Gas Water Heater Leaking


I had to turn the gas off temporarily, then turned it back on. Naturally I forgot to re-light the water heater pilot and it was off for about 18hrs. When I finally went to do that, I saw a puddle under the water heater. It was dripping from what I believe is the drain valve. It's a white plastic threaded fitting similar to the one in this pic and located in about the same place:
http://media.rd.com/dynamic/88/77/84/Oct06_WaterHeater-2_size2.jpg
After lighting the pilot, the leak from the drain valve stopped, but then it started leaking from inside. You can see and hear the tsssss tsssss as the water droplets hit the burning gas element. I did not know enough at that point to look for rust on the interior. Does this sound like a tank leak, and if so, is it true that there is no way to fix it.
Why would the leak from the drain valve stop when I lit the pilot?
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This leak stopped. Maybe the other one will stop when the water gets hot. It's worth waiting to find out.

Lots of weirdo things happen in this world that I can't account for, even when they happen right here. IOW, who knows!

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Ken_W wrote:

When the water in the tank is cold, the moisture from the combustion of the gas will condense on the heat exchanger that goes through the water heater and it drip back down and land on the burner producing a sizzling sound. The condensation should stop once things warm up. If it continues after 30 minutes to an hour, you may have a leak. The leak at the valve probably stopped because the rubber seal and other materials around the valve expanded after getting warm. I don't think there are any supernatural forces involved even though it may seem as though your water heater is possessed.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

Thanks for the info, I hope that is the case. The water heater is my Mother's so I'll have to check it tomorrow. I have a pan there for the time being.
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The question no one has asked is how old is the water heater. If it's 10 years+ old, I'd replace it. That is a typical lifespan. Of course a lot depends on where it's located. If it's in a basement area with nothing in it and a nearby sump the potential for disaster is small compared to sitting in a basement full of stuff with no means for the water to drain away if it suddenly goes. And when they go they can go from no leak or just a small leak to a major flood in a flash.
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