While tankless water heaters have fewer problems than the tank kind, they can still develop leaks. The good news is that these leaks are rarely as large as leaks from tank water heaters. However, because the tankless water heater is installed inside of the wall, the leaks tend to go undetected for longer in the rare case that they develop.
If you see signs of moisture or water damage on the wall or floor near where your tankless water heater is, then you should call up your plumber to get it examined. The heater could be the cause of the issue, even though it doesn’t store water. Here’s what you need to know about a tankless water heater leak.
How Can a Tankless Water Heater Leak?
If you know how tankless water heaters work, you may be a little baffled that it can be the cause of a leak. Afterall, these heaters do not store the water in any way. Instead, they have a heating element wrapped around the pipe and heat the water as it runs through the pipes. The heater itself should never come into contact with water.
However, tankless water heaters are screwed into the pipe. The spots where the pipe and the water heat connect can become worn down or corroded overtime, which can lead to a leak. Or, the fitting may be loose, in which case it simply needs to be tightened.
There are other possibilities that may cause a tankless water heater to leak. These problems include:
- Improper venting: If the heater is not vented properly, it can develop condensation. Overtime, this can create serious water damage to the heater and the wall and floor near it.
- High water pressure: Homes that have very high water pressure can develop leaks in several areas. The connectors for your tankless water heater are one possible vulnerability. In fact, prolonged high pressure in your tankless water heater can cause very serious issues, so it is best to get a professional to check on this one.
- Sediment or rust: Hard water build-up, also called sediment, and rust or corrosion, are the bane of every water-based appliance. Both can undermine the functioning of your tankless water heater and the pipe it is attached to, causing a leak. In this case, your plumber may need to replace parts of the heater or your pipe. They may also need to fix the underlying problem causing rust or sediment build-up.
Just because there is water damage near your tankless water heater doesn’t necessarily mean that it is to blame. The actual source of the leak may be another water-based appliance nearby, the plumbing lines around the water heater, or even a leak from the roof that has made its way down into the wall near your tankless water heater.
Whatever it is, you’ll need a plumber to come in and check on the tankless water heater and look for the source of the leak. The earlier you can catch a leak from or near the tankless water heater, the less likely you are to need to replace it.