticed, barely on anyone’s radar – until it stops working or starts leaking.
5 Reasons Your Water Heater Is Leaking From the Bottom
Why does this happen? If you’ve recently noticed that your water heater is leaking from the bottom, there could be several culprits.
1. Sediment Buildup
If you’re from out of state, you’ve likely noticed that Florida has hard water. This means that it’s full of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, and other minerals. Over time, these deposits start building up. As a result, you end up with reduced water pressure from your faucets, soap scum stains all over your bathtubs, and a corroded bottom on your water heater tank.
How to fix it: Drain the water tank. To do this, shut off the water heater. If you have a gas heater, turn off the gas switch to pilot. If you have an electric heater, shut off power at the circuit breaker. Then, follow these steps:
Step 1. Shut off the water supply.
Step 2. Wait about half an hour for the water inside the heater to cool down.
Step 3. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater.
Step 4. Place the other end of the hose in a sink or drain.
Step 5. Turn on the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater.
Step 6. Open the water heater’s valve. If it’s too tight, use pliers.
Step 7. Wait for all of the water to drain out of the heater.
Step 8. Turn on the cold water valve and leave it on until the water that comes out is clear.
Step 9. Once the water runs clear, close the drain valve and fill the tank with cold water.
Step 10. Once the tank is full, turn back on the water heater.
2. Loose Drain Valve
The drain valve is located at the bottom of the water heater tank. Whenever your water heater kicks on and off, it’s possible for the vibrations to gradually loosen the drain valve.
How to fix it: You’ll need either a wrench or pliers. Use either tool to turn the valve clockwise to tighten it. Once it’s secured enough, stop turning. Overtightening it could strip the grooves. In turn, you could end up with a bigger leak.
It’s also possible that your heater may need a new drain valve. Note the make and model, and purchase a new one at any hardware store. Once you have the new item, follow these steps:
Step 1. Shut off power to the water heater.
Step 2. Use a wrench to unscrew the valve by turning it counterclockwise.
Step 3. Attach the new drain valve in the hole and screw it until it’s tight.
Step 4. Remember to turn back on the power to the water heater.
3. Too Much Tank Pressure
This could happen either due to high pressure coming from your home’s plumbing or a faulty pressure relief valve (also known as the T&P valve, for temperature and pressure). When the pressure builds up, it can cause water to spill out.
How to fix it: If the problem is the T&P valve, follow the steps below. However, if the problem is caused by your home’s plumbing, you’ll need to hire a licensed plumber to fix it.
Step 1. Drain all the water from the tank by flushing your heater.
Step 2. Lift the lever on the valve to release excess pressure.
Step 3. Use a wrench to loosen the valve and remove it slowly.
Step 4. Install the new valve by turning it clockwise.
Step 5. Tighten it with a wrench.
Step 6. Turn the water back on.
Step 7. Turn the water heater back on.
4. Rusted Anode Rod
Inside every water heater, there’s a component called an anode rod. This is a thin steel pole that runs from top to bottom, and it’s the most important factor that will determine the lifespan of your water heater. It contains magnesium or aluminum around its core. These elements attract molecules in the water that normally would rust metals. This prevents the inside lining of the water tank from rusting. However, if the anode rod becomes fully rusted itself, the water will start corroding the bottom of your water heater’s tank.
How to fix it: Purchase a new rod from a hardware store. Locate the position of the anode rod by looking for a small, circular lid on top of the tank. Remove the cap by loosening it with a screwdriver or butter knife. Use a 1 and 1/16th socket to remove the rod. Turn it counterclockwise. Once it becomes loose, lift the rod out of the tank. Insert the new rod into the opening, and secure it back into place with the socket, by turning it clockwise. Replace the plastic cap.
5. It’s Time To Replace It
Most water heaters last between 10 and 12 years. If yours was installed a decade or so ago, it’s time to bid it adieu. You could attempt to buy yourself more time to budget for it by draining the tank to clean out sediment buildup, but be aware that you may have to start budgeting for a new one.
Call Plumbing Professionals in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie
At Sansone Air Conditioning Electrical & Plumbing, we are always ready to help you. If you live in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie, we can help you decide which water heater is best for your home. We can also help you flush it regularly, install a water conditioner or softener, or fix any issues that may be causing a leak.
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