Can you fix a leaking water heater?


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Old 02-19-24, 02:27 AM
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Can you fix a leaking water heater?

What would be a suitable substance to pour into your corroded and leaking water heater to fill the leak and continue to protect it? I was wondering about high temp paint.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 04:20 AM
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How about arsenic? Just kidding, of course, but the principle is the same. Adding anything to the water supply could be extremely dangerous. While you probably wouldn't drink hot water it's used for showering or bathing where vapor is inhaled and cleaning dishes where a residue can remain. In addition, hot and cold-water mixes at the taps with some remaining.

Some hot water leaks can be repaired (for example, maybe a pipe is leaking) but often leaking hot water heaters should be replaced, particularly when more than a few years old.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 08:52 AM
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Tony P. Well if you could pick, what would you line it with? What about T2? Solder? Good grade epoxy? I don't drink tap water.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 10:54 AM
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C'mon.... be serious now.
There is no way to seal a water heater from the inside.
Anything you put into the tank would come out and clog the faucets.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 11:12 AM
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​​​​PJmax i am being serious, that's why I'm asking questions. What if you had a cup of solder and poured it in there or applied on the outside. Or would that eventually fall off? Idk. Call me stupid but however smart you are the more you use your imagination I think the smarter you get.

What about food grade plastics? Would everything but a proper weld do the trick? What do they line them with on the inside anyway? I don't think it's bare steel
 
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Old 02-19-24, 11:54 AM
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A rusted tank needs to be replaced.

Many tanks are glass lined. That's a glass powder heat bonded to the steel tank.
There are other coatings like porcelain and vitreous enamel which are second in durability.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 12:10 PM
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PJmax hmm... Sounds like replacement is in order. Well they SHOULD make em copper or ss whichever cheaper and /or better if not both together as a choice between them.

I'm thinking I might just spray paint the outside for a while. It's somewhere between the elements
​​​​
 
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Old 02-19-24, 12:40 PM
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I believe you can get stainless steel but would be very expensive.
Copper would be eaten very quickly.

There is a sacrificial anode hanging in the tank. That gets eaten before the tank and coating.
Once that's gone... the tank is fair game.

Years ago... way before my time... they used oatmeal and corn flakes to seal radiators.
The grains would collect at the leak and plug it.

Stop leak for radiators also goes to the leak but needs the high heat of the engine to bond.
 
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Old 02-19-24, 02:54 PM
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Copper world get eaten quick? What's different about a water heater from everywhere else in the plumbing that would cause this? Just the heat?
 
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Old 02-19-24, 03:42 PM
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Many water chemistries will erode copper. It's often the cause of the green stain under a dripping faucet. Heat the water and the reaction is even stronger/faster. In some sections of my county the well water is very corrosive to copper. The water erodes the pipes from the inside out. Sometimes leaving them paper thin and leaking within 10 years.
 
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Old 02-20-24, 05:27 AM
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I'm no expert on this but once a WH starts to rust/errode, its usually bigger than what you see. I'd really hate to see you attempt a repair, especially like painting the outside, and it fail while your gone to town or something. Your taking a chance of water/flooding in your house. Then you'll really be in a fix.

My basic, general advice is to replace it asap.

Good luck.....
 
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Old 02-20-24, 06:03 AM
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I have seen copper water heaters and in most areas (i.e. without water that is unfriendly to copper) those heaters do last a very long time. But as mentioned, they are expensive.

OT: I would guess that water that is unusually corrosive to copper is also unusually corrosive to steel. Also copper pipes in the system will accelerate the corroding of a steel water heater while a magnesium rod inside will retard the corrosion of a water heater of any common metal.

Now that you found some liquid leak stopper that was non-toxic. How do you spread it around inside to the spot with the leak?
 
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Old 02-20-24, 07:26 PM
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AllanJ i didn't find anything. But if I did I would imagine just pouring it in and rolling it around accordingly or just put enough to get the whole thing.

There's gotta be something
 
 

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