Which fittings need inspection Check all of the following Look at the hot line and cold line. They are on top of the water heater. The cold line is on the right and the hot line is on the left always. If you don’t notice any rusting, then move on. Next, inspect the T&P; valve. The T&P; valve is located on top for some electric water heaters. All other T%P valves will be found on the side of the tank. It looks like a spout with a one inch long movable lever. A piece of plastic pipe may be connected to the spout, but not in all cases. Sometimes there is no pipe attached to the spout at all. Check the drain valve which is at the bottom of the water heater. It looks like a standard outdoor hose bibb. Also check the thermostat located behind a panel on the upper half of most electrical water heaters. In order to check these areas, simply wipe a cotton swab all around the areas. Look at the wiped swab for rust or moisture. If rust or moisture appear, wrap these areas with teflon tape or disassemble these parts and replace them. A plumber should be used for this maintenance. Check the lower element on an electrical water heater as well. It will be found behind a panel on the lower half of an electric water heater. If moisture appears here, the gaskets will need to be replaced. Call a plumber for this service as well.
As already discussed, the problem areas for leaks are the drain valve, heating elements for electrical water heaters, and the hot and cold connections on top. The ball valves on hot and cold lines can leak around the nut used to rotate the lever. Remember the hot and cold lines are the two plumbing lines on top of the water heater. This leak can in time destroy the tank enough to warrant a new tank. If you notice water stains on and around the tank, do not forget that the ball valves on top may be leaking all over the water heater. If you’ve followed some energy conservation advice and installed an insulation blanket around your water heater, just be aware that leaky fittings will be hidden beneath this blanket. Rusting may occur under a blanket more quickly than without one. Do not insulate directly around fittings, especially the hot and cold lines and the T&P; valve.