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Is it Normal for a Water Heater to Leak a Little?


If you see a small amount of water pooling below your water heater, you may be deeply concerned. Or, you may be thinking to yourself, “This is normal, I’ve seen this before and nothing was really wrong.” Which is the correct approach to take? Is it perfectly normal or a cause for concern when a small amount of water leaks from your water heater?

There are two factors in determining whether a leak coming from your water heater is really a problem: the amount of water and the location where it’s coming from. Let’s look at these two scenarios in more detail.

Location of the Leak

Water heaters have a valve that allows them to regulate themselves if their temperature or pressure becomes too high. This release valve is usually located near the base of the tank. If the pressure exceeds 150 pounds per square inch, or the temperature gets above 210°F, the valve will allow a bit of water to drip out, solving the problem. 

Small amounts of water found below this valve are a sign that it is working as intended. However, water leaking from other places is never a good sign. 

If it’s coming from points of connection, where pipes are fitted together, it may just be that the connections need to be tightened. Don’t try to take care of this yourself. A professional will be able to do it safely and efficiently and also assess whether those loosened connections were caused by a pressure problem, which is often the case. 

If you see evidence of corrosion where the water is leaking, the corroded parts will need to be replaced. Sometimes this just means small external components. Unfortunately, if the body of the tank itself is corroded, the entire system will need to be replaced before it suffers a catastrophic failure. As with other home systems, it’s critical to have professional water heater installation in Arlington, MA, because amateur installation is a major cause of water heater repair needs in the future.

Amount of Water

As we said, a small amount is not a concern. However, if the amount is enough to concern you, there are two possible causes that are most likely. One is that the valve itself may be wearing out. When it needs to release pressure, it allows too much water out. This is a minor part, and it’s a simple job for a plumber to replace it.

The other is an issue with the pressure itself: if it’s getting too high very frequently, even small amounts of water will add up quickly. It’s possible for a plumber to add an expansion tank to your water heating system, giving released water and pressure somewhere to go other than your floor.

If you have concerns about how much water is leaking from your water heater, or whether it’s leaking from the right place, we’d be happy to hear from you so we can answer your questions. 

Reach out to Cooling Unlimited, Inc. for all your water heater installation, maintenance, and repair needs.

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