February 29, 2024

3 Reasons Your Water Heater is Leaking and Could Burst

A home water heater leaks from the bottom.

A burst or leaky water heater is one of the top sources of residential water damage. Not only can issues with your water heater ruin areas of your home, but they can be expensive to fix too. 

By knowing and identifying the causes of a leaking or burst water heater, you’ll be able prevent these potential problems in the first place. Whenever you have questions about your water heater, you can always call the friendly team at Applewood. We’ve been keeping Colorado homes safe, dry and in hot water for decades. Call us today!

Why is My Hot Water Heater Leaking?

Don’t let small issues with your water heater become worse. It may be rare, but it’s entirely possible to see a poorly maintained water heater burst. If you observe any of the following signs that your water heater is going out or might explode, have a licensed professional make the necessary repairs right away. 

1. Water Heater Sediment Build-up 

If your water heater is making a popping or knocking noise, it may be due to sediment build-up. Over time, sediment—the minerals in water, especially in hard water—will create a layer at the bottom of your water heater tank. This sediment blocks the water from the burner, forcing the burner to run longer to heat your water. This could deteriorate your tank faster, cause overheating, clog your water heater’s drain and lead to your hot water tank leaking from the bottom.

The solution: 

This problem can be prevented by flushing and draining your home’s water heater tank once a year. This removes sediment that builds up and allows the technician to assess the state of your water heater and improve its longevity. 

2. Water Heater Corrosion and Rust

Rust and corrosion can affect hot water heaters in different ways. If you notice corrosion on your water heater connections – the pipes or valves – it may be time to have those components replaced. Your hot water heater leaking from the top or leaking from the thermostat are other signs that you may have corrosion issues with the water lines or components.

If your hot tap water is a brown, rusty color, you may be dealing with rust inside your water heater’s tank. Your water heater is made of steel and will rust over time. This is why your water has something called an anode rod inside of it. This 3-5 foot rod draws the corrosive elements that cause rust away from your tank and corrodes in its place. So, once the rod deteriorates, your water heater is next. 

The solution: 

To prevent this problem, inspect the anode rod at least once every two years. You’ll probably need to change the anode rod every 4-5 years (or sooner if you have a water softener) to extend your water heater’s life. 

3. Excessive Internal Pressure 

If too much pressure builds in your water heater tank, it will eventually spring a leak or even burst. What causes too much pressure in a hot water heater? Excessive heat. Water expands as it heats up. If your water becomes too hot for your heater to handle, it could cause more pressure to build up than your tank can handle.

 Luckily, your water heater’s tank has something called a T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve. The T&P relief valve is in place to release water when the pressure increases beyond a safe level. However, even with the valve, the extra pressure can put undue stress on the tank over the years. 

Test your valve periodically to ensure it’s working properly. Place a bucket underneath the drainage pipe and lift up gently on the valve handle. Water should come out. If your pressure relief valve isn’t working or if you notice corrosion on it, call a plumber and have your valve replaced.  If you ever notice water pouring out of the pressure relief valve, call a professional plumber immediately

The solution: 

Set the temperature of your water heater between 120-125° F. Any higher than that and you will increase the pressure in the tank and increase the chances of someone in your home getting scalded. 

A licensed plumber checks the settings on a water heater.

Leaky Hot Water Heater Repair in Denver and Boulder

What happens when a water heater bursts? The results aren’t pretty. If you notice strange noises, a hot water tank leaking from the top or bottom, discolored water or other red flags, Schedule an appointment with Applewood today! Get the peace of mind that comes with having a licensed professional assure your water heater’s integrity.

Call  303-328-3060

Schedule Now