Why Your Water Heater Leaks from the Top?

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Why Your Water Heater Leaks from the Top?

Have you noticed a puddle near your water heater? Could that puddle mean your water heater has issues? Or does that mean your water heater leaks from the top? Before you imagine yourself shopping for water heaters, figure out where the leak is coming from.

If you find out the leak is from the top of your water heater, you’re in luck. Most water heater leaks at the top are relatively easy to fix and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. This post will explain three common leaks that originate from the top of your water heater.

3 Reasons Why Your Water Heater Leaks From The top

Water heater leaks from the top troubleshoot and repair
Want to troubleshoot and repair the water heater leak found at the top? Here’s what to look for.

Your course of action when it comes to a leak depends on the source. The first step is to wipe down the top of your water heater with a rag or paper towel, to confirm where the leak originates. Be careful! Any water on top may be hot. Once dried, you can monitor your water heater to determine where the leak’s source. Usually, water heater leaks from the top of the heater come from one of the following sources:

Pressure Relief Valve

Your water heater has an important safety feature on top (on some models it’s on the side) called the pressure relief valve. Should your water heater build up pressure and steam, this valve releases steam and hot air to prevent your water heater tank from bursting. However, the valve shouldn’t leak water.

If you notice water around the pressure relief valve, you can try opening and closing the valve a few times to see if the leak stops. Even wait a day or two to see if the leak disappears. However, if the leak continues, then you’ll need to replace the valve. You can take on this repair on your own or call a reputable plumber to help you.

Do note that if the water is leaking from the piping attached to the release valve, this may be a sign of an overheated tank. Also, if your water is extremely hot, you may have another problem on your hands. Contact a professional to determine the source of the problem.

Loose Pipe Fittings and Leaking Cold Water Inlet Valve or Hot Water Valve

Another area that could be leaking are the areas around the cold water and hot water valves. These two pipes are on top of your water heater and allow cold water in and move hot water out of the heater. The cold water may also be leaking at the inlet valve, located on the cold water pipe just above the water heater. This valve can go bad or may be loose, causing a leak.

One common sign of leaking is pipe corrosion. You can easily spot corroded pipes by the powdery white substance or rust marks around them. If you see signs of corrosion, it may be time to replace the pipes. However, if there are no signs of corrosion, you may be able to simply tighten the pipes with a wrench.

Corroded pipes involve a difficult replacement job that you should leave to a trusted plumber. If you find corroded pipes, give your plumber a call to take care of the problem before it grows worse.

spot 5 hot water heater problems

Corroded Anode Rod

Your anode rod is a particular device in your water heater that helps prevent the whole tank from corroding. Made of manganese, aluminum, and zinc, this rod is called a sacrificial anode. This is because it draws away corrosion that would take place on the sides of the tank to itself. As a result, the rod slowly deteriorates over time. When completely corroded, the anode rod no longer does its job and corroding may begin on the inner lining of your tank!

Water bubbling up around the area where the anode rod enters the tank is a sure sign of corrosion. Call your trusted plumbing professional right away if you notice this leak. At this point, your whole tank should be checked for corrosion because it’s impossible to tell how long corrosion has affected your anode.

You can avoid most of these leak troubles by having your water heater serviced with a routine check once a year. During this check, the plumber will usually flush out sediment, check your relief valve and anode rod and generally evaluate your water heater.

However, even well-serviced water heaters wear out at some point. Should you notice a leak on the top of your heater, now you know what to do. If you can’t solve the problem on your own and need a water heater repair service, you can always call your reliable Orange County plumber.

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About the Author:

Orange Coast Plumbing in Santa Ana, Orange County, Ca. takes great pride in providing plumbing knowledge to our online guests. Our entire team contributes to our blog. We have been in business since 1977 and have seen every kind of plumbing situation. We sincerely hope our posts contribute to bringing you plumbing peace of mind.