Hot water leaks are dangerous. They can cause serious harm to your skin if you are not careful around them. Whether or not to shower when your hot water heater is leaking depends on a number of factors, such as the extent of the leak.
However, generally, it is safe to shower when your hot water heater is leaking.
Leaks can occur on various units of your water heater.
They can start from your supply pipes to the drain valves, including the nozzles. But it is important to note where these leaks happen. In addition, it is crucial that you check the extent of the leaks. If they look serious, then it is a strong sign that you need to replace some parts of your heating unit.
Though showering with a leaking water heater isn’t a problem, the leak shouldn’t be ignored. If it’s serious, you may need to call your local plumber to assess the extent of the damage. If it’s minor, such as a loose fitting that’s out of place, you may need to tighten it (you don’t necessarily need a plumber for this one).
Before you hurry off, we have gathered and answered a few other questions about leaking water heaters, such as: is it safe to leave a leaking?. Read on to find out which concerns you.
IS IT SAFE TO LEAVE A LEAKING WATER HEATER ON?
Even though a small leak in your water heater won’t cause you serious problems, ignoring it for a long time could lead to serious implications.
Here are some of the dangers of leaking water heaters and how to make them safer for your home and family.
IS A LEAKING WATER HEATER DANGEROUS?
Yes! A leaking hot water heater is dangerous!
Although rare, in some instances, leaking water heaters can explode under excess pressure. This may likely happen if the water heater’s pressure relief valve is broken or faulty.
WHY IS A LEAKING WATER HEATER DANGEROUS?
First, there is a high chance your home could get flooded, and the destruction can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
But if you detect this leak early, then there’s a less chance that your water heater will spoil completely, or cause serious damage.
Because a leaky water heater can wreak havoc if ignored, we’ve listed below some of the dangers of having one lying around, unattended to. Keep reading to find out.
A leak in your water heater may not stop the machine from working, however, it could cause it to do much more — that’s heat your water more than it should and make it scalding hot. Unfortunately, if you’re not careful around this leak, you or anyone can get burnt by the scalding hot water.
Gas leak or potential fire
When your water heater starts malfunctioning, it could be that it has a leak somewhere. If it runs on natural gas, then it’s likely you have a gas leak and that’s dangerous. Gas leaks can lead to fire hazards, and this is situation you must avoid. If you smell gas leaks around your water heater, make an emergency call to your HVAC company or your local installer.
This one is a bit obvious, and it’s one of the biggest risks of having a leaking water heater lying around unfixed. A leaking water heater can flood the room where your water is stored. It could damage your expensive floor.
WHY IS YOUR WATER HEATER LEAKING? WHAT IS THE CAUSE?
There are two main reasons why your heating unit is leaking.
1. Broken temperature valve
Normally, when water in your tank get heated up, the pressure in the tank increases gradually. Sometimes the temperature in the tank may get too high, and when this happens, the tank should automatically shut off or release the excess pressure through a pressure valve to keep the temperature and pressure in the tank balanced. Unfortunately, if these safety measures fail, this can result to a leak in your heating unit.
With no safety measures in place, every time pressure builds up in your storage tank, there is a high chance the tank will burst. If this happens, it may not only cause serious property damage but also inflict serious body injury to anyone nearby. There is also a chance an explosion could occur leading to a fire outbreak.
2. Sediment buildup
Water heating units are usually made from steel, which means when they age, rust will occur.
Your water heater has anode rod, which protects the tank from corrosive elements in the water, such as salt and rust. But this rod can only last five years after which it needs to be replaced.
If there’s a problem in the anode rod even before it reaches its lifespan, your water heater tank may not filter sediments properly. And if the anode rod is past its years, you’ll likely get the same issue. This means sediments could build up at the bottom of the tank, corroding the tank and creating tiny leaks. You will know the tank’s anode is the fault if your tap water is brownish or rusty-looking.
What to do if your water heater is leaking.
The first and most important thing you need to do is switch off the water tank. You can either do this by switching off your power supply from your circuit breaker box or directly from the tank. We recommend doing the former because it is safer.
We also advise that you shut off your water supply via the cold water valve on your water heater. Be careful when doing this though. Mixing water and electricity is extremely dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
WATER LEAKING FROM THE TOP OF THE WATER HEATER
Though tank leaks can be dangerous and drain money, leaks from the top of your water heater are much easier to fix than those at the bottom. If there is a leak from the top of your water heater, it could be that:
- The pipes above the water heater are loose.
- The temperature and pressure valve may be leaking, which needs to be changed. Or, it is loose and just needs to be tightened.
- The cold water inlet valve is loose or broken
WATER LEAKING FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE WATER HEATER
There are several reasons why water may leak from the bottom of your water heater. We have listed some of them below:
- If you’ve drained the water heater recently by yourself, it could be that you forgot to tighten the valve well or close it completely.
- The tank in the water may have gone bad due sediments gathering inside the water heater, which could be due to corrosion. This is very common with large water heaters.
- Some leaks come from the top of the tank and run down through the body of the tank to leak at the bottom.