Water Heater Leaking from Top

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Gallo Machisimo

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Hello everyone, happy Sunday!
So I went downstairs to change my furnace filters, and noticed water on the floor. It appears that my hot water heater is leaking from the top. At first I thought it was coming from the hot water outlet, but after drying everything off, it's coming from the are inside that raised ring, which appears to have a brass bolt/plug in it. Is that the anode rod?
My water heater was installed in 2015, and has worked fine since then, and is currently heating water fine now.

Thanks!
 

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Breplum

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That plug may be the anode rod. The plugs, whether anode or alternate T&P are notoriously difficult to remove and may require great strength and a cheater (pipe or bar). Often the whole tank rotates before you can get the plug out.
 

Gallo Machisimo

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That plug may be the anode rod. The plugs, whether anode or alternate T&P are notoriously difficult to remove and may require great strength and a cheater (pipe or bar). Often the whole tank rotates before you can get the plug out.
Thanks for the quick response. That's not sounding too fun at all. I'm a good-sized guy, and I could definitely get a cheater. Is there a trick to stop the tank from moving if it doesn't want to go, aside from a large helper with particularly strong arms to hold it? Are the electric anode rods worth it to keep from having to do it again in the future?
 

Jeff H Young

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Typically a 12 year old water heater leaking unless its visably the nipples , I quote new heater but its possible you can remove and replace plug with a new or clean and put new pipe dope or tape I dont waste my time kinda hate to charge a few hundred bucks and then say sorry its time for a water heater. I dont carry impact wrenches or heavy equiptment tools to change anodes. As A DIY though it could be very well worth an hour or so tinkering with it
 

Gallo Machisimo

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Typically a 12 year old water heater leaking unless its visably the nipples , I quote new heater but its possible you can remove and replace plug with a new or clean and put new pipe dope or tape I dont waste my time kinda hate to charge a few hundred bucks and then say sorry its time for a water heater. I dont carry impact wrenches or heavy equiptment tools to change anodes. As A DIY though it could be very well worth an hour or so tinkering with it
It's just 8-years old, so it seems like it would be pretty quick to be replacing it. But I'm a bit out of touch on how long these things last. I grew up where there was great Lake Michigan water; our hot water heaters would go a really long time. But I'm not sure how long they last where I currently live.
If I can't do it myself, it probably becomes a matter of how long it might take (and cost) for someone to try to break it loose and replace the anode on an 8-year old heater versus the cost of replacing it.
 

Breplum

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How long water heaters last has not-much to do with location.
Aside from quick anode deterioration (rare) and failure to replace (which nobody tracks), it is the randomness of how well the porcelain lining of the steel tank fares.
I have seen many water heaters last only 6ish years. And in the same community, over 25 years (even without anode replacement).
 

WorthFlorida

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Gas water heaters on average do not last long as electric's.
You might see water at the top, however, remove the cover to the burner. If you see water just replace the water heater. You do not want to come one day and have six inches of water.

It doesn't look like it's an issue here, condensation from the chimney draft is possible. Heavy summer humidity, as what's is going on now, could be condensing from the gas exhaust dripping. It could drip down to the burner area.

With the WH off, dry the area of water, use plenty of paper towels to wick up the water. Wait an hour or two and if water returns, it's a leak.
 

Reach4

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Impact wrench is the tool of choice to remove an anode. I am a believer in changing anodes. Most people are not, and I see their point. If you get a sulfur smell in your water, that should impact your anode decisions.

But as WorthFlorida points out, the moisture may well be coming from the flue piping. Condensation, or rain. If it is the anode, how does the water get on top of the steel? The anode bolt is recessed.
 

Jeff H Young

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well only 8 years might be worth messing with . Id try to get a better look at the plug but if you can DIY change that out it might be worth it just have a plug on hand and if its an anode thats also bad use plug temporary .
I changed my own Anode and put a better drain valve in something I dont usualy do or ever do but thought Id give it a try used an impact gun and it took a while to bust loose .
 

pahimovic

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well only 8 years might be worth messing with . Id try to get a better look at the plug but if you can DIY change that out it might be worth it just have a plug on hand and if its an anode thats also bad use plug temporary .
I changed my own Anode and put a better drain valve in something I dont usualy do or ever do but thought Id give it a try used an impact gun and it took a while to bust loose .
Any recommendations on where to purchase a new plug?
I have an AO Smith Electric water heater... the unit has two locations for the pressure relief valve. Installer used the lower one for the valve. The upper one is where the water is leaking on mine.
 

JoSol

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pluming sudpply house, hardware store , big box , amazon or many other places on line
I have the same issue. Leaking at the plug for the alternate pressure relief on top. Should I turn the water and power off to the unit so I don’t end up with a flooded utility room?
 

WorthFlorida

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I have the same issue. Leaking at the plug for the alternate pressure relief on top. Should I turn the water and power off to the unit so I don’t end up with a flooded utility room?
A little weep of water from a threaded fitting will not blow out and cause a flood. The top plug may just need to be tightened. Shut the water off and if it's a gas unit turn the dial off. Remove the plug, inspect it and if it looks good, use Teflon tape around the thread or pipe dope. Reinsert the plug and tighten it.

Do check the plug area at the water heater. Most water heaters will eventually leak where the welding has been performed during manufacturing. If it still leaks after reinserting the plug, it's the tank leaking.
 

Jeff H Young

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never seen a factory installed plug leak though Ive seen many loose nipples on water heater. but if you suspect a leak remove plug dope it up re install pretty simple Also I dont think Ive seen an anode that was loose or leaking but I dont rule it out as possible just not common from what I see
 
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