What to Do When Your Hot Water System Develops a Leak

Hot water systems usually work reliably, but sometimes a leak can develop in the pipes, tank, heater or valves. When that happens, you need to act quickly to contain the leak and prevent a flood from damaging the carpets or fittings in your home. Here are a few steps you need to follow when your water heating system starts leaking.

1. Locate the Leak

Some common locations for leaks to develop are around the temperature and pressure-relief valves on the water heater. Joints where pipes meet can be another source of leaks. Sometimes, corrosion can cause a leak from the body of the water heater.

2. Cut the Water Supply

As soon as you find the leak, switch off the mains water supply to the home. This step is important in order to prevent the water from soaking into carpets or wooden floors, where it could cause warping or encourage mold growth. To turn off the water, find the stop tap, which will either be located outside or in a cupboard inside your home. Turn the tap clockwise to close it.

3. Call a Plumber

Repairing a leak in a home water heating system requires help from a professional plumber. Call a local plumbing service to find someone who can replace or repair the leaking part. Do not try to patch up a leaking water heater yourself: an incorrect repair job could lead to too much pressure building up in the tank, which can be very dangerous.

4. Consider Whether to Repair or Replace

If your water heater is leaking, you will need to decide whether to replace the unit or have it repaired. You might assume that repair is the most cost-effective option, but if your water heater is old, it might be better to replace the unit with a more reliable and efficient model.

5. Choose Your New Water Heater

If you decide to replace your water heater, you will need to choose between gas, solar and electric hot water systems. While solar systems are an eco-friendly option, the upfront costs can be very high. Electric hot water systems are less expensive and can also be a green option if your electricity is supplied by an environmentally conscious supplier. Gas hot water systems are not suitable for every home. If you are not sure which type of water heater is right for you, ask your plumber for advice.