Water heater leaking from plastic ring on top, not expansion valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Rene J Neyrey, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. Rene J Neyrey

    Rene J Neyrey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Hi all. This 20 gallon A O Smith water heater started leaking like crazy from the top. I assumed bad expansion valve and installed a new one. I think I was wrong. I turned the water supply back on and it's leaking from under this plastic ring around the hole where the expansion valve is. Here's a picture. That 1 inch section of the ring is not adhering and that's where the water is coming out. The rest of the ring adheres and is bonded tightly to the top. What do I do now? Thanks all.

    water heater leak location.jpg
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    How old is the tank?
    The outer wrapper does nothing to contain any water. If the tank has rusted through, it done.
    The serial number will give you the age of the tank. Most last between 10 and 20 years.
    The valve you replaced is a T&P valve.
    Temperature and Pressure Relief.
     
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  4. Rene J Neyrey

    Rene J Neyrey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    Serial # is 1103J005182. I think it's about 10 yrs old. Sorry I mis-stated the T&P valve. Should I take that ring off to see if it's rusted through? Or, just presume it is rusted through and replace the whole thing?
     
  5. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    The connection for the discharge pipe from the T&P valve sure looks cross-threaded to me. I think those plastic
    rings are purely cosmetic: it saves the manufacturer the expense of finishing the edge of the sheet metal opening.
    I'd bet dollars to donuts that if you stuck a q-tip down the opening next to the T&P valve, it would come up
    soaking wet. You might want to try reinstalling the valve again with a little more tape/torque to see if you get it
    to stop leaking. It would be unusual for a rusted-through tank to start leaking out the top, and nowhere else.
     
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    2011 is pretty new. You may have a bad connection somewhere on that.
     
  7. Rene J Neyrey

    Rene J Neyrey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    I checked with the qtip, no moisture at the screw joint. I popped the plastic ring off with a flat head and all I see around the base of the T&P is rust. The only thing I can think to do know is turn the water back on and see if I can see where the water is coming from in the hole around the T&P valve.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Good catch.

    The odds of water collecting under there for some other reason would seem like too much of a coincidence. It could be that is where the leak happens only when the pressure rises to 130 psi.

    Rene, turn on the water but not the power initially. Watch for leaks. Then with all water use stopped, turn on the power. Watch that same area as the water heats.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    1103 November 2003 FIFTEEN years ago. The tank is shot.
     
  10. Rene J Neyrey

    Rene J Neyrey New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2018
    Location:
    Tampa Bay Florida
    I have pronounced it dead. When I turn on the water, the vacant area around the base of the T&P valve fills with water. It's not coming from the bottom of the T&P valve junction, it's coming in from all around. Here's pictures of the south and north side of the hole. Rust. Tanks alot. 20180812_180824_resized.jpg
    20180812_180919_resized.jpg
     
  11. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    The thread is ruined and you have no choise but replacing the WH.
     
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