water heater problem

We have a water heater which is mounted on a small (2") stand. We noticed water pooling up around the base. The cold incoming pipe has a lot of condensation and we don't see any leaks out of the heater, but the base if totally filled with water. The area around the element appears dry. Does anyone have any ideas how we could see if this is just accumulated condensation and/or clean it out to see if the tank is actually leaking?
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On Wed, 7 May 2008 18:47:17 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Remove the water.
Wait to see if the water comes back again.
Condensation would take eons to fill that base. If it fills up quickly then you have a leak.
Steve B.
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almost certinally a leak. how old is the heater? you need a new one
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its pretty old (before we bought the place, so im guessing around 10 years). I figured it needed replacing, just hoping otherwise. thanks for the help
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On May 7, 8:47 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

A base to contain a leak is supposed to have a hose attatched leading to a drain so you dont flood your home, but filling the base, or visable water IS a leak, check fittings, lowering the temp might help, put a drain hose onto the base and go shopping for a new unit. Since you have time to shop buy by Energy Factor rating, www.energystar.gov has all models rated for EF except Condensing units. Most sold are still inneficient 50-60 EF, a few are 70 and condensing units around 84 EF . For the standard 60 EF only 60 cents of every dollar you spend is going to heat water.
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When only 60 cents you mean gas fired? Cos AFIK electric hot water heaters are 100% except for any heat that slowly leaks out through the insulated walls of the tank into the house! And that helps heat the house which is electrically heated anyway! When we leave on vacation etc. we turn off the electric tank and also (just in case of a leak) remove the water pressure. Returning after 2 weeks on one occasion the 'hot' water in the tank was still noticeably warm; despite being completely off while we gone! So they don't lose heat very quickly. Pls. see also separate posting "Using electric hot water tank to heat small living space".
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Condensation is just a few drops and would evaporate, if the base is filled with water say within a day or two, my bet is a tank leak. Sometimes a tank leak will leave a rust trail. If you don't have one of those self cleaning tanks, ten years maybe time for a new one with better energy usage.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Any low humidity/cool days forcast where the pipe would not be sweating. If you got water then, it's not condensation.
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