Smart Troubleshooting Tips for Water Heater Overflows
Water heater overflows are a service issue to be handled by a professional plumber. Water heaters generate heat and pressure utilizing an open flame or high-voltage electrode. Those are all factors that, for safety’s sake, prohibit DIY fixes. However, you can narrow down possible issues causing water heater overflows and communicate them more effectively to your plumber by conducting some basic troubleshooting steps.
First, turn the water heater gas valve to the “Off” position or turn off an electric heater at the power switch or circuit breaker. Then, shut the cold water inlet valve on top of the heater to stop water flow into the tank and take the following steps:
- Try to visually identify the origin of the leakage.
- Leakage from a valve on the top or side of the unit indicates temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve issue. Chronic dripping is common when the valve seal is compromised by mineral deposits. In this case, your plumber can replace the valve alone. However, leakage at the TPR valve may also indicate that the unit is generating dangerously high temperatures and pressure that trigger automatic valve action.
- Leakage from the cold water inlet or hot water outlet pipes on top of the heater could result from a leaky threaded connection or corroded pipe. Because water entering the heater is under supply line pressure, leakage at these pipes may spray water when the inlet valve is open.
- A dripping water heater drain valve near the bottom of the tank usually indicates a bad washer or mineral sediment accumulation inside the valve.
- Leakage from the bottom of the tank usually pools directly under the heater. In a gas heater, it may produce a sizzling sound as leaked water contacts the hot burner. A leaky tank is generally a deal-breaker as far as repair – a new replacement water heater is the only option.
At Sobieski Services, Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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