The water heater is an often forgotten about appliance, but when it’s not working it is quite obvious. When the hot water runs out in the middle of your shower, you suddenly realize there might be a problem. You go to the garage, basement, or utility closet to investigate and you find water all over the floor. Your water heater is leaking, which explains the lack of hot water. Now what do you do? The following includes step by step directions for handling a leaky water heater. 

Step 1: Locate the Leak

The first step is to figure out where the water is leaking from. Common sources include the water pipes leading to the water heater, the pressure relief valve, or the tank itself. Do this before turning the water off because it is easier to find the leak if the water is still flowing. Be sure there is significant water leaking. A small puddle or trickle of water could just be condensation. If you are having trouble finding the leak and have had no success in a minute or two, proceed to step 2. 

Step 2: Turn Off the Water Supply to the Water Heater

Start by locating the valve or lever that turns off the water supply to the water heater. If you are unable to locate it, turn off the water to the entire house. If you are unsure how to do that, look up instructions online to locate the main water supply. There is typically a knob or lever located on a pipe in your garage, utility room, closet, or even outside. Turning the water off may stop the leak and prevent water damage to your home. 

Step 3: Call a Repair Service 

Unless you have extensive knowledge of water heaters and experience with repairing them, you will most likely need to call a professional. Appliance repair technicians can inspect your water heater and determine the cause of the leak. They can make a recommendation for repair or replacement depending on the extent of the damage and the cost of the repair. 

Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks 

Water heaters can develop leaks in a few different parts: 

  • Inlet pipes. There may be a leak in the inlet pipes where the water enters the water heater. In this case it is the pipe and not the water heater that needs to be repaired. 
  • Outlet pipes. The leak may be in the outlet pipes that lead from the water heater into your home’s plumbing system. This is also a plumbing problem rather than a water heater problem. 
  • Loose gaskets. Loose gaskets in the pipe connections could allow leakage, which is another plumbing related problem. 
  • Tank. The tank inside your water heater that holds and insulates the hot water can become corroded and begin to leak. If this happens you will most likely need to replace your water heater. 

What About Tankless Water Heaters?

If you have a tankless water heater that appears to be leaking, there are a few different possible causes:

  • Pipes. There may be a leak in the pipes that lead to and from the water heater. 
  • Fittings. The places where the pipes connect to the water heater or to other pipes may be leaking. 
  • Heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is the part of a tankless water heater that heats the water. If it begins to leak it could mean that the part or the entire system needs to be replaced. 

Who Should I Call For Water Heater Repair?

America’s Appliance Repair services a wide range of makes and models of water heaters and other household appliances in Austin and the surrounding area. Our technicians have the necessary training and experience to repair your water heater if possible and if it is in your best interest. 

Call (512) 351-7624 or contact us today to schedule a service appointment.