Why Is My Water Heater is Leaking From Top?

A common question and concern that most homeowners have been when they notice their water heater is leaking water from the top part of the tank. The water heater doing this is not normal and should be a cause for concern and will range in severity depending on how much water is leaking out.

The solution will be to replace the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve.

Water Heater is Leaking From Pressure Relief Valve

If the water heater is dripping from the top, then all you have to do is replace the pressure relief valve. Sometimes the pressure relief valve will leak if it was opened for the very first time. If the leak is just a few drops, then you can wait a day or two and see if the leak continues. If the dripping continues then you know, you have to replace the valve entirely.

Calling a Benjamin Franklin Plumber to come to your home and replace the valve will make sure that the job is done quickly and efficiently. You will never have to worry about it again. Dripping is a small problem, pooling water at the bottom of the water heater is what you need to avoid. (319) 365-6792 

Pressure relief valves are located at the top of the water heater. So, if you’re water heater is leaking a lot of water from the top, then you have a serious problem. If the hole is large and water begins to pool underneath the water heater than you need to call a plumber. Consult our water heater service page for more information.

The reason you need to take precaution when water is pooling around your heater from a leak is because the water heater is attempting to relieve the tank of the excessive pressure by leaking the water out. This means the water that has pooled under your water heater is boiling. What causes a water heater to get too hot? With an electric water heater, a bad thermostat will cause the water heater to get too hot. With a gas water heater, a bad gas control valve will cause the water heater to get too hot.

Do It Yourself Option; * Warning* Can Be Dangerous

If you are going to attempt to fix this leak yourself, we have laid out the process for how to replace and repair the pressure relief valve. Just be careful as missteps can lead to more damages to the water heater, injuries, or property damage.

  1. Turn off the gas to the water heater, or switch the breaker off if the water heater is electric
  2. Close the cold water shut off valve. By design the cold water shut-off valve should be located above the water heater, this is required to be here as a safety measure for this particular problem
  3. Open the valve at the bottom and the pressure relief valve for a minute to drain a little water out of the tank and relieve the pressure.
  4. Remove the overflow pipe from the pressure relief valve. You may need to cut if off completely if it is been glued and molded into place.
  5. Use a pipe wrench to unscrew the old pressure relief valve.
  6. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the new valve, and screw it in until tight, orienting the overflow pipe opening away from the tank.
  7. Reattach the relief valve drain pipe using Teflon tape on the threads. If you have to replace the drain pipe, use pipe and glue that is rated for hot water like CPVC.
  8. Open the cold water cut-off that you previously closed and checked your new valve for leaks.

If you attempted to fix the water heater and successfully replaced the valve, but noticed your water heater is still leaking then the problem exists somewhere within the tank and not the valve. The fix then could range from some options like adding an expansion tank to the water heater. When we replace the valve and water continue to leak, it doesn’t mean the valve was installed incorrectly; it means the valve is doing its intended job, which was to relieve the water heater of the excess pressure.

What Does A Water Heater Expansion Tank Do?

Water heater expansion tanks are used to prevent water leaks from your water heater. When your water heater turns on, the water within the piping system begins to expand. Without the expansion tank, the expanding water can create too much pressure on the heater and potentially fail. The pressure is what causes the water to drip or spew out from your water heater.

Do I Need An Expansion Tank On My Water Heater?

When an expansion tank is installed, the water heater can expand without causing other problems like your current leak. With gas water heaters having high recovery rates and a higher house water pressure the possibility of thermal expansion to 150 PSI increases. In this case, an expansion tank needs to be installed. Mak e sure it is an expansion tank intentionally designed for the domestic water heater and not for a boiler, there is a difference, the boiler type will rust within a year, and is intended for low water pressure.

The plumbers of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Cedar Rapids offer residential plumbing services in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas.

Call (319) 365-6792