A functional water heater is something that many homeowners take for granted. Whether you’re taking a shower, washing dishes or doing laundry, you’ll probably be using hot water. The water heater, of course, is responsible for warming the water in your home. Water will travel from the supply line to the water heater where it’s warmed.
Water heaters, however, contain many different parts, some of which can wear out over time. Worn gaskets are particularly common with electric water heaters. If your water heater has a worn gasket, it may leak, or it may fail to warm your home’s water altogether.
What Is a Water Heater Gasket?
A water heater gasket is a mechanical seal – they are typically made of rubber or an elastic polymer – that’s used to prevent water from leaking. Most electric water heaters have multiple gaskets. They typically have a single gasket for each of their respective heating elements. If an electric water heater has two heating elements, for instance, it will likely have two gaskets.
In electric water heaters, heating elements consist of rod- or cylindrical-shaped parts that are designed to warm the water. Electricity will travel through the heating elements so that they heat up. As the heating elements heat up, they’ll warm the water inside of the electric water heater.
At the bottom of each heating element is a gasket. Gaskets are designed to seal the areas around the heating elements’ connectors. Without a gasket, water may leak out of the tank. Some of this water may also reach the heating elements’ connectors where it causes further damage.
Signs of a Worn Gasket
How do you know if your water heater has one or more worn gaskets? The most common sign of a worn gasket is the presence of water directly below the water heater. Heating elements and gaskets are found at the bottom of the water heater. When a gasket wears out, water may leak out of this area.
Leaks associated with worn gaskets can be minor or severe. Minor leaks may only result in a few drops of water coming out of the bottom of the water heater. Severe leaks, on the other hand, may result in a constant stream of water leaking.
A worn gasket can contribute to rust as well. If water leaks out of the water heater, it may get on the exterior where it promotes rust and corrosion. If you notice rust spots on your water heater, a worn gasket may be to blame.