Skip to Main Content
BasementGutter Installation with level

Leaking Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater that’s under too much pressure can cause serious water damage in your basement. Reach out for professional help today.

Get A Free Estimate

Your hot water heater is one of the hardest working devices in your house. Without a functional hot water heater, you’re out of hot showers, clean dishes, clean clothes, and more. But your troubles don’t start and end with hot water if your heater gives out. A leaking hot water heater can flood the whole of your basement. 

The good news is that you don’t have to try and fix a damaged water heater on your own. Instead, you can reach out to the professional contractors serving Cleveland, Ohio. These parties can step in and make sure that your home is as dry as possible while also replacing or repairing your damaged water heater. 

Common Types of Water Heater Damage 

Your water heater can suffer from more than one kind of damage. While leaks tend to cause the most damage throughout the whole of your basement, the other types of damage can include but are not limited to: 

  • Thermostat malfunction – The thermostat attached to your water heater does more than control the temperature of the water throughout your home. It also helps you control how much pressure your water heater has to endure. If your thermometer malfunctions, pressure can build inside of your water heater until it’s no longer safe to use. The pipes may explode or otherwise suffer, and you could end up with a basement full of water.
  • Gas leaks – If you have a gas-based water heater, then you need to keep an eye out for signs of a gas leak in your home. The valves that connect your heater to your gas can easily weaken and put your family’s health at risk. Of course, more forms of natural gas are given a scent. That scent can give a gas leak around your water heater away. If you think you’re contending with a water heater gas leak, you’ll want to schedule a professional inspection as soon as possible both with area contractors and with the county representatives who help control the flow of natural gas through your area. 

Leaks, however, can have the biggest impact on your basement of all. Thermostat failures, as mentioned, can cause the pipes attached to your water heater to break and leak. However, cold temperatures can also cause your heater’s pipes to contract to the point where they can no longer effectively carry water through your home. 

Rust can weaken your pipes in other parts of your home or at your water heater’s source. In both scenarios, water can start to fill your basement, worsening the amount of hydrostatic pressure that the space has to deal with. If you let this kind of damage go unaddressed for too long, you may find yourself contending with a traditional basement leak on top of your water heater damage. 

Common Signs of Water Heater Damage 

The good news is that water heater damage of all types tends to give itself away. Some of the most common signs of water heater damage include but are not limited to: 

  • Gas smells 
  • Rust 
  • Unusual noises in your basement 
  • Standing water 
  • Problems controlling the temperature of the water in your home 
  • Dirty water 

Of course, there are times when the signs indicating basement damage may also indicate damage to your water heater. A water heater that’s been leaking for an extended period of time, for example, can add to the hydrostatic pressure that the rest of your home has to endure. In time, you can see gaps start to form between your basement floor and walls. You may also notice the humidity in your home rising for seemingly no reason at all. 

While you’ll want to try and prevent your water heater damage from getting to the point where it’s compromised your basement, you can still keep an eye out for signs of unanticipated damage. Some of the most common signs of basement damage related to a leaking water heater include: 

  • Sinking upper-level floors 
  • Higher electrical and water bills than normal 

The Forces Behind Water Heater Damage 

Your water heater can stop working for a myriad of reasons. Internal forces have just as much of an influence over your water heater’s effectiveness as external ones, meaning that it may not be easy for you to determine the cause of your damage at first glance. 

Even if you don’t know what kind of damage you’re looking at, the professionals in your area can help. They can sift through the symptoms of damage in your basement and let you know which forces—internal, external, or collaborative—have made your life more difficult. The most common of these forces include but are not limited to: 

Age 

Any water heater that’s over 10 years old may start to show signs of wear and tear, no matter how well it’s been maintained. There comes a certain point, after all, where maintenance isn’t going to do more for your water heater. Instead, it may simply drain your pocketbook as new leaks spring up throughout your heater. Signs of extensive water heater age can include rust, odd sounds, and cooler water temperatures throughout your home. 

If your water heater is on the older side and it continues to show signs of damage, reach out to the professional contractors in your area. These parties can help you determine where it’s in your best interest to invest in temporary repairs or to replace your water heater entirely. 

Hydrostatic Pressure 

That said, there are forces that can originate throughout your basement that can make your water heater more prone to damage. Hydrostatic pressure, for example, is a relentless force that can put the structural integrity of your basement at risk while also weakening parts of your water heater. 

