A water expansion tank is designed as a safety measure to counter the pressure buildup in the water heaters. Because there’s no route available for the water to push itself to in case of high pressure, it needs a channel to release itself freely. So, the expansion tank acts as that particular outlet for water which helps to control its pressure and prevents damage to the plumbing system.

However, when an expansion tank starts leaking, it can cause significant issues that may need your immediate attention. Here, we’ll discuss the causes and solutions of a leaking water heater expansion tank and tips on how you can prevent something like this from happening in the future.

Why is my water heater expansion tank leaking?

Below mentioned are the multiple causes why your water heater expansion tank could start leaking.

  1. Corrosion:

The water heater expansion tank’s interior surface may become corroded due to exposure to hard water, high levels of dissolved oxygen, or elevated temperatures, developing leaks in the tank. This can lead to water heater damage or even flooding. It can also compromise the tank’s structure and its sturdiness, reducing its ability to withstand pressure changes.

  1. Overpressure:

A common cause of a leaking water heater expansion tank is overpressure. When the water pressure inside the tank exceeds the tank’s maximum pressure limit, it can cause the tank to leak. In extreme cases, the tank may even burst. This is why it’s important to make sure that the expansion tank is properly sized for the water heater and that it’s installed correctly as maintaining proper pressure is crucial for ensuring the longevity and efficiency of your water heater expansion tank.

  1. Faulty Installation:

The expansion tanks are designed to accommodate the thermal expansion of water as it heats up, and a faulty installation can hinder this process. A water heater expansion tank that has not been correctly installed can not only lead to leaks but cause the tank’s failure ultimately, which can be pretty costly to replace. Moreover, the tank’s pressure valve may also malfunction, resulting in potential safety hazards.

  1. Age:

Over time, the tank’s internal bladder can deteriorate, causing it to crack or burst, leading to a leak. As the rubber bladder inside the tank becomes worn or damaged, the inability to properly absorb the expansion of hot water creates many problems for the consumer.

  1. Sediment Buildup:

As time passes, the sediments accumulate at the bottom of the tank and reduce the amount of available space for water to expand. This can cause the pressure inside the tank to increase, leading to leaks or even tank failure.

Solutions to fix water expansion tank leakage:

Worry not as there are ways to fix the leakage in your water heater expansion tank. Read on to find the most practical solutions to this problem.

  1. Repair or Replacement:

If your water heater expansion tank is leaking, it may be repairable. However, if the damage is severe, you may need to replace the entire tank. It is best that you contact a professional plumber to inspect the tank and recommend the ideal solution.

  1. Adjusting the Pressure:

If overpressure is causing the tank to leak, you can adjust the pressure relief valve to regulate the water pressure. It is recommended that you hire a professional plumber to make these adjustments. This will also help prevent further damage to the expansion tank and other plumbing components.

  1. Proper Installation:

Ensure that the expansion tank is installed correctly and according to the manufacturer’s specifications as there are many risks associated with this problem. Proper installation of water heater expansion tanks is crucial to ensure their functionality and longevity. If you’re unsure about how to install the tank correctly, it’s best to seek professional help to avoid any potential hazards or costly repairs.

  1. Flush the Tank:

Flushing the tank regularly can help prevent the collection of sediment which can cause corrosion and leaks. It is recommended to flush the tank annually or every six months in areas with hard water. Hiring a professional plumber to perform the maintenance can ensure it is done correctly and safely.

How to prevent water expansion tank leakage:

You can safeguard the expansion tank of your water heater from leakages by taking the safety measures that are written below.

  1. Regular Maintenance:

Inspect the tank for signs of corrosion, leaks, or strange noises. Getting a qualified plumber to perform annual maintenance on your water heating system can help catch any issues timely and resolve them before any big damage takes place, preserving the efficiency of your unit, including the water expansion tank.

  1. Monitoring Water Pressure:

Keep an eye on your home’s water pressure to prevent excessive pressure in the expansion tank. You can install a pressure gauge to monitor the water pressure and make adjustments as needed.

  1. Using a Water Softener:

Hard water can cause mineral buildup in your plumbing system, leading to corrosion and leaks. Installing a water softener can help prevent this and extend the lifespan of your water heater expansion tank. You can contact a professional plumber who can install the most suitable water softener for your water heater.

Final Thoughts:

A water heater expansion tank leak can cause significant problems, but they can be avoided with regular maintenance and proper installation. If you notice any signs of a leak, such as water pooling around the tank or a drop in water pressure, contact a professional plumber immediately to diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate solution.