Hot Water Heater Is Leaking: How Much Longer Will It Last?

Hot Water Heater Is Leaking: How Much Longer Will It Last?

Many people are confused about how to respond to their hot water heater leaking. This explains why many want to know how much time they have after the heater starts leaking. To answer your question, once you notice a water heater leak, you have no time to wait. It is an indication that your water needs replacement.

In general, you should not ignore the leak because it may cause additional damage. However, depending on the severity of the leak, you may only get a few minutes, days, or even weeks. Here are some tips to help you know how long your leaky water heater will last:

Why Is My Water Heater Leaking?

These are a few of the causes of leaks in water heaters:

Faulty drain valves: Your heater can start leaking from the bottom due to broken or loose drain valves. In this case, you can replace the drain valve to use the water heater.

Sediment build-up in the tank: Hard water has minerals that can lead to a build-up of sediments in your water heater. Consequently, the sediment can lead to cracks, rust, and holes in your water tank. In this situation, your only option is to replace the water heater.  

Is It Safe to Use Water if the Water Heater Is Leaking?

A hot water heater leaking is a sort of emergency; however, you can still use water in the heater. However, doing this for a long time will worsen the leak or damage your attic or floor. Therefore, it is advisable not to use the heater until you know where the leak is coming from. 

There might be times when you notice it late at night and still need to shower. You can take a quick shower and stop the water supply to the heater later.

Things to Do Once You Notice Your Water Heater Is Leaking

  • Once you notice your water heater is leaking, you first need to turn it off. Irrespective of the power source (electric or gas) you are using, cut the power immediately. If you are using electric power, switch the power off at the breaker panel. However, if you are using gas power, look for the knob and turn it off.  
  • After disconnecting from the power source, the next thing is stopping the water inflow. Look for the cold-water line leading to your water heater, and start turning the valve to close it.
  • Once you shut off the water supply, you must completely drain the tank. Ensure you drain the water heater completely. You can do this by following these steps:
    • Hook up a hose to the drain valve beneath your water heater
    • After attaching the hose, run it to a floor drain, sump, or a place outside your house
    • Open the valve to drain the water tank through the hose.
    • If you are having difficulty draining the water, the vacuum might be the problem. Once this occurs, turn on the hot water faucet to allow air into the tank to break the vacuum.
    • After draining the water, it is advisable you reach out to a professional.