Hydrostatic pressure builds up outside of your water heater’s pipes when moisture makes its way into your home. Once inside, this pressure can cause your pipes to expand and contract on a molecular level. As these molecules grow colder, they’ll shrink. As they warm back up again, they’ll expand.  

Changes of this kind aren’t a problem when they happen infrequently. If they start to happen too often, however, they can put your pipes under so much stress that they eventually crack open. Unfortunately, hydrostatic pressure is a force that tends to build on itself. As water from your water heater’s pipes leaks into the air, the amount of hydrostatic pressure your home has to deal with will only worsen to the point where the rest of your basement may start to show signs of damage. 

Pests 

Unwelcome guests in your home, whether insects or mammals, can destabilize and damage your water heater. Eager rodents can eat away at the electrical cords making sure that your heater works. Carpenter ants and termites can eat away at the heater’s supports to the point where your pipes may start to break under their own weight. 

If you are dealing with some kind of internal infestation, then you need to contact either animal control or an exterminator before you reach out to the professionals in your area. Only once these critters have been escorted out of your home can you go about properly repairing the water heater damage that they’ve left in their wake. 

Poor Home Construction 

No construction team is perfect. There’s a chance that the team who installed your water heater in failed to take your home’s long-term security into account. These parties may have improperly connected the water heater pipes throughout your home or placed your water heater in a particularly vulnerable position.  

The good news is that water heater damage that arises from construction errors tends not to have a substantial impact on your basement as long as you catch it quickly – there’s no external force egging the damage on. If you let this damage sit for an extended period of time, you may find yourself contending with growing water damage throughout your basement. 

Fixing Your Water Heater 

Repairing a damaged water heater does more than just warm up the water in your home again. It eliminates and prevents future water damage that might otherwise plague your home. Luckily, you don’t have to try and tackle water heater repair work on your own – and, in practice, you shouldn’t. Instead, the professional contractors in your area can take the reins for you when it comes to water heater repair. 

To get started, the contractors serving Cleveland, Ohio, can: 

  • Cut the power to your basement. 
  • Shut off your heater and other utilities in your basement. 
  • Assess your basement for gas leaks and broken wires. 
  • Remove any unwanted moisture from your basement and eliminate any gas. 
  • Check the heater for pipe damage or technical errors. 
  • Determine if your home has suffered from any electrical damage. 
  • Repair and replace the damaged parts of your water heater. 
  • Clean any remaining and unwanted moisture out of your basement. 
  • Install internal waterproofing measures to help eliminate the impact future leaks may have on your home. 

Replacing Your Water Heater 

There may come a time when repairs won’t cut it as you’re trying to fix your water heater. At some point, it may be in your best interest to replace your water heater entirely. If you notice any of the following in your home at the time of your water heater repair, consider sitting down with area professionals to discuss your options: 

  • Dirty water in your faucet 
  • Consistently cool or fluctuating water 
  • Unusual noises 
  • Too many leaks 
  • Higher-than-normal electrical bills 

Note that any water heater that’s over 10 years old may benefit from replacement simply due to its age. Similarly, water heaters that cost more for you to repair than they’re worth can readily be replaced. If you’re not sure where to start when looking for a replacement water heater, sit down with the professionals serving Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss what models are available to you. 

Leaking Hot Water Heater

FAQs

It can feel like your water heater breaks down for no good reason at all. In reality, there’s usually some force at work that’s compromised the integrity of your water heater. Some of the most common forces to cause problems throughout your home can include but are not limited to: 

  • Age and Internal Forces 

Age is one of the most persistent forces to work against the integrity of your water heater. There’s no stopping your heater from getting old. Regular maintenance can limit the kind of wear you have to deal with. However, there will always come a point where some of your heater’s parts will break down to the point where they need to be replaced in their entirety. 

There are forces, however, that you can get ahead of, even if they originate inside of your water heater. Rust, for example, and internal machinery damage can also cause your water heater to leak. If you work with area professionals, however, you can limit the kind of impact these forces can have on your water heater by removing them from your heater or otherwise cleaning at-risk parts. 

