Think You’ve Got a Water Heater Leak? Maybe, Maybe Not…

Water leak

It usually takes you by surprise… you’re sailing along through spring, not thinking much about your water heater, until one day you find a puddle in your basement.

Your first response, if you don’t know much about water heaters, could be panic: after all, damage from a water heater leak, if the source of the leak is left untreated, can quickly snowball into a major structural or mold problem for your floors, subfloors, and walls.

But is the water actually coming from a water heater leak? Maybe; maybe not.

When you first notice water on or around your water heater, it’s a good idea to do a little detective work before you call for professional water heater repairs; several other culprits could be to blame for your mini-pool, including:

  • Condensation – When humid air comes in contact with a cold surface, condensation (water droplets) form. Enough droplets and you’ve got a puddle. This can happen on the water heater itself, associated pipes, or any nearby appliance.
  • Pipe fittings – If you’ve ruled out condensation as a cause of your puddle, check your pipe fittings – you may have a leak in your water softener discharge lines, furnace drain lines, or other plumbing. Check the entire area: the leak could be coming from an overhead water pipe or other places that are easy to overlook.

A simple way to test

If you don’t find anything after your inspection, place some paper towels over the area where you first noticed the water. Check the paper towels every few hours for any signs of soaking.

If after a few days there are no obvious signs of a leak you are probably OK, but do keep an eye on your water heater for a while just to be safe.

If you do have a water heater leak

If you do have a water heater leak, take these actions immediately (see your owner’s manual for instructions, or contact us for help):

An average water heater lasts anywhere from 7 to 13 years with proper maintenance, but many times, replacement can be more beneficial than prolonging the life of an old appliance – and that’s where we can help, too! Be sure to contact Poore’s today about your options for both oil-fired or propane water heaters.

Having water heater problems? We can help. Contact Poore’s today for expert water heater maintenance and repair within our Delaware HVAC service area.