Wet around hot water heater drain valve

I recentlt replaced a leaky hot water heater drain valve with a nice brass one. However I notice that some of the insulation stays wet around it when I feel back the rubber grommet. I notice even tiny droplets of water on the outside of the metal jacket under the grommet. There doesn't appear to be a leak where valve connects as I can look and see no leak. Also if it leaked it would leak down and the insulation on the sides wouldn't be wet. What's the cause of this? It wasn't wet before I replaced the drain valve. I'm pretty sure because I did this as one of my checls. My drain valve had been leaking where the water actually drains from and at the handle.
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Grendel wrote:

Did you use pipe dope or teflon tape on the male threads of that new valve before you screwed it into the boss on the tank shell.?
Just checking, because you didn't mention it and your post gave no clue to your level of expertese, so don't be offended if you did use a thread sealant.
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in public
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I did use teflon tape but (2 good wraps around on all threads). My first thought was I somehow messed it up when I screwed it in. However once again if there was a leak at the drain valve connection this would not explain it being wet on the sides and top of the insulatio. I guess maybe the insulation would absorb it all. I have sat with a flashlight to see if I see any water leaking past and no. I just can't imagine what is causing this. Could this be some condensation that brass valves have that plastic doesn't. just throwing it out there. Or is it possible that the insulation just never dryed and will never dry? Once again when I replaced it weeks ago water gushed out because the water heater still had lots of water at the bottom.

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Grendel wrote:

It hat water heater old enough to be nearing the end of its life. (Where we live the water is corrosive enough so that we're hard pressed to get 8 years out of a 10 year warranty heater.)It's possible that you already have a tiny leak through the shell well above that drain valve location and that's where the dampness is coming from.
Does the T&P valve thread into a boss on the side of the tank located above the drain faucet you just changed? There might be a leak at its threads, but IME if a threaded joint on a brass valve screwed into a steel boss doesn't leak right after installation, it won't start leaking unless some blow jars it loose.
But, I have experienced steel pipes rusting out from the inside and breaking through at the root of a male thread, because that area is necessarily thinner than the full wall of an unthreