How to Fix a Water Heater Leak
LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Bart in Iowa on the line with a water-heater issue. Tell us what’s going on.
BART: I’ve got a water heater; I’m not sure the age of it. It’s been in the house since we’ve been there, four or five years or more. And above it, where the cold water comes in, there’s a pipe and a kind of a joint fitting that’s kind of leaking kind of a green-and-white substance.
BART: It seems to be water dripping off of that but it’s kind of pooling on the top of the water heater and then down the side and then it’s draining.
BART: Luckily, my floor ends right there. It’s not excessive but definitely not what it should be. I’m just kind of curious – maybe my best solution for that.
TOM: Well, what you do have is a leak and what you’re seeing in the green-and-white residue is mineral-salt deposits that – basically, when the water evaporates, it leaves its salts behind and then the salts react with the copper and make this multi-color kind of stain that you’re seeing, that can be pretty attractive but not too good for your pipes.
So, what you have to do here is repair this leak. And if it’s in a joint – a solder joint – it probably just has to be resoldered.
BART: Oh, OK.
TOM: And if it’s not happening – if it’s not a major leak, you can do it the next time you have a plumber in your house and kind of put it on the list. But don’t rub it or try to clean it because that mineral salt also acts as kind of a scab. And if you wipe it away, it might start to leak even more.
BART: Oh, I see.
BART: Yeah, I’ve got a couple of places. I was wondering if – because I figured it was some type of mineral deposit – if it was coming from my – this water softener?
BART: I don’t know if cold water going into a water heater would be softened ahead of time. I guess until you have hot water (inaudible at 0:07:36), it might be.
TOM: Water that is evaporating is going to release its salts. So, that’s what you’re seeing, OK, Bart?
BART: Sure. Yeah, definitely. Yes, I appreciate it.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.