Identifying And Fixing A Leak Caused By A Heating Element Gasket

If you have an electric water heater, then you will need to investigate the appliance for signs of wear and tear. This is wise to make sure that leak issues do not crop up suddenly. When you complete your leak inspection, you should look for signs of water or rust around the protective cover that sits on the outside of the device. Keep reading to find out why a leak may form in this area and what you should do about it.

Why Does The Leak Form?

The protective cover that sits on the exterior of your water heater covers the thermostat, the exposed end of the heating element, and the wiring that connects the element to the thermostat. Typically, these electrical components will be covered in a layer of insulation batting. The batting, along with the protective cover, helps to keep the components free from external contamination. 

Sometimes a leak will form from the tank itself and cause the batting and the cover to become wet. The cover may start to show signs of rust around the edges when this happens. The leak will often form around the heating element. Most elements screw into place and are fitted with a small gasket to keep water from working its way around the threads of the device. As the gasket breaks down, some water can leak out. This is often the case due to the immense amount of water pressure that is forced against the gasket. 

Leaks pose several different problems. They cause the insulation around the water heater to become saturated with water. The water can cause mold and mildew to grow. Also, when the insulation is wet, the electrical wires can become damp as well.

How Can The Problem Be Resolved?

If you are having an issue with a leak around the heating element, it is wise to replace the rubber gasket. Turn off the water at the inlet pipe and use the drain on the bottom of the tank to release all the fluid. Remove the cover from over the heating element and remove the wires attached to the element. Once the element is free, fit a large socket head over the heating element and twist it. The element will slowly loosen. Pull it out of the tank when you can. At this time, look for the gasket on the heating element. It will sit at the base of the part.

Remove the gasket and take it to your local hardware or home store to find a replacement that matches exactly. Add the gasket to the element, replace the element, attach the wiring, and secure the cover back into place. For more information or assistance, contact companies like Patriot Plumbing Heating Air Conditioning.