can you still use water if water heater is leaking

Don’t settle for a leaking water heater. Contact Iron Mountain Plumbing today for a water heater inspection and repair service in St. George.

It’s easy to take your home’s hot water for granted if heated water consistently flows from your taps. Unfortunately, water heater leaks are common, so you might ask yourself, “Can you still use water if the water heater is leaking?”

At Iron Mountain Plumbing, our technicians have years of experience and training to work on various types of water heaters in St. George, Utah. We understand the potential problems that could arise from an untreated water heater leak and some of the confusion that often accompanies the issue. Below, we answer common questions about water heater leaks, including whether you can still use your water supply. 

Potential Problems and Dangers of a Leaking Water Heater

A water heater leak is an example of a plumbing emergency. Though you might view the situation as inconvenient, the problem could produce many surprising consequences until you take immediate action. 

For example, some water heater leaks are minor and wouldn’t require you to make big steps to address the problem. However, ignoring a minor leak could expose your home to expensive water damage, mold and mildew growth, and a poorly functioning water heater. 

Still, water heaters can be dangerous and produce the following risks if they leak under certain circumstances:

  • Flooding: Sometimes, water leaks can become major flood events due to the water pressure building up inside the water heater tank. A flood will leave your home more vulnerable to water damage, impacting its structural integrity.
  • Scalding Water: Your water can overheat inside the tank if it leaks due to problems like a faulty T&P valve or temperature detector. Unless you turn off the water supply to the heater and repair the problem, you could burn yourself using the hot water tap. 
  • Gas Leak: If your water heater runs on gas, it could leak hazardous gas instead of water. The fuel poses a serious health risk and could trigger an explosion or fire if the gas leak is big enough. 

Can You Use Water If the Water Heater Leaks?

You and your household rely on hot water for many activities. From bathing and cleaning to washing dishes and doing laundry, hot water is integral to your everyday life, so a water heater leak can be a significant inconvenience and a big source of frustration.

Can you still use water if a water heater is leaking? Technically, you can, but you should use the hot water supply sparingly until you can contact a qualified plumber to repair the appliance. Otherwise, you risk substantial water damage to your home, and you could put your safety at risk. 

You can minimize the effects of the leak while you wait for help by turning off the water heater input. Doing this won’t affect your home’s water supply safety, but you’ll only have cold water flowing from your faucets.

Why Water Heaters Leak

Part of knowing how to spot a water heater leak is understanding how the problem can occur.

Loose or Faulty Valves and Pipes

One of the easiest ways to develop a water heater leak is to have a loose valve or pipe. Your equipment relies on several pipes to bring water into the storage tank or through the heat exchanger in a tankless heater. The valves control how much water enters the appliance.

If a valve or pipe becomes loose, water can seep from the top of the water heater, where you’ll find these components. They’re relatively simple to fix; simply tighten them with a wrench. However, you might need to replace these parts if tightening them doesn’t stop the leakage. 

Damaged Tank

A lack of water heater maintenance can cause sediment to build up inside the tank. Eventually, the sediment will erode the bottom of the tank, causing water to pour from the base of the water heater. Prolonged exposure to high pressure inside the tank can also cause cracks to form, requiring a total water heater tank replacement. 

High Pressure

High pressure goes hand-in-hand with water heaters since the heating process creates steam. If your storage tank has too much steam, it will increase the tank’s pressure enough to cause an explosion. 

A leaking T&P valve could be the culprit. If so, you’ll need to reduce the heater’s temperature and replace the valve.

What to Do During a Water Heater Leak

If you wonder, “Can you still use water if a water heater is leaking?” you might think a quick fix will solve the problem and let you safely use your hot water. However, your leak could be more serious than you realize.

It’s always best to contact a plumbing professional to identify and fix any water heater leak. Still, you can follow these steps after confirming the leak to minimize complications while you wait for help. 

  • Turn Off the Water Heater’s Power: You must turn off the equipment’s power before repairs can begin. 
  • Shut Off the Water Supply: Next, avoid wasting water and energy by turning off the inlet valve on top of the water heater.
  • Identify the Source of the Leak: Look to see where the water is coming from. If it’s at the top of the equipment, it could be loose piping. Pooling water under the heater means the tank has a crack.
  • Remove Standing Water: Soak up as much water as possible to avoid structural damage and mold. 

Contact Iron Mountain Plumbing for Your Water Heater Needs

Though the answer to “Can you still use water if a water heater is leaking?” is yes, you’d still need a qualified plumber to inspect and repair your equipment. At Iron Mountain Plumbing, we offer top-tier plumbing services to residents throughout St. George, Utah, and the surrounding areas.

We can quickly identify why the hot water heater stopped working and make the necessary appliance repairs. Our skilled and licensed technicians can also provide water heater replacement for old, outdated, and severely damaged equipment. Call (435) 422-4667 to book your appointment with Iron Mountain Plumbing today. 

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