Leak Around the Drain Valve


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Old 05-28-20, 08:58 AM
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Leak Around the Drain Valve

Went in the garage last night about 11:30 (because all plumbing problems are noticed at bad times) and noticed that there was a little water around the water heater. It wasn't a lot but there was some. Did a little investigating and discovered a very slow drop from the drain valve. So I put a hose on it, ran it to a bucket (no drain nearby of course), and said "I'll deal with it in the morning." Went out this morning and the wet spot was actually a little bigger and the hose and bucket were dry. So clearly not leaking from a poorly seated gate or something. Looked a little more and now what I think I see, is a little leak around the valve where it screws into the tank. The water was probably using surface tension to slide down the valve and make me think the leak was there when really it was up near the tank.

It's a gas, direct vent, rheem, that is pretty old. The valve is plastic too (grrrrr).

So my questions are
1) Does this happen often?
2) Should I panic since this is an old hot water heater and I really don't want to have to buy new one at the moment?
3) Is this going to be as simple to fix as putting a wrench on the valve and giving it a little turn to tighten it up?
4) If (3) is not the case, is replacing the valve with a new valve going to likely fix my problem? I'm hoping that it will, but want to consult the experts here!
5) What else am I missing or not thinking about?

Thanks!!!
 
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Old 05-28-20, 09:12 AM
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I would severely doubt the valve came loose after many years of use.
It would be more likely the fitting in the tank is rusted.
Did you check the top of the tank well for leaks ?
Water can leak down the inside of the heater and then follow its way out.

Tanks only have a limited life.
 
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Old 05-28-20, 09:32 AM
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I was afraid you were going to say that about tanks only lasting so long. The problem where I live is that all this stuff costs so much to have replaced that we want to milk it as long as we can (plus weíre debating getting rid of it and the boiler and just going with a new boiler and an indirect tank). and I canít replace the tank myself as I have e a back problem and no available assistance so Iíd be SOL.

So taking your advice I did go down and look again. No water or leak on the top of the tank anywhere. Also looked at the valve again and it is dry where it enters the tank. So probably not leaking from there (thatís good news maybe). So the only place left is the valve stem itself. I wiped it dry and it seemed to get wet again so Iím think that might be the issue. Thoughts?

Also attached is a picture of the valve.

 
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Old 05-29-20, 10:19 AM
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Sounds like a tank leak to me too.
 
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Old 05-29-20, 10:29 AM
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If it was a tank leak, would I expect to find some dampness somewhere else too? The drain pipe coming from the tank is actually bone dry. The only dampness Iíve been able to find is from the valve stem down towards the hose connection. Maybe Iím totally missing something though!
 
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Old 05-29-20, 07:12 PM
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If it's just the valve stem...... put a can under it. You could risk replacing it but on an older water heater you run the risk of it snapping off. That wouldn't be the end of the world but not an easy repair.
 
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Old 05-29-20, 07:28 PM
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Oh yeah. Trust me I was worried about that. Right now Iíve just got a bowl under it. At this drip rate I could go about 2-3 weeks before emptying it I think. Iíd like to replace it but am afraid of exactly what why said. I figure Iíll try and do it on a Monday or something so that I wonít have to pay huge rates if I do need to ha e someone replace it for me. Lol
 
 

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