  • Outside Forces 

External factors can also compromise the structural integrity of your water heater, too. Hydrostatic pressure, for one, can expose your water heater to an extensive amount of moisture, to the point where the internal workings crack from the stress. Alternatively, this moisture can flood your basement and short out the electrical wires that keep your hot water heater working. 

Tree roots and pests can have a similar impact on your water heater. Tree roots can cause your basement’s structural supports to slip out of place, allowing more moisture into your home and flooding your heater. Pests can make their homes around your water heater and eat away at the electrical wires that keep it working as well. 

Water heater damage is frustrating to contend with. Sometimes it can feel easier to try and handle that damage on your own. Unfortunately, this can have a few different consequences, including unexpected costs and unwanted, additional dangers throughout your home. 

  • DIY Expenses 

Most homeowners try to repair their hot water heaters on their own because they want to save money. Unfortunately, DIY tends to cost more than most homeowners anticipate. When you’re repairing your water heater, you have to break down what new parts you may need, what tools you might need to bring home, and more. 

What’s more, it’s not always easy to determine what kind of damage your water heater is dealing with. A broken pipe presents a different challenge than splintered wiring. If you try to fix the wrong problem with your water heater, you may end up spending more money than you anticipated purchasing the parts you forgot on your first time around. Before long, you may have exceeded your budget by a long shot, even without asking professionals for guidance. 

  • Making Mistakes During the DIY Process 

There’s more to home hot water heater repair than money, though. If you try to take on water heater repair on your own, you have to understand that there is a high potential for mistakes. Unfortunately, making mistakes during the DIY process can weaken the structural supports in your basement more so than your water heater already has. 

If you look over the damage that’s been done to your water heater and repair the wrong thing, then you may walk away from your DIY work thinking that your basement is safe. In the meanwhile, moisture can gather in your basement and cause mold, wood rot, and other forces to take root in your home. Once these forces take root, you’re going to have to call in professionals regardless of the work you’ve done in the past. Not only will your repairs cost more at this stage, but professionals will also have to remove the DIY repairs that you installed during your first pass through your basement. This is a pretty substantial money-sink that goes against the heart of most homeowners’ DIY attempts. 

Working with professionals to repair your leaking water heater makes your life infinitely easier. Professionals not only know how to tackle the damage, but they can help you prevent even more damage from popping up throughout your home in the future. 

  • Eliminating Your Water Heater Damage 

The first thing the professionals who come into your home will want to do is fix your water heater. To get started, they’ll need to determine what’s wrong with your water heater. An initial inspection can clear up any forms of damage and let professionals know what kind of work your home may benefit from. 

Electrical damage and gas leaks will require professionals to outsource some of their work. However, if you’re dealing with a leak, professionals can patch up or replace the parts of your water heater that have given out. They can also remove the unwanted moisture from your basement, ensuring that any damage your home’s taken on in the meantime gets taken care of. 

  • Protecting Your Basement from Future Damage 

If external forces have caused your water heater to take on damage, you may want to consider waterproofing your basement. Waterproofing your basement has its benefits even if your water heater’s working as it should. However, if your water heater starts to leak or flood, then certain home waterproofing measures can prevent the worst of the coming damage. 

Sump pumps and interior drains, for example, can eliminate standing water from your basement in little to no time at all. Dehumidifiers can limit the impact of any minor humidity your water heater gives off. Even pipe sleeves can protect your water heater’s pipes from unexpected or minor leakage. If you’re not sure where to start when waterproofing your crawl space, don’t hesitate to ask the professionals in your area for guidance. The sooner you’re able to protect your water heater and the rest of your basement, the sooner you’ll be able to rest comfortably in the rest of your home. 

Protecting Your Home from Hot Water Heater Damage 

Don’t let water heater damage control the fate of your basement. Instead, reach out to the professional contractors serving your area. Professionals can inspect your home with you and connect you with electricians who can restore damaged wires or other failed connections throughout your basement. At the same time, these professionals can repair the damage that flooding’s done to your home, ensuring that you won’t have to deal with comparable losses in the future. 

Reach out today to schedule an inspection or to benefit from a free services quote. 

Publish Date:

Last Modified Date:

OBA Map 2021

SERVING CLEVELAND, YOUNGSTOWN & NORTHERN OHIO

OHIO BASEMENT SYSTEMS

7950 Bavaria Rd.
Twinsburg, OH 44087
(330) 235-1229