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Plumbing inspecting water from leaking hot water heater in residential home

Why is Your Hot Water Heater Leaking in Long Island, NY?

Is there a large puddle of water spreading across the floor of your Central Long Island utility room? We don't have to tell you that's a problem — especially if your socks are already wet. Letting that water leak last will lead to large amounts of damage and even more costly repairs. If that puddle is located near your hot water heater, you should definitely check your unit for leaks.

Don't forget to check other nearby plumbing connections and fixtures as well. It would be easy to connect that puddle to a water heater leak, but you should still check your nearby drains, plumbing lines, and appliances for issues — especially if that puddle is particularly large.

Once you've confirmed that your feet are soaked because of your hot water heater leaking, then you can begin troubleshooting your unit to find out if you need professional repairs from a local plumbing company like Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central Long Island.

Checking your unit before you confirm the source of your leak won't help anybody, so be sure you've taken all the necessary preparations that should come before assessing a broken water heater. Those important prep steps will also protect you from further damage — and personal injury — so you can safely figure out the reason why your hot water heater is leaking.

Before You Start Troubleshooting:

Find The Source

Are you sure that the leak is coming from your hot water heater? If your unit is surrounded by other plumbing components and appliances, issues with those systems may make it look as though your heater is leaking, when it's really something else.

If you're unsure about the true source of your problem, we recommend cleaning-up any puddles and placing some towels or newspapers down around your unit. If those materials get soaked, then it's safe to say that your heating system is leaking and you'll need help from a Long Island plumber.

Shut Your System Off

Turning your system off is an important step both for avoiding further damage and avoiding injury. Start by closing the supply valve. The cooler pipe on top is your supply line. It might also have blue markings. Close the valve located along that pipe to stop anything else from entering your unit and leaking out all over your property.

You also need to shut off the power to your system. For gas models, that means locating the valve along your gas supply. For electric models, you need to flip the breaker that connects to your heater.

After you've taken those two key steps, you can safely start troubleshooting. Once you know why your hot water heater is leaking, you can get repairs from your trusted, expert plumbers. Timely repairs from a local Long Island plumber will prevent that seeping liquid from creating higher utility bills, extensive damage, and other frustrating issues.

Common Causes of a Leaking Hot Water Heater

Faulty Input & Output Lines

Supply lines and hot water output pipes are the first thing you should check. Follow along the lines using your hands and check for any drips. Confirm that all connections are sealed and nothing is escaping. Liquid seeping out near the top often drips down the sides of a tank, which will disguise the true source of a leak if you start by checking at the bottom of your unit.

Failing connections are a common plumbing issue in Long Island, so checking the input and output pipes near the top of your model is the best place to start. If you have a tankless water heater, those lines may not be connected to the top, but you should still start by checking those lines. Starting with basic, common issues is always best.

Faulty Valves

If all pipes are secure, move on to the valves located on your unit and along your lines. Did you notice something seeping out of your supply valve when you closed it earlier? Failing valves are also common causes of puddles in Long Island.

There are three important valves you should check anytime you're troubleshooting a leaking hot water heater: the supply valve, pressure relief valve, and drain valve. All three of those can wear down over time, and fixing those faulty components is part of many plumbing service appointments for water heater maintenance or repairs.

The Pressure Valve

Your temperature and pressure relief valve — also known as a T&P relief valve — is put in place to release rising pressure and prevent catastrophic failures. It's an L-shaped connection that normally sits on the side, but some models have them on top instead.

Check the area where it connects to your unit for anything that might be leaking out. You should also confirm that it's closed. If your T&P valve is open, it's likely that the pressure in your system is too high. A professional Long Island plumber can help with that issue, so you don't have to worry about calling for emergency service in the future.

The Drain Valve

This valve is responsible for doing exactly what it sounds like it does, draining your tank. Unfortunately, failures for this essential component are common. Luckily, it's an issue that your local licensed plumber can fix!

Ensure that the valve is completely closed and that nothing is leaking out around the parts that touch the tank. If it's properly closed and something still seeps out of the drain, then you'll need repairs from a Long Island plumbing company to replace that faulty component.

Damaged Storage Tanks

If your leaking hot water heater can't be connected to any of the possible causes above, then it's likely your tank has internal damage. Leaks that come from the bottom of a unit are the most common signs of water tank failures in Long Island; so if you've got a puddle that doesn't start with your supply line, hot water lines, or relief valve, then you're probably a victim of tank damage.

Should You Repair or Replace Your Current Water Heater?

Choosing between repairs and replacement is one of the most common decisions that Long Island property owners have to make — and water heater repair appointments are often the situation that prompts those choices. Even with routine maintenance, most models only last between ten and fifteen years, which is why leaking heaters are such a common problem.

In general, you should consider the age of your current heater and the cost of keeping it maintained with regular repairs. One annual appointment for routine maintenance is typically all you need. If you've been scheduling frequent appointments with your Long Island plumbing company, you may want to consider getting a replacement water heater.

If tank damage is the reason that you have a leaking unit, replacement is the only option — but that doesn't have to be a huge problem. If you have an older unit, replacement is an excellent opportunity to consider getting an energy efficient model that will save money over time.

Is Your Hot Water Heater Leaking in Central Long Island, NY?

Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Central Long Island works with all major models and brands. Whether you have an electric water heater or need expert solutions for gas water heaters, we can help! We serve all our neighbors in Suffolk County, from Brentwood to Middle Island and beyond!

If you have more questions about Long Island's other essential plumbing services or need an appointment with your local water heater experts, call 631-542-2194 today!