When a water heater leaks, it can cause extensive water damage to your home and be one of the most frustrating situations you will experience. Gallons of water rushing all over your home, if the leak isn’t caught soon enough or water isn’t turned off soon enough. The result, you will have expensive cleanup and repairs related to the amount of water dispensed.
Let’s go through some ways you can try and prevent or at least minimize the amount of damage that this time of water leak can cause. The very first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply to the water heater immediately to prevent extensive flooding. You can use an automatic water shut off valve, when the water heater malfunctions
How Does a Hot Water Tank Work?
Conventional storage water heater tanks are the most popular type of water heating system for a single-family home, providing a ready reservoir of 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. They operate by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank, ensuring that the tank is always full. Water heater tanks are typically fueled by natural gas, propane, fuel oil or electricity.
What Causes a Leaking Hot Water Heater?
- Leaking or faulty valves
- Plumbing connections that are installed incorrectly, rusted or blocked.
- The tank could have an install bladder leak, rusted, dented, or a variety of different things could cause it to leak
Possible causes include:
- Faulty T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve
- T&P valve leak due to excessive pressure, overheating or stuck
- Leak from overhead or nearby plumbing connection
- Leaking water tank (corrosion likely)
- In an electric water heater, leakage from a loose heating element bolt(s) or bad gasket
Avoid Water Leaks Through Proper Water Heater Maintenance
The U.S Department of Energy recommends routine maintenance for storage water heaters to keep the unit operating properly and efficiently and to prevent leakage. Procedures include:
- Flushing a quart of water from the storage tank every three months
- Checking the temperature and pressure valve every six months
Inspecting the anode rod every three to four years.
Prevent Flooding by Installing a Water Shut Off Valve
To prevent flooding due to a leaking water heater, install an automatic water shut off valve that will detect the presence of water beneath the water heater and turn off the water supply before there is extensive water damage and excessive flooding in your home.
How does a water shut off valve work on a water heater?
- Automatic water shut off valves generally consist of a brass valve, an attached electric control box, and moisture sensors.
- The valve installs “upstream” of the water heater directly into the plumbing line.
- The moisture sensors are placed on the floor under the water heater or in the drip pan that sits under the water tank.
- If a leak is detected, the sensors will send a signal to the control box which closes the valve and turns off the water supply.
- There is an alarm feature on some shut off valves that will alert you to the issue occurring with the water heater and the water having been shut off.
- The valve will remain closed and the water off until you manually reset it, thus stopping major flooding and excessive water damage from occurring to your home.
Routine maintenance to keep your water tank clean of sediment and operating properly will help prevent water leaks and eventually flooding to occur.. To avoid catastrophic water damage caused by a leaking water heater, install an automatic water shut off valve that will turn off the water supply as soon as the leak is detected. Automatic water shut off valves can also be installed around other leak-prone appliances in your home, like washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerators. In the end, preventive maintenance and a shut-off valve will help you avoid major water damage and extensive home repairs from a massive water leak.
If you need help with resolving water damage in your Utah home, we can help you 24/7 with our fast, thorough, and comprehensive water damage restoration services. Call us today to get a free quote.