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Think You Have a Water Tank Leak? Maybe…

Posted: July 15, 2019

There’s an old saying: if it looks like a dog, walks like a dog, and barks like a dog…it’s probably a dog.

Except when it isn’t.

Now you might look at the title of this blog and think, “What the heck do dogs have to do with water heaters?” Usually, not much. But in this case, everything.

We’ll explain.

If you enter your basement and see a puddle of water near the storage tank of your water heater, chances are you’re going to immediately think “I’ve got a water heater leak” (if it barks like a dog…). This might send you into a state of panic – after all, damage from a water heater leak can lead to structural or even mold problem for your floors, subfloors, and walls.

But is it really a dog…er, leak? Maybe, maybe not.

When you first notice water on or around your water heater, it’s a good idea to do a little detective work before you call for professional water heater repairs; several other culprits could be to blame for your mini-pool, including:

  • Condensation – When humid air comes in contact with a cold surface, condensation (water droplets) form. Enough droplets and you’ve got a puddle. This can happen on the water heater itself, associated pipes, or any nearby appliance.
  • Pipe fittings – If you’ve ruled out condensation as a cause of your puddle, check your pipe fittings – you may have a leak in your water softener discharge lines, furnace drain lines, or other plumbing. Check the entire area: the leak could be coming from an overhead water pipe or other places that are easy to overlook.

A simple way to tell if you have a water tank leak

If you don’t find anything after your inspection, place some paper towels over the area where you first noticed the water. Check the paper towels every few hours for signs of soaking. If after a few days there are no obvious signs of a leak you are probably OK, but do keep an eye on your water heater for a while just to be safe.

If you do have a water heater leak

If you do have a water heater leak, take these actions immediately (see your owner’s manual for instructions, or contact us for help):

Having water heater problems? Black Bear can help. Contact Black Bear today for expert water heater maintenance and repair in our Catskills service area.

If you need a water heater replacement, we can provide a FREE, no obligation estimate on high efficiency storage water heaters and tankless propane water heaters – contact us today to learn more.