If your water heater is leaking out the bottom or top of the tank, it usually needs replaced. Water coming from the t&p valve however, is an easy and common repair.
In many cases, a water heater that is not working can be repaired and does not need to be replaced. The first thing that you need to determine is the type of water heater that you have. If the unit is gas, your first step should be to locate the pilot light.
If the pilot light is out you can follow the instructions on the side of the water heater that will walk you through the steps of relighting your pilot being sure to follow all safety precautions.
If the pilot will not light, it may be the thermocouple. For Bradford White models, this is a universal part that can be purchased from your local hardware store. If it’s a Kenmore you’ll have to get a specific part ordered and shipped within about a week.
The t&p valve is another part of the water heater that can often be replaced. The t&p valve is located on the side of most water heaters and will start to leak water if there is a surge in pressure. If the water heater is leaking from any other area, it usually means that your unit needs replaced. A failed t&p valve is usually an indication of thermal expansion, and a thermal expansion tank may need to be installed. This is especially true when the PRV is right by the water heater.
Electric water heaters do not have a pilot light, instead there is an upper and a lower panel. Inside these panels are heating elements that can be replaced which will often restore hot water. If you only have hot water for a short amount of time, it is a good indication that your upper heating element has gone bad.
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