Gas Water Heater Leak

15 Replies

Hello to anyone that can help!

I have a 2 yr. 9 month old gas water heater in the attic of my home.  My Son noticed that the hot water went out while taking a shower.  We went into the attic and noticed water pouring from the Honeywell temperature control panel.  There are no other leaks but it looks as if someone is pouring water out of a cup.

I've shut off the water valve on top of the tank but noticed that the leak is now a little bit more than a drip.

Any thoughts?  All help is welcomed.  Thank you!

I called Plumbing Co. that installed the tank and they stated that it's not. The manual for the manual is not attached. I'm planning to call Bradford White tomorrow.

The water tank was installed when the home was built 09/2012. The tank shouldn't be giving me problems, it's practically new!

Sounds defective to me. It should still have the manufacturers warranty at this point. I don't think there are any tanks out there that have less than a 4 year warranty. 

It's leaking from the hole behind the Honeywell temperature control valve. The gas valve hooks into the left side of this control panel. Water is pouring from underneath where the wiring is displayed.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional plumber.

Make sure you have turned the gas valve off as well.  Usually there's a big red knob on top of the temperature control that is marked "ON - PILOT - OFF".  There should be a sticker on the tank right next to the gas valve that explains how to turn the gas valve off.

There should be a sticker on the tank with the model number and date of manufacture.  Usually it's on the side of the tank, above the gas valve.  If you don't have a newer receipt, the manufacturer will use the date on that sticker to determine if the heater is in warranty.

I know it is possible to buy water heaters with a 3-year warranty; I don't know if shorter warranties exist, but they might.

Even though you shut off the water valve on the input, it might still drip a little due to the water remaining in the tank.  If there is a drain pan under the tank, and if all the drips are landing in that drain pan, you don't really have to worry.  If you can make the drips land in the drain pan (plastic trash bag taped to tank?), you don't really have to worry.  If you really want to get all the water out, there should be a valve on the side of the tank near the bottom, either plastic or metal, with garden hose threads on it.  Connect a garden hose to that valve, put the other end of the hose in a tub or out the window or something, and open that valve to drain the rest of the water in the tank.

I do not think I have ever heard of a Bradford White water heater having only a 3 year warranty.  I have only seen them at 6 years and up.  Call right away, and call the plumber who installed it and ask him what the warranty is on the water heater he installed.  Most plumbers I know write the installation date in felt pen on the tank itself.  Never use that company again.  What plumbing company installs a water heater with less than a 3 year warranty?  Good Luck.

I'm no plumber either so run these things by him/her :

If there is a backflow preventer at the street, most likely yes, this means pressurized water can only flow one way --- in.  This is an independent closed system.  This is important when the water heater heats the water as the water will expand in this system-of-a-certain- size.  Is there room for this expansion?  If there is an expansion tank very near the water heater, then yes.  Tank is usually blue and a little larger than a gallon jug.  If no exp tank and if, IF you have this problem, the excess will flow out of the T&P (temperature and pressure) valve. 

Or, if pressure off street is too high for system, T&P will activate. 

Or, if temp is rising too high, T&P will activate. 

In all scenarios above the T&P is working correctly. 

Or, I could be way off base looking in the wrong area.....:)

First thing I do is start from the top down, i looks for leaks where the water heater flex connect to the water heater. If I see moisture there I look closer. Sometimes the pressure relief valve is on the top or the side. I check both spots for a sign of moister or a leak. The last place to check is where the thermostat/gas valve goes into the water heater. Those are really the only place a leak can be coming from, or you could just have a pinhole in the tank somewhere. You will never find that leak because it is hidden behind the outside jacket of the water heater. You might have to try to move some of the insulation in the water heater to look at the connections, but if nothing is visible sounds like it could be a bad water heater, it happens sometimes. It should be under warranty though.

Hey guys, Thank you so much for your knowledgeable responses. I am truly grateful! I called Bradford White this morning and they are sending out a plumber on Monday @ at no charge. They will cover the parts but I pickup the tab for labor.

From what my Dad could tell, the leak coming from behind the temperature/control panel. All water is off, all gas if off, there is a huge drip pan underneath the tank which carries the water to an outside drain on the side of my home.

I'm pretty much afraid to touch the tank and go into the attic. My 15 yr. old Son has been a huge help in going up there and shutting everything off!

I do believe that the water pressure may have a lot to do with this incident. The MUD district is here on a weekly basis digging the water maine that flows between myself and my neighbors home. When it rains, it stays flooded in that area for at least 2 days near the sidewalk. Any ideas about what I should contact regarding the water pressure???

Originally posted by @Tamara Robinson :

I called Bradford White this morning and they are sending out a plumber on Monday @ at no charge. They will cover the parts but I pickup the tab for labor.

All water is off, all gas if off, there is a huge drip pan underneath the tank which carries the water to an outside drain on the side of my home.

Good to hear that they are standing behind it.  I think that deal is pretty normal... if the heater had failed within 6 or 12 months of being brand new, they would pay the labor as well, but for most of the warranty they just provide parts.

That drain pan is required by building code, for exactly this reason - water heaters eventually leak.  You might put it on your "spring cleaning" list to check both ends of that drain tube (in the pan and on the outside of your house) for bugs, spider webs, etc.  If you have a Shop-Vac or equal vacuum that can stand having water in it, you might apply it to the outside end of the drain a couple of times a year, just to get rid of possible crud in the drain pipe.  If you're really feeling exuberant, send the kid up into the attic while you vacuum the drain on the outside to make sure there is suction up at the drain pan end - if not, figure out where the clog is and unclog it.

Thanks for posting back with the results!

Matt R.

Great advice Matt R. I will most definitely keep up the maintenance on this baby, a new home with stuff breaking down already is NOT COOL! The plumber us actually on the way this morning. He called me yesterday morning, said he wouldn't be able to fit me in because of the busy weekend, received over 35 calls for plumbing emergencies.

Will keep you posted later this afternoon! 

Good news everyone! The pressure valve went bad (located behind the temperature control panel). The plumber came this morning and replaced free of charge. Took less than 30 minutes! I am truly Grateful!!!!

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