When the source of a water heater leak isn't obvious, the problem is often with one of its valves or its internal components, like the anode rod or the tank itself. With the help of a professional, you can narrow down and fix the source of the leak before it causes damage to your home. 

Failing Internal Tank

Water heaters traditionally have two tanks: the inner tank, which holds water, and the outer tank, which shields and insulates the inner tank. The internal tank can start to fail with age, and one common cause for this failure is corrosion. While normally corrosion is largely prevented with the sacrificial anode rod, some corrosion is inevitable with enough time. If your tank leaks consistently no matter the temperature and pressure of the water inside, and if you have tested your valves to make sure they are in good shape, the inner tank could be the source of the problem.

High Water Pressure

Water pressure is usually regulated inside the tank, but if pressure regulation isn't working correctly or if it's simply set too high, then water will start to leak from the tank. With high enough pressure, water and steam with nowhere else to go will leak from any available crack or space. When water pressure exceeds roughly 150 psi, the pressure valve will release water to relieve pressure. If left unfixed, this can cause damage to your tank and its different components. When the source of the leak isn't immediately identifiable, water pressure is one of the first things to check.

Corroded Anode Rod

Your tank's anode rod serves one primary purpose, which is to save the internal tank from corrosion by itself corroding instead. If this rod hasn't been replaced in a while, not only does this put your tank at risk by leaving it more susceptible to corrosion, but if its deterioration is bad enough, enough of it will fade away that it can create an opening from which water can leak. If the leak started slow and has increased over time, and if no other factors seem to affect it, this is one possibility. The rod will need to be replaced as soon as possible, so contact a plumber to inspect both the rod and the internal tank as well.

Valve Issues

There are a few different valves that can cause leaking issues if they're starting to fail. The first is the drain valve. If you've recently emptied your tank and have noticed a leak since then, there's a chance the drain valve might not be properly sealed. Another possibility is the inlet and outlet connections; if these connections are not set correctly or are starting to fail, they should be double-checked and replaced if necessary. Finally, the pressure valve can cause leaking issues if it is faulty and lets water out when it should not be. Any issues with these valves can almost always be fixed by replacing the affected valves, though if an issue has been ongoing long enough to damage your tank itself, it may need more repairs.

To have your water heater system repaired or replaced, contact a water heater service today for an examination.