In short, no. A hot water system is not supposed to leak. But, this doesn’t mean you need to panic if you’ve discovered a leak! It is a good idea to have the number of a local plumber who specializes in repairing and replacing your hot water system; just in case;
Before you do this, you should look at the hot water tank and discover the issue.
Check The Pipes
The first step is to check all the pipes below your hot water heater; it’s possible that one of these is leaking and not the heater itself. You can feel the pipes to see if your hand is wet and then follow the wetness back until you find the source. Of course, you’ll need to be careful if checking hot pipes, use a rag to check for water or simply do a visual inspection. Using a torch can help to highlight water on the pipes.
A joint is quite often the real culprit, not your hot water heater.
If the pipes appear okay then take a good look at the heater, you need to be certain that it is the cause of the leak.
If the leak is extensive it’s a good idea to shut off the water supply. Ideally, you’ll have an inlet valve to your water heater; you can turn the water off here and still have cd water at the taps in your home. If you don’t have a valve on the inlet pipe you may need to shut the water off to your entire home.
Check Your Pressure Relief Valve
When water in a tank is heated it will expand, there should be an air pocket or a separate compression tank to allow for this expansion. However, if these items are not present or working correctly the excess water will go to the pressure relief valve and force its way past; causing a leak.
If your leak is coming from the pressure relief valve you’re going to need to find the source before you replace the valve.
Administering A Repair
If you have a joint or a valve that is leaking then you will be able to replace them; although you may prefer to get professional help. However, if the tank itself is corroding and starting to leak then you’ll be looking at a new tank.
This can happen as water, metal and air make the perfect combination for rust; especially when you add debris into the bottom of your tank. This is actually why it is so important to regularly flush your tank; removing the debris and reducing the chance of an issue.
Don’t forget, that you’re dealing with very hot water. If you’re going to adjust the plumbing it is advisable to switch the tank off and let the water cool before you do anything. Better still, get the professionals to do it for you; this is one time when their expertise will definitely be time-saving for you.