Everybody has one, and they all leak. Maybe not all the time, and maybe not for a long time, but eventually your water heater floods is going to fail, and when it does, the ensuing water damage can be catastrophic.
Your average tank-style water heater has a typical life-span of about 10 years. Like any appliance, wear and tear and the inescapable effects of time degrade the connections or even the tank itself, and inevitably, something gives.
Most commonly, connections where the cold-water supply line comes in or where the hot-water line goes out begin to leak, often going unnoticed at first.
Like a spreading disease, slow leaks can be devastating in their own way. Long-term water heater floods leaks which go unnoticed can cause widespread damage as moisture saturates drywall and wicks outward from the source, creating a perfect environment for mold to cultivate. Some of the worst mold damage we have witnessed was a result of a slowly leaking water heater.
Think about your own home. Are you able to access or even see that water heater in your garage behind the pile of Disney princess bicycles and the unused camping gear that Uncle Melton bought you 4 Christmas’ ago? Would you even know if your water heater was leaking?
Now think about the rooms which share a common wall with that ticking time bomb. Does your newly renovated kitchen and your beautiful new cabinets back up to the same wall your water heater sits behind? Kitchen cabinetry is often the most costly casualty when a water heater floods leaks unknowingly for a long time. Entire walls 20 feet long can be affected as water seeps into sill plates and spreads outward, bringing with it the potential for devastating mold damage.
The other, and potentially more catastrophic, water heater failure is a complete rupture of the tank itself. The long-term stress of contracting and expanding with constant temperature variations (especially during seasons of weather change, such as Fall and Spring) can lead to a sudden rupture of the tank, without warning. If you have ever spilled a full pitcher of water at a dining table and been surprised as to how much water that container actually held as you’re mopping it up from the floor, imagine how devastating 40-50 gallons being let loose in the middle of your home can be. This scenario carries a greater risk when water heaters are located within the interior of the home, such as in a hallway closet. One average-sized water heater tank letting go in the middle of the night can literally water heater floods an entire home with 1-2 inches of water – trust us, we’ve seen it happen.
So, now that we’ve terrified you into making an impromptu call to a plumber
to shop for tankless water heaters (not a bad idea), what is it you, the homeowner, can do to prevent such devastating water damage? The first and best action to take is to inspect and monitor your water heater frequently. Periodically check for moisture surrounding the plumbing connections, or for pooling water on the top of the tank or on the stand it rests on.
If you notice any water or even soggy drywall or the appearance of mold, don’t hesitate to call your water heater floods and mold specialists at Gold Coast Flood Restorations to come out and perform a moisture inspection before the damage gets worse. Quick response is the key to avoiding long-term and costly water or mold damage. If you are renovating your house, strongly consider relocating the water heater to the garage where the potential for damage is lessened. Also consider placing the tank on a metal stand designed specifically for water heaters.
These stands can be purchased at your local home improvement store very inexpensively, are easy to assemble, and are mostly impervious to the costly water damage a framed and drywalled platform may suffer (as always, be sure to consult your local city building codes and permitting agencies before attempting to relocate a water heater yourself). If your water heater is older than 10 years, consider consulting with a plumber
and purchasing a new one or upgrading to a tankless system to preemptively avoid an older unit failing.
In the unfortunate but not implausible scenario that your water heater suddenly bursts, and you wake up to water-soaked slippers beneath your bed and experience San Diego water heater floods, immediately call Gold Coast, your local water damage experts. Our phones are answered 24/7, 365 days a year, and our trucks carry state-of-the-art extraction pumping systems to quickly remove standing water from your home. Gold Coast’s friendly and experienced technicians can walk you through the insurance process and can get you on your way to restoring your home to it’s pre-loss state as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Whether the damage is minor or severe, we are there for you every step of the way, and can work directly with your insurance carrier on your behalf, while keeping your best interests in mind – something the corporate insurance-preferred vendors who work for the insurance companies cannot claim. The insurance companies may want to force their big guns on you, but remember that in the State of California, you as the homeowner have the right to choose who performs work on your house – whether it’s a corporate franchise or your local specialists – the choice is up to you, not your insurance carrier.
As you enjoy San Diego’s beautiful winter weather, remember to keep a vigilant eye out for potential sources of water damage, and if you suspect that you are a victim of water damage as a result of water heater floods failure, or any of the myriad of water damage sources, be sure to give Gold Coast
a call – 888-373-9243