Without a water heater, you can’t take showers, wash dishes, or clean clothes. With so many important activities dependent on a working water heater, it’s important to know the status of your water heater at all times. One of the most serious problems a water heater can have is a leak. Here are a few ways to diagnose this serious condition.
Lack of Hot Water
If you notice that you’re running out of hot water more quickly than you used to, it could be because your water heater is leaking. If the hot water leaks out before it can be sent through the pipes, you’ll be wasting water and the energy it takes to heat it.
It’s important to inspect for leaks when you experience a lack of hot water since this condition is often associated with a bad heating element. If you assume that a bad heating element is the cause of your problem, you could overlook a leak that could cause damage to your home.
Puddles of Water
One of the most obvious confirmations of a water heater that’s leaking and needs a water heater repair is puddles of water forming underneath the water heater. It’s important to know, though, that a leak may not always be this obvious. A slow leak, for example, could produce so little water that it evaporates in between drips. Therefore, it’s important to regularly inspect the entire exterior of your water heater to look for signs of moisture.
Another smart way to check for water heater leaks is to listen for sounds of dripping or trickling water. This is especially helpful for a water heater that is in a location that’s difficult to inspect visually. Keep in mind, though, that the sound you hear may be the sound of your air conditioner condensate line removing moisture from your home. Therefore, if you hear the sound in the summer, you’ll want to take some time to obtain a visual confirmation of the leak before you call for repairs. If you notice it in the winter, however, there is a good chance the sound is from your water heater.
Unusually High Utility Bill
In some cases, a water heater leak may be undetectable through visual or aural means. However, if you notice that your gas or water bill is unusually high, it could be another indication that your water heater is leaking. Since a water heater will always be trying to fill itself up as it loses water due to a leak, you could end up losing a significant amount of water that will cause your water bill to spike. Likewise, as the incoming water is heated, your gas bill will rise until you address the root problem.
If your water heater has begun to leak, it typically means that it’s time for a new water heater. Even if your water heater only needs to be repaired, though, it’s a good idea to let professionals handle the task as this can be an incredibly dangerous job for the regular, inexperienced homeowner.
Given the knowledge of plumbing and electricity or natural gas that’s necessary to properly install a water heater, a do-it-yourself installation could easily cause damage to your home or injury to you and your family. If you let a professional handle the job, though, you’ll be able to enjoy an efficient water heater in a relatively short time.