If you find water puddles under your water heater, there are two possible causes that could be behind it. One, the water heater could be leaking due to damage or wear. Or two, the water heater could simply be 'sweating'. Water heater 'sweating' is actually caused by condensation, where warmer air cools against the cooler tank surface, thereby turning into liquid water. Either way, it is imperative that you establish which of the two your water heater is suffering from. To do so, follow this simple test.
Step 1: Wipe any water under the heater
To get started, wipe any water collected under the water heater. Be thorough as you do this. Wipe the water heater as well to ensure there is no residue moisture on the tank's wall. Once done, place a container under the tank, right where the water usually collects. A wide container, e.g. a tray, will do better as it has a broad surface. The reason for placing a container is so that you can distinguish between fresh water droplets from earlier moisture that was already on the floor.
Step 2: Turn the heater off
Next, turn the heater off completely. However, ensure the water heater is full of water. While leaking occurs any time the tank has water in it, condensation only takes place when there is a variable temperature difference inside and outside the tank. In an ordinary situation, turning the tank off should even this temperature difference, thereby eliminating the conditions needed for 'sweating' to occur.
Step 3: Check the tank after an hour
Once you have switched off the tank and placed a tray underneath, leave the water heater for an hour, while still turned off. If water is collecting under your tank, this allowance should provide enough time for that to happen again. After an hour has passed, come back and inspect your tray. If you find any water in it, wipe it dry and replace it under the tank. At this stage, any water on the tray is not conclusive as it could either be a leak or condensation caused by leftover warm air around the tank.
Step 4: Check after an hour
Replace the dry tray under the tank and leave it with the heater still turned off. Check after another hour. If you find water on it, your water heater tank is leaking. If there is no water on the tray, your tank is 'sweating'.
With this information, you can now call in a plumber to fix either problems. If your tank is 'sweating' you can add ventilation around the tank to let hot air out or you can insulate the tank more to prevent hot air from condensing around it. If the tank is leaking, emergency repair is needed to stop the loss of water and energy and to prevent the leak from growing. Call a professional plumbing company, such as Peninsula Plumbing S.A., to assist you with emergency repairs.
If I didn't know better, I'd think my toddler started each day with a challenge to throw something new and different down the toilet. He has managed to put nearly anything can imagine down the toilet. I have gotten pretty good at figuring out what has gone missing down the loo and whether it's something I can fix or something that I need to call the plumber to help me fix it. This blog is for other mums of toddlers who need to get toys out of the toilet and get the toilet back to working condition as soon as possible!