my water heater expansion tank is leaking. should I be worried?

Noticing a leak in your hot water tank or water heater expansion tank can be a bad sign. However, repairing the issue may be easy depending on where the leak actually is.

The hot water tank itself, as well as the expansion tank, both have various valves and pipes which may become loose over time. If this happens, a quick and simple tightening of the connections may be all it takes to stop the leaking.

Expansion Tank Leaks

In some hot water heater setups, you may notice a smaller tank attached to the larger tank that is the main hot water system. This smaller tank is your expansion tank, and it collects any water that overflows from the main tank.

Since the main tank is used to warm up the water, some internal evaporation and bubbling may happen. In some units, these water vapors may leak out around faulty seals if there is not an expansion tank to collect it.

With an expansion tank, some of the most common areas to notice leaks are around the seals where the pipes enter the tank and the expansion tank and repairing may be as simple as tightening the connection.

If the leak continues, it may be a faulty fitting or seal which needs replaced. This is another simple DIY project that you can do on your own after the hot water tank has been turned off temporarily.

Other Potential Leaks

Leaks on Top

Other common areas for leaks are around the top of the main hot water tank at the inlet pipe, anode rod, or the TPR valve. Each of these areas should be checked on a regular basis to ensure no leaks form over time.

Additionally, in some cases, you may need to replace the anode rod on a regular basis as well, which gives you a perfect chance to check for leaks at the same time.

Cold Water Leaks

As cold water enters your main hot water tank, leaks may be seen around the inlet port or a valve further up on the inlet pipe. Leaks in this area will not usually be a major problem and can easily be fixed on your own.

Oftentimes, simply tightening the valve connections are all that is needed to stop a minor leak. In other cases, replacement valves or inlet ports may need to be purchased and installed. You can find these replacement parts at most plumbing supply stores.

Temperature Valve Leaks

The temperature and pressure relief valve, also known as the TPR, is another area where leaks are somewhat common. This valve can be found on both the main tank and the expansion tank.

If you notice issues around the TPR, a professional will need to be called to replace the valve. While this can be a DIY project, many TPR valves are difficult to reach and can also be dangerous to remove especially if the tank is still under pressure.

If you need more help, feel free to reach out. Our team services water heaters in Manteca, Discovery BayLathrop and (more than) everywhere in between.