water heater leaking from top

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  #1  
Old 01-10-19, 02:51 PM
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water heater leaking from top

I noticed the electric water heater leaking from the top. The picture is dark here but anyway the water is seeping out of the top sheet metal "cap" and dripping down the sides of the water heater. That 1-inch round hole toward the back on the top is full of water and is seeping out dripping down. I was thinking of turning the inlet and outlet valves off and trying to see if I can take that cap off and see whats leaking exactly. Any advice/suggestions before I proceed appreciated, and what probably is leaking and needs to be fixed?

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Last edited by PJmax; 01-10-19 at 04:11 PM. Reason: enhanced picture
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  #2  
Old 01-10-19, 04:13 PM
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How old is the water heater ?

Usually the leak is from the hot or cold connection. Slide the insulation back to check the pipes and fittings. If it's not there it may be the anode rod which is probably under that cap.
 
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Old 01-10-19, 04:51 PM
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The connections are the only thing on top that you could fix so at least take a look at them. If it's not something you can tighten then replacing the heater is your next option as you can't fix a leak in the tank.
 
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Old 01-10-19, 07:09 PM
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It's a pretty old water heater, 2003 I think offhand. I slipped the insulation off those pipes and looked at the fittings, which were fine looking and not leaking. After shutting off the electrical power I removed the cover where the wires go in. It was full of water there, the wire nuts almost immersed in rusty looking water. Probably time to replace the water heater.
 
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Old 01-10-19, 07:32 PM
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Probably time to replace the water heater.

That's what I would do. ...................
 
  #6  
Old 01-11-19, 05:59 AM
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Yep, time for a new water heater.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 10:21 AM
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Okay got a new water heater. Gonna try and install it. Having trouble now with getting the old one to drain empty. Opened the closest hot water faucet and opened up the drain spigot at the bottom of the heater, and also opened up the pressure relief valve. The water just barely trickles out instead of running out. Any advice on what's going on there. Spigot/drain clogged/plugged maybe?
 
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Old 01-11-19, 12:00 PM
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I put a pan underneath the drain to catch the water. Open the drain valve then stick things (wire tie, coat hanger...) up into it to break up the mineral chunks that are blocking the valve. Once it's clear re-attach the hose. You may have to repeat this as it's likely to clog again.

If you are someplace where water on the floor doesn't matter just unscrew and remove the valve. Then if the hole clogs you can use a screwdriver or anything else to poke around and clear it.
 
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Old 01-11-19, 03:12 PM
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Working on draining the old water heater now as per advice given. I noticed this check valve or backflow preventer perhaps type valve installed on the hot water supply line. Is this normal and should I go ahead and reinstall it in the same place when I install the new water heater? Should I assume if I do re-use it that it is working fine and doing what it's supposed to do?

 
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Old 01-12-19, 05:32 AM
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I have never seen a external back flow preventer on a water heater. Most heaters have small plastic flappers in the fitting at the top of the heater to prevent hot water from migrating out when no water is being used.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 09:18 AM
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I noticed this check valve or backflow preventer perhaps type valve installed on the hot water supply line.

Unless it's required by some local code I wouldn't use it again.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 11:10 AM
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I managed to finally get the water drained out of the old heater and then install a new one. I went ahead for now and left that backflow preventer installed in the same spot because I didn't happen to have a long enough length of hot water flex line to make the connection had I chose to eliminate it. I suppose I'll with local code but I doubt it is needed. Kinda curious why it would've been been installed there in the first place.

Also I am curious about the ground wire which connects from the cold water supply pipe to the screw on the plate/cover over the electrical connection on the heater. I suppose that is necessary too, for safety to prevent potential shock I suppose, but in what type of scenario?
 
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Old 01-12-19, 11:24 AM
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Everything electrical is grounded.

A good scenario is......
if you were to connect that water heater to plastic pipe and an element shorted out.
 
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Old 01-12-19, 11:32 AM
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Ok, I'll keep it grounded of course but the water isn't connected to any plastic pipe, and there's no intention of doing so (by me at least). I suppose somebody else could someday connect it to plastic pipe for some reason though (thus the necessity/requirement?).
 
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Old 01-17-19, 12:53 PM
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Was the check valve still working? After a few years of mineral build-up, the gate tend to get frozen in place. I would've eliminated it (got a longer flex).
 
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Old 01-17-19, 07:28 PM
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Was the check valve still working? After a few years of mineral build-up, the gate tend to get frozen in place. I would've eliminated it (got a longer flex).
With the new water heater installed and that old check valve still in place we're getting hot water fine so I'd assume the check valve is still working. I plan on eliminating it and getting a longer flex as suggested, just haven't got around to it, but will very soon. Any idea why the check valve was installed there like that in the first place?
 
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Old 01-17-19, 11:03 PM
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Maybe it was Friday at 4:00 PM and the installer didn't have a long enough flex either.
 
  #18  
Old 01-18-19, 01:05 AM
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Yes and maybe that installer intended on getting a longer flex and eliminating it "very soon" but just hadn't ever got around to it, and never will.
 
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Old 01-18-19, 10:36 AM
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Also I am curious about the ground wire which connects from the cold water supply pipe to the screw on the plate/cover over the electrical connection on the heater.
There should have been a ground wire in the circuit feeding the water heater. There should not have been a need for the external ground wire.
 
  #20  
Old 01-18-19, 10:46 AM
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There should have been a ground wire in the circuit feeding the water heater. There should not have been a need for the external ground wire.
That's kinda what would think too. I'll leave the external ground wire hooked up like it was for now, then maybe when I can get someone more qualified/knowledgeable with electrical on the scene I'll see what he can tell me. thanks
 
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