Leaky Hot Water Heater: Fix or Replace?

image of a hot water heater leak

No one likes to come home after a long day at work to discover a leaky water heater. Even a minor water leak could damage your home as well as make your system far less efficient. While you may be tempted to tackle the water heater problem yourself, a DIY option can lead to even greater problems in the long run. Call a certified plumber to inspect the tank and make any repairs as needed. This is the wisest option. In this article, we discuss some of the factors to consider when deciding to repair or replace a leaking water heater.

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When To Repair Or Replace A Water Heater

Keep reading to explore more on whether to repair or replace a problematic water heater.

What Factors Require A Water Heater Replacement?

A homeowner is going to want a quick repair when a water heater leak is discovered because the longer the situation continues, the more damage and expense is incurred. One thing everyone seems to agree upon is that a water heater leak cannot be ignored.

The causes of a water heater leak vary, some of which include such as the age of the hot water tank, the pressure of the water coming into the tank, a valve that is no longer functioning correctly, a crack in the tank or even sediment that has collected in the system over the years. For some of these issues, a parts replacement may be the answer. However, for others, a tank replacement is a far better choice. An experienced and licensed plumber can quickly determine which is a more suitable option.

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Repairing Vs. Replacing Your Leaking Hot Water Heater

It can be difficult for a homeowner to make that call — do I repair the tank that I have or should I invest in a new one? The best way to do this is to call in the professionals who can quickly determine the cause of the leak and the best way to ensure that it is fixed and does not begin to leak again soon. Some factors to consider are how long the tank has been leaking, the age of the tank, and whether or not this repair is going to lead to more costly repairs rather than a long-term solution. Issues like age and location of the leak will help a plumber determine the most cost effective way to move forward.

How Old is Your Water Heater?

water heater anode rod depicting the need for a water heater replacement

While some systems last from 10 to 12 years, and tankless heaters can even work for 20 years or more, it is not often a surprise when a system begins to show signs of wear, or even fail completely, 5 or 6 years after installation. Due to lack of maintenance, sediment can build up quickly in some systems and cause problems.

The Location of the Water Heater Leak

If you discover leaking around the bottom of the tank, the issue is likely from a drain valve or corrosion from mineral or sediment build-up. When the leak occurs toward the top of the tank, a faulty valve or failing joint may be the culprit. Any of these issues can be quickly diagnosed and addressed by a knowledgeable plumber.

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Is it Even a Hot Water Heater Leak or Just Condensation?

A homeowner may discover what they believe is a leak, but is actually just condensation forming due to internal water temperature. A professional can inspect the tank thoroughly and may find that a costly repair is not even needed. If the water outside the tank is from a leak, the plumbing professional will determine if the leak can be repaired with a replacement part, like a gasket or pressure relief valve, or if the problem is more serious and a tank replacement may be a better solution for the long-term.

When A Water Heater Repair Isn’t An Option

If the tank itself is the problem and is leaking, rather than just a valve, pipe, or gasket, it is time to install a new hot water tank to provide efficient and reliable service. A leaking tank cannot be adequately repaired. A plumbing expert can let you know when replacement is the only option and can determine the best way to work within your budget to ensure that you get a new system that will meet all of your hot water needs.

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Conclusion

A water heater leak does not always spell out disaster. While your first thought may be that the system is going to need a costly replacement that may not actually be the case. A leak in a tank that is less than ten years old is often the result of a more minor issue in one of the parts that make up the system rather than in the tank itself. An expert can often repair it inexpensively.

However, particularly in older systems, the leak may mean that a water heater replacement is needed. In this case, an experienced plumber can inspect the entire system, recommend a brand and style of tank, or even a tankless system upgrade, that will better meet your household needs. A replacement tank can improve your water pressure, lower your monthly utility bills, and give you the peace of mind that comes from having a professional system installed by someone with the expertise to ensure that it is done correctly.

There are some minor issues that a homeowner can attend to when it comes to a home’s plumbing, but for larger, potentially dangerous problems like a leak in the hot water heating tank, it is always wise to get the advice of an expert who can inspect the tank and the entire system quickly and knows exactly how to proceed to keep your home’s water system safe and functioning as it should.

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Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We have lots of plumbing services ranging from water heater repairs, garbage disposal leaks, toilet repairs, faucet upgrades, water leak repairs, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your budget and home.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

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