Water heaters, whether gas or electric, will last about 8 to 12 years if you make sure to take good care of them. However, there is always a chance that before this point your water heater could leak. So what to do when your hot water leaks? Well, our friends at Five Star Plumbers, the plumbing experts in Harford County, Maryland, are here to walk you through it.

Why is my hot water heater leaking?

    The main reasons for a hot water heater to leak include:

    1. Broken drain valves – these will cause water leaks from the bottom of the tank. They’re easily fixed by replacing the broken drain valve.
    2. Corrosion – sediment buildup can cause corrosion, cracking, and holes at the bottom of the tank. When this happens, it’s usually time for water heater replacement. 
    3. Loose water line connections – normal wear and tear can loosen the inlet or outlet water lines, causing leaks. This problem can usually be fixed by tightening or replacing the loose, worn water lines.
    4. Broken temperature/pressure valves – These valves regulate the temperature and pressure for water heaters. When they break, they can cause water leaks from the sides of a water heater tank.

    What to do when you discover a water heater leak:

      1. Cut the power – this is the very first thing you should do when you discover a hot water leak. 
      • Gas water heater – find your thermostat. You should see a little knob with three settings: on, off, and pilot. Switch it to off or pilot to shut off the gas and make the heater safe to work on.
      • Electric water heater – go to your breaker panel and find the breaker labeled “water heater.” Turn it off to cut power to your unit. 
      1. Shut off the water – turn off the water by finding the cold-water line leading to your water heater. There should be a valve on the line; turn it to the right until it closes. This will cut off the water and allow you to move on to the next step.
      2. Drain the water tank – If you have a tank (standard) water heater, draining your water heater is the most essential step. It also happens to be the most involved. To drain your water heater tank.
      • Find the drain valve near the bottom of your water heater and attach a garden hose to it.
      • Run the house to a floor drain or sump pit.
      • With the house in place open the valve (on older hot water heaters, this may look like an ordinary spigot; on newer systems, there’s a drain stem with a slot for a screwdriver). You may notice that once you open the valve the water doesn’t flow or flows slowly. This is due to a vacuum in the water heater. 
      • To break the vacuum, open any hot water faucet in your home. This will leat air into the water tank and allow it to drain more easily. Once you have a good flow, the whole tank should drain in about an hour.

      Need Help From An Experienced Plumber? 

      Five Star Plumbing Services is locally owned and operated, being in business since 1991. Our core values include responsiveness, honesty, and integrity. Our technician will provide you with a flat rate fee up front so you know exactly what to expect. No hidden fees. We service residents in both Harford County and Baltimore County.