A dripping water heater is never a sign to ignore. It’s also not the place to test your DIY repair skills. Water heaters combine pressure, combustion, a high-temperature gas burner and extremely hot water. While some causes are a comparatively easy fix for a pro, others may be the indication of imminent tank failure and severe water damage. A qualified professional plumber can tell the difference and make an informed decision to repair or replace your unit.
A dripping water heater is normally associated with one of three malfunctions:
Inlet or Outlet Connections
The cold water inlet and hot water outlet convey water under anywhere from 40 to 60 pounds per square inch of pressure. Leaks at threaded connections are a straightforward repair for your plumber. He’ll shut off the water supply, turn off the heater and unscrew the connections. Wrapping the threads with Teflon tape and coating with sealant, and then reassembling the connection, usually resolves leakage. If the leakage originates from a soldered joint, however, he’ll have to cut out the bad joint and solder in a new segment of pipe with a new joint.
A safety device designed to open when internal temperatures top 210 degrees or pressure exceeds 150 psi, a TPR valve may dribble continuously when defective, which is often a result of hard water mineral accumulation on the internal sealing surfaces. A plumber will test the valve action and may attempt to flush minerals out of the valve by operating it manually. If that fails, he’ll have to shut down the heater, drain the tank and replace the valve.
Water heaters generally only last about 10 years. When they go, it’s usually because of internal tank corrosion that begins with minor leakage. Oftentimes, leaking water will drip down onto the burner (creating a sizzling sound), as well as pool on the floor. There’s no repair—a leaky tank is a replacement scenario and the sooner it’s done the better. A total tank rupture could flood your home.
In San Antonio, contact Beyer Boys if you need professional service for a dripping water heater today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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