Why is my water heater leaking? or Why did my water heater burst?

We all know someone who has experienced a water heater failure. Damages range from replacing ceilings, walls, flooring to using a wet vac to clean up the water in a hallway or garage. According to Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) this problem is listed as one of the top 5 reasons for this type of residential water damage. Average cost to fix this type of damage could be over $4000.00.

All of this can be avoided by checking your water heater regularly.

Water Heater Check List

AGE: Check the age of your water heater, once it reaches its life expectancy, a slow leak or sudden burst becomes increasingly possible.

RUSTY TANK – Steel water tanks will rust after the internal rust protection element called anode rod, deteriorates. A good indication you have a problem with your water heater is if when you run the hot water from the faucet and the water comes out with a brown or rust-like color to it.

How to prevent this issue: Once the warranty has expires, inspect the anode rod at least once a year. Every 4-5 years you will probably need to change the anode rod, and possibly sooner if you use a water softener

BUILD-UP OF SEDIMENTS – Minerals from hard water called sediment will settle to the bottom of your water tank. This layer of sediment creates an insulated layer, which blocks the water from the burner and causes the water heater to run longer to heat the water causing it to overheat and break down and deteriorate the tank. If you can hear popping or crackling noises, it’s a good indication that water is trapped under the sediment and is bubbling up and trying to escape

How to prevent this issue: Once a year flush and drain the tank to remove the sediment to ensure your water heater is working properly

Under Internal Pressure – Picture yourself blowing air into a balloon . . . What happens if you blow too much air? POP! Too much pressure pops the balloon. The same thing will happen in your water heater when too much pressure builds up in the tank. Eventually the tank will leak, burst and or even quite possibly explode to allow the pressure to escape. Luckily, your water heater uses a temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve, which releases some of the water to reduce the pressure. But, even with the T&P the extra valve it can break down the tank. If the valve leaks or keeps opening to release water, pressure will build up in the tank and eventually lead to the inevitable.

How to prevent this issue: When the temperature of the water heater is set to high (140-145) pressure builds in the tank. Keep your water heater temperature at approximately 120-125 degrees. This will reduce your chances of scalding yourself and creating too much pressure. You should also test the T&P valve twice a year to ensure that it is properly relieving the tank pressure.

The best way to ensure your water heater is maintained properly – is to call a professional technician who will keep up on review

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