FAQ Hot Water Tank

I don’t seem to have enough hot water.

Has it always been this way, or did it just start? If it has just started what have you done for any type of plumbing renovation in your home? This could possibly be due to restrictions on the valves that were installed. The best way to tell is to test another faucet and see if the problem persists there as well. If not then it could be the tank itself and may need replacing or some type of repair. A technician is best in this situation as there is usually a gas valve involved.

If it’s always been this way how old is your tank? Tanks older than 10 years should be considered for replacement once all other variables have been determined to not be the problem.

Sometimes the water heater can have a dip tube inside it which sucks the water from the bottom of the tank first. This tube can corrode and break off with age and then cannot reach enough water in the tank to allow for enough hot water.

For the best answers it is best to call a technician.

My water heater is leaking.

A water heater leak does not shrink or go away with time. It only gets worse, so it’s best to move quickly to fix the problem. Not every small puddle of water found at the base of a water heater is necessarily due to a leak. A water heater and the pipes around it, plus the other appliances typically found nearby, can form condensation, which can accumulate and drip to the floor. Furnace drain lines, water softener discharge lines and other plumbing can also be the cause of the leak. If a small amount of water is noticed under or near a water heater for the first time, wipe it up and try to determine its source through simple observation. Closely inspect the water heater and its plumbing fittings for obvious signs of water leakage. If none are found, inspect other nearby possible sources. Water faithfully obeys the laws of gravity, so pay particular attention to anything directly overhead, especially water pipes.

If the leak seems to be coming from the bottom of the tank then the only fix is to replace the water heater tank. Since the tank itself is wrapped inside insulation and is enclosed in an outer skin, any leak in it will not be visible from the outside. If your water heater has an internal leak water will likely escape at the bottom of the tank. Most water heater leaks are from the tank itself, and are due to age and deterioration. If this is the case the only fix is to replace the water heater.

If the water heater leaking is significant and obvious, turn off the water supply at the cold water shut-off valve. Most water heaters will a valve located above the water heater that will shut off the water supply. This valve will either have a handle that you have to pull down, or a gate valve (essentially a dial) that you will have to turn clockwise to close. If you have a large, serious leak and cannot reach the water shut-off valve safely then you should find the main shut-off valve for the house and close it to stop the water supply to your water heater. Shutting the water off should slow and may even stop the leak depending on where it is coming from. Then call a technician.