A leaking hot water system is an impending disaster. It effectively means that the system has corrosion and this has created a hole. The only question is where the hole is. When the hole appears in the pipework and valves surrounding the heating system you can replace pipes and valves, effectively keeping the system going for longer.
But, if the leak is coming from the water heater itself, you need to start looking at a new hot water system.
While eventually, every system will leak, there are ways you can prevent this from happening too soon. In short, you’ll make sure your water heater lasts as long as possible.
The most important principle to maintain your system and extend its life is to have the system regularly inspected by a professional. They will identify any pressure issues that could be placing excessive stress on the tank. They can also see where leaks are likely to form and whether the pressure relief valve is on its way out.
A regular inspection can highlight and fix issues before they become a problem. But, you still need to be vigilant throughout the year, especially if your system starts to make strange noises.
Your water heater will collect sediment at the bottom of it. This occurs because there are minerals in the water supply. These and other debris will sink to the bottom of the tank. Over time they will accumulate and make it more difficult for the heater to do its job. This will place more strain on the water heater and the component parts, shortening its life and increasing the likelihood of leaks.
The best way to eliminate sediment and prevent it from building up is to drain your tank periodically and add a tank cleaner. You can then flush the tank before refilling it.
If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself your plumber can take care of it for you.
Leaks can start anywhere in a water system but the most vulnerable points are the joints. Check these regularly and tighten them when necessary.
You should also check all the components attached to the water heater, if it has a nut, make sure it is tight.
The winter brings cold weather and the temperature in your home is likely to vary considerably. This is even worse if the water heater is situated in an outbuilding. The extremes in temperature will place additional strain on the heater and can cause the inner glass tank to crack, potentially causing a leak and catastrophic failure.
If possible, have the water heater moved to a location where the temperature is more consistent, it will reduce the strain on the system.
Don’t forget, if your system does develop a leak you’ll need to take prompt action. The professionals can advise you regarding the extent of the issue and potential solutions. The faster you respond and have the leak dealt with the less likely it is to become a major issue.