How do you fix a leaky water heater? Actually the information is for a friend in New Mexico who cannot afford a repair person. Thanks for any ideas.
Gloria from Santa Cruz, CA
If it's leaking, it's time to replace it. It's old and (by today's standards) it should be very inefficient.
He and a neighbor can do it. If gas fired, I'd pay for the installation and not take chances on minor gas leaks. He's just lucky that it's only leaking. Generally they just let all the water out at once. (01/30/2009)
If it is leaking from the bottom, that means that it has rusted through. You need to replace it, or one day he will come home to a flooded house/garage. (02/02/2009)
By Loretta B.
If the leak is obviously at a place where something threads into the tank, like the pressure relief valve, or around an anode rod, it might be possible to unscrew the fitting, dry the threads, reapply pipe joint compound, and screw the fitting back in. Or if the pressure relief valve itself is leaking, it can be replaced.
But odds are it has corroded through the tank and the water is making its way through the hole and out of the outer shell. Better to get it replaced than to risk severe water damage. Call around to different plumbers and home centers for quotes. Some home centers offer financing deals. In the meantime for safety the cold water valve feeding the tank should be closed, the power or gas to the heater turned off, and the tank drained. (03/19/2009)
By Red Neck
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