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Hot Water Tank Leaks

I have the worst luck with hot water tanks.  We have lived in 3 different homes and have experienced hot water tank leaks in 2 of them.  My first experience with a hot water tank leak was in my first home and it was not just a small leak – it was a large gush.  The hot water tank was located in a closet in the hallway that led to our bedrooms (no basement in the home) and it burst overnight.  We woke up to a couple inches of water in our hallway and bedrooms.  Of course, it was the middle of winter and a nightmare to clean up.  My second experience, however, was not so bad.  The leak was small and we were able to stop it before it caused any major damage.

If you suspect your water tank is leaking, check around it to make sure it’s not something else.  Many hot water tanks are near other water sources like washing machines or utility sinks.  Or maybe your kid tracked snow through the area and it melted..or maybe stuff like that just happens at my house.  Regardless of your kids and their shoe habits, please check.  This has the potential to become a bigger problem if left alone.

Check the hot water tank’s valve to see if that could be the issue.  Often the problem is caused by a leaky valve instead of the water tank itself.  The valve is called a TPR valve and like any water valve can leak due to corrosion and time.  Also check the pipes going to and from the tank to make sure they aren’t leaking either.  These pipes can rust and erode causing water to leak from them.

If the tank itself is leaking, follow the steps below:

  1.  Turn off the power supply to the hot water tank.  As in any flooding situation, water plus electricity equals danger.   Turn it off at the circuit breaker or fuse box.  If you aren’t sure how to do this, call in a professional immediately.
  2. Turn off the water supply.  Don’t allow more water to get into the tank if it’s coming out.  You should have a water shut off valve near your water tank.  (Remember, righty/tighty, lefty/loosey…I know, I know.)
  3. Call a pro!  You may be able to fix a leaky pipe or leaky valve, but if the tank is leaking, you need a new one.  Trying to patch the tank itself will only lead to bigger problems.

Hot water tanks typically hold about 60 to 80 gallons of water.  Don’t let a small leak become a big mess.  As soon as you discover a hot water tank is leaking, it is important to take immediate action.

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