When you have had a water heater for a few years, you may start noticing a few problems, such as the water heater leaking or failing to actually provide any hot water. You may also hear some strange popping noises, among a few other problems. These are normally easy to diagnose. This occurs because water heaters have a limited life span, and several of its parts may get corroded. This happens for both, electrical and gas water heaters. What you will find most commonly is a leaking tank or water pooling around it. If this happens, here are some tips on how to deal with this situation.
1 - Check the Drain Valve
The leaking could be coming from this valve being too loose. If so, grab an adjustable wrench and tighten it up.
2 - Check the Water Pipes
Another source of leaking could be the connecting water pipes of your water heater. Try tightening up the fittings where you think water is coming out from and consider that you may have to replace the fitting if it's too old or corroded. Note the make and model of your water heater in order to find the appropriate part for your respective product at your local hardware store.
3 - Check the Temperature-Pressure Relief Valve
If none of the aforementioned issues worked for your water heater, then it's time to check the temperature-pressure relief valve. This valve releases water when the pressure on the tank is excessive. This may occur because the heat has been set too high or the water supply pressure is too strong. This valve usually has arrows that indicate the pressure on it. If it's too high and continues to leak, contact professional help as soon as possible, since too much pressure could lead your tank to explode at any time, becoming a threat to your safety.
4 - Check the Vent
If you have a gas water heater, you may want to check if there are any obstructions in the vent. You can do this by raising the pressure in the tank. Clear it out frequently to avoid related problems.
5 - Checking on the Heating Element Gasket
If your water heater works on electricity, the leaking may come from the heating element gasket being too old or damaged. This will require a replacement. You could either hire professional help for this, or you could do it yourself by turning off the electrical power supply and draining all the water out prior to replacing the worn part.
6 - Checking the Tank
Finally, you may want to check on how old your tank is. As mentioned above, water heaters have a limited lifespan since they get corroded. If this is the case, you'll most likely have to buy a new water heater.
To avoid future leaking related problems with your water heater, try to keep all your valves tight. Valves will get loose with time. Also, remember to clear the corrosion from the valve seats and check for obstructions on your vents. Keep this in mind as part of the maintenance of your water heater.