The average life span for electric hot water tanks is around the 10 year mark, depending on water quality and if you have done any services on the system. So pretty much the bottom line is if you’ve got a water heater leaking from bottom of the tank, it’s stuffed.
We will go over and cover a few points to make sure, but from experiences, it’s a given.
Water Heater leaking from bottom tell tail signs
Without stating the obvious there will be water around the base of the hot water tank. The hole can be at the bottom of the tank, on the sidewall or top.
It can even be coming out around the element area.
Because the tank is insulated the water will run down the inside of the insulation and come out at the bottom.
If you discover a leak around the base area on your hot water tank we have to determine if its the water tank, water valve or from around the electric element area. Their easy checks so let s get into it.
PTR Valve check
On the top third of an electric hot water heater, there is a valve called temperature-pressure relief valve or tpr valve for short.
Some just run a tail off the valve, down the side of the tank and discharges at the base.
This can cause to making the tank to look like it’s leaking, so make sure to have a good look.
Now these valves are meant to leak at times when the water tank is heating the water so when checking the ptr valve make sure the tank is not heating creating a false reading.
best way i do it is turn the heating source off and wait till it cools down and then check. If water is still leaking then have a faulty valve and needs replacing see here.
Electric Element Check On A Hot Water Storage Tank
Make sure power is off to the element from the fuse box area. Remove the 2 screws that hold the cover plate on and check around where the 4 big black bolt heads are.
That is the element and sometimes the element gasket leaks but not very often. Most times if leaking from around this area the flange is rusted out and the whole tank needs replacing.
You don’t have to go poking around in there you will tell as soon as you take cover off. If you see water leaking out around the element area when taken the cover off like in the picture.
You can pull the element out if you are that way incline to see if it is the element seal of the tank.
Depending on the age of the tank say if its getting around its use by date, rule of thumb 10 yrs or so and of course that all depends water quality it might be better to just replace the hot water storage tank all together.
Water Heater Leaking From Bottom
Now if the water is leaking out from around the base of the tank similar to the picture below then there is no other tests to do and the answer is so easy.
Simply its bugged. Non-repairable, throw away and get new tank bugged. Sorry for the bad news but there is nothing else can be done for the hot water storage tank.
If you leave it as it is and think ok at the moment its a small leak trust me it will get bigger. Another thing is that the hot water storage tank is always heating the water as it will never get to temperature as the water is leaking out costing you even more money.
If the hot water storage tank is leaking from around the base itself then it will need replacing.
For a diy person doing a like for like electric hot water heater installation change over is very simple process.
If you have any doubt then get a plumber to carry out electric water heater installation for you just for your own safety. If you are going to tackle it yourself then have a look here for a easy walk through process on electric water heater installation.