If you see water leaking from your water heater, then you may panic. After all, the tank is filled with water and a failure can cause a flood in your basement. However, this is not usually the case, and the leak can often be repaired. This is especially true if you see water dripping directly out of the long metal pipe that sits along the outside of the water heater. Find out what is happening when the pipe leaks and what your plumbing professional can do to repair it.
Leaking From the T&P Valve
The long metal pipe that you see attached to the outside of the water heater is connected to a device called a T&P valve. This is the pressure and temperature relief valve, and it is a safety feature that keeps your water heater from rupturing and spilling scalding hot water on the floor. The device is a simple one that is forced open when the temperature or pressure increase within the tank passes the acceptable and safe range. Water is released from the valve and through the metal pipe to relieve pressure.
If water must be released often, then the release valve will weaken. When this happens, water can leak out more continuously, and you will see water dripping on the floor. You can usually see the water leaking, but do not place your hand under the pipe opening. The hot water can burn your skin.
Fixing The Problem
The leak issue can typically be repaired with a replacement of the T&P valve. The old valve can be removed, and a new one will be added over the existing opening. The valves are standard, so your plumber does not need to spend much time on the repair. While this is true, the professional will also need to inspect the unit to figure out why the T&P valve has worn out.
Since the safety device can wear out by simply doing its job, the plumber will look to see if the water inlet pipe is installed correctly. If the pipe is too short, it may allow too much fluid to enter the tank. When water heats up, the T&P valve must release the excess.
Also, if you set your water heater to a high temperature, then pressure may be high enough within the tank to cause a leak issue. In this situation, your plumber may suggest the installation of a larger water heater in the future. This can help to increase the amount of hot water that you have access to so you do not need to turn up the appliance as high.
Contact a company like Experts Plumbing Services to learn more.