Mysterious Water Leak

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Hi, this morning I cleaned up a mess in my basement caused by a water leak. Most of the water was on the floor of the bathroom and surrounding areas, including under the Whirlpool water heater that was installed 3 - 4 years ago. I checked all the water pipes and fittings in the bathroom but they were dry and apparently not the source of the leak. After mopping up the water it appears no more water is leaking.
Would a leaking water heater cause this type of leak?
Because of a water leak (single drip every minute or so) in the cold water pipe supplying the bath tub on the second floor I've been turning off the water main supplying the house before going to bed and turning it back on in the morning. This drip\\leak is not the source of the water leak in the basement.
Is there any reason turning on/off the water main, which is located in a different place then where the water leak occurred, would cause a water leak?.
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Tom wrote:

I would suspect faulty water heater pressure relief valve. I've had that problem a couple of times.
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do you have pressure tank on hot water heater? closing off the main cut off may give you less room for heat expansion of the water, so it blows out the relief valve.
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that sounds like the most likely cause. An expansion tank would cure that problem, IF in fact that's what's happening. ANOTHER cheap way of dealing iwth the problem would be to flush a toilet AFTER turning the water off for the night. THEN when the WH causes expansion, it could just flow into the now emtpy toilet tank.
s

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You guys are great.
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Should I also leave a cold watewr tap open?
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Tom wrote:

If you're going to continue to turn off supply and have a known leak, I would recommend turning off or at least way down the water heater setpoint so don't try to keep it at full temperature w/ no feed and potential outflow--it's not good.
The answer still is to fix the leak.
--
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Umm, if the water is off, how exactly does the water flow out of the water heater?
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Um, Mikey, I know these guys are idiots for the most part, but.... If all the valves are off in the house and you turn off the main water supply with the heater still going and the heater doesn't have an expansion tank, the expansion of the heated water in the now closed hot water system could blow out of the T&P.
I'm just sayin'.......:>)
Bob Wheatley
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Oh Robert my guru,
I admit the fact these guys are idiots makes me suspicious of anything they say. This particular DIYer said...
"Or, w/ the water supply off, somebody ran some hot water and since the heater had no resupply it overheated and blew off some steam during the night."
What I thought he was saying was that with the main off, the heater emptied itself of water which caused it to overheat. The "resupply" comment struck me this way. If I've been too hard on him, I will apologize (as all plumbers are quick to do).
Mikey
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I didn't notice his post. I was responding directly to your question: "Umm, if the water is off, how exactly does the water flow out of the water heater?"
Most of the cross posts I just ignore because it aggravates me to even read them. A bunch of wannabes offering advice that for the most part is just nonsense, and in some cases could get people hurt or even killed. Are you still in Europe somewhere?
Bob Wheatley
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Bob,
I am actually in the States as we speak. We're here visiting family, and we'll return to Kosovo in three weeks. We'll stay there one more academic year.
If I wasn't so lazy, I'd post some pictures of the plumbing I've seen over there. It'd make these DIYers look like your best jouneymen!
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"Hi, this morning I cleaned up a mess in my basement caused by a water leak. Most of the water was on the floor of the bathroom and surrounding areas,"
Hell I'm totally lost.
How could a leaking T&P on the basement water heater cause water on the above bathroom floor?
Isn't the water heater in question (a Whirlpool water heater that was installed 3 - 4 years ago.) I would assume that may be an inline heater.
After all this it may be a loose toilet tank that leaks when the big bodied wife tinkles durring the middle of the night.
kenny b
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The toilet tank will fill with cold water. That will help with the WH tank expansion?
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Yes, it takes pressure off the system from the main. Water expanding can go backwards too.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Expanding water? The laws of physics are not what used to be
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"Expanding water? The laws of physics are not what used to be"
care to explain, ?
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Whirlpool water heater
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Bob wrote:

...
...
Or, w/ the water supply off, somebody ran some hot water and since the heater had no resupply it overheated and blew off some steam during the night.
I'd fix the upstairs drip....which was I'm betting, albeit indirectly, the cause. :)
--
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Bingo. Last night I BELIEVE I left the hot water tap open in the kitchen befor going to bed. About nineti minutes before going to bed I did a load of wash which, I assume, filled the water heater with cool water. I'm going to try to get the plumber here tomorrow to fix the leak in the cold water pipe going to the upstairs bath tub.
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