Water heater question

I have a fairly new (about 4 to 5 y/o) 40 gallon, electric, GE hot water tank. It started leaking from the drain valve or around it (I cannot tell). When I turn the water supply to the tank on; water starts pouring out from the valve almost immediately. Question is.... is it possible that this is just a faulty valve or does it sound more like I need a new tank? I thought the latter.. but am still hopeful it might just be the drain valve I would prefer to be at least a little knowledgeable before having a plumber come look at it... help.. :o(
Thanks in advance Poe
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you need to tell if water is leaking thru the valve or around it. many outlet valves are threaded for a garden hose. if so try attaching a hose and routing it to a drain(toilet tub, etc) and turn water supply on. If the valve is leaking, it should unscrew from the tank for replacement. Once you get the old one out take it to supply place for replacement.
lee h
When I turn the water supply to the tank on; water

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You don't even need to drain the tank if you need to replace the valve at the bottom. Just turn off the water supply, and exchange valve quickly. It tends to be not too hot at the bottom of the tank.
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is it a plastic valve? they crack...
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snipped-for-privacy@adelphia.net wrote:

You have some good answers, if the valve is plastic, it may be cracked. If the valve is metal, the valve seal (what keeps the water in when you tighten the handle, may be bad. Or, it might be leaking where the valve attaches to the tank.
Here are the tests, buy a cap that screws goes on the end of a garden hose; you can buy these separately, there are usually two on a Y for hoses, and they often come on impact sprinkler stakes. Screw this on the valve,tighten, and turn on the water supply. If there is no water leaking anywhere, the rubber seal in the valve has failed. The easiest repair for you would be to buy a new valve that fits on a hose thread and just screw it on to the valve. If there is water squirting out, the valve is cracked or there is a leak at the valve to tank connection. In either case the valve will need to be taken off and replaced or the connection sealed. There is one other very bad possibility and that is the valve is ok an so is the connection but the tank is leaking near the valve. This would mean that you need a new tank. Good Luck.
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A true DIY person would use tim snips to remove the covering & insulation around the valve and expose things so the leak would be visible.....
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Actually the covering around the valve has been removed, not by me.. by the force of either nature or the water coming from the tank. The water is coming from both around the valve and the valve itself. It is a plastic valve.. I am thinking it may be a crack somewhere in it( hopefully not the tank )
Thank you all very very much.. I am not much of a DIY person ( unless it involves duct tape or gorilla glue:o) ) ... I wanted to be sure I was on the right path before tackling something taller than myself. Seems it might be worth the few dollars and bit of sweat I will expend to try replacing the valve before calling in a plumber.
Thank you again .. wish me luck snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

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They all too often use a plastic valve. They crack from the heat. Buy a brass male thread boiler valve and some pipe dope. It is an easy repair unless the old one breaks off as you try to remove it. Even if it does the repair can still be done. For a 5 year old unit the cost of plumber is well worth it.
I would always turn off the breaker and drain the heater before attempting this. The risk of serious burns is too great to try and do it without draining the tank.
Colbyt
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