leak in hot water tank after power outage

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by alleycat, Dec 15, 2008.

  1. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Illinois
    Greetings from the northeast's ice storm

    After 75 hours, we finally got power back this morning. As soon as the burner kicked on the hot water tank started to leak from the cap at the top of the tank.

    Husband took off the cap and tightened up the screws and the leak slowed to a drip. He called a plumber who said it was not unusual to have a leak after so long without power, and it has now stopped, but I would say it was about a quart of water that leaked out before it stopped.

    Does this sound normal to you?

    Thanks for any input.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,618
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    leak

    I suppose by "cap" you mean the element. It is NOT common for it to happen, but if it was loose, it could have contracted when the water cooled and started to leak.
  3. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    Isn't she referring to a gas WH?
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Maybe an indirect or oil fired too.
    Can you post a pic of where the water came from?
  5. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Illinois
    Here's a picture. Water was leaking from the base of the small disk on the top of the tank. It is oil fired.

    Attached Files:

  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I don't know if that sort of leak is "normal" but it was an easy enough fix. :)
  7. Never seen that type of heater before.


    I've replaced oil-fired water heaters and they didn't look like that.
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Yea, I'm thinking it might be an indirect unit.

    Can you give us another picture showing the whole unit from further back?
  9. Yeah, should be a huge blower assembly at the bottom on the ones I've seen, but there was a 6" flue pipe on top. :eek:



    I've only seen one in my days as a plumber, and that doesn't hurt my feelings as they are rare at best, and very very expensive to purchase.


    The one I replaced was covered in oil residue.
  10. that is Scarey...

    that scares me just to look at one of those things.

    if it is not leaking, dont ask any questioins, cause

    it appears to be very old,


    just be happy that it stopped leaking,

    cause that would be pretty expensive to change out....
  11. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    It is indeed an indirect and leaks on that particular brand are more than common. The tank will probably not last more than a couple more years if that. They were big warranty issues.
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,618
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    leak

    In that case, what, and where, was the plug he tightened?
  13. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Illinois
    Here's more pictures. Maybe I was not describing the system correctly. We have oil heat/ hot water. The system is 4 years old. The leak came from the hot water tank (on the left in the first picture.) The third picture is the sticker on the tank. Water was dripping from the bottom of the bolts around the perimeter of the metal cap on the top of the tank (it's actually two metal disks with a gasket in between.) It was probably a quart or more of water that came out within a half hour or so of power being restored. Husband tightened the bolts and the water stopped. (And he broke one in the process but found a replacement bolt that fit.)

    The cap is pretty corroded. We have well water which is somewhat hard.

    Again, main question is whether it is correct that this can happen after a power outage and is nothing to be concerned about.

    Thank you all for any input. It's much appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
  15. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Messages:
    72
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks for the reply Redwood - it will need replacing because of the corrosion and that is what is causing the water to seep out? The tank is only 4 years old. :mad:
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