Water Heater slow leak from bottom

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Timbuktu, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. Timbuktu

    Timbuktu Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    PalmSprings SCal
    I have a 23 +yo Briggs 42g unit for my cabin which has been in cont' use since at least since 1992. That date was the last time it was inspected by the previous owner,so it could be older.

    Without pics, I will set the scene best i can in case thats useful:The unit is in the bathroom corner against an exterior wall. It is enclosed in a little closet made for it.

    This enclosure makes it impossible to get past the front of the unit to try and locate the leak.
    The rate of the leak is slow enough that Ive been able to place a bath sized towel next to it that becomes saturated after 12-24 hrs and i just switch em out once a day til can get on it.

    The wife says" I cant go without hot water, a shower,wash hair"La Bla Bla,you know what I mean.
    So my question:

    Is it likely ,from my description, it could be fixable enough to give me some time (a week or two or longer until I can get to it?

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    More towels? Maybe put a piece of plastic under the towels to protect the floor. Turn off the water heater and water to the water heater to get rid of pressure in the tank when you are going out .

    Replace as soon as practical.
     
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  4. Timbuktu

    Timbuktu Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    PalmSprings SCal
    R&R ,ok. Floor is saltillo tile over concrete so i cant imagine an issue unless water gets through grout and undermines the adhesives used under the tiles?? is that likely? The towelss work fine and floor doesnt get wet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    23 years was a good run for that.
    When you replace, it's a good idea to take measurements of the space you have.
    You will want the height and the diameter of the existing water heater if you want to plug and play with that. Water heaters come in so many sizes.

    If it's electric, it may slowly leak. I've seen some gas heaters let go pretty badly.

    And just because the water drifts downward doesn't mean the leak is there. It could be anywhere on the tank, including at the top. If water gets to the wiring, it can cause a nice little fire there.
     
    fullysprinklered likes this.
  6. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    In 23 years the tank insulation has gotten better (and thicker) on same size water heaters, so if the space is tight make sure to get a good measurement on the space you have to work with. You may have to go taller if it's looking too snug.
     
  7. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Occupation:
    Sensitivity trainer.. and plumber of mens souls
    Location:
    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
    you need a new water heater... your heater is too old to fool with

    part with some of your money and get a new heater.... install it in a pan
     
    fullysprinklered likes this.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Location:
    Yakima, WA
    The tank has a leak somewhere and it can not be fixed. Tanks have to withstand pressure, and there's no patching that would hold.
     
  9. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered In the Trades

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Occupation:
    self-employed plumber-electrician doing residentia
    Location:
    Georgia
    It's like when your wife gets implants and goes back to school. It's over.
     
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If it is in a bathroom, it had BETTER be an electric heater. Once they start leaking, there is NO WAY to fix them. As mentioned heaters have change drastically in the intervening years so you have to measure to see what will fit into the cabinet.
     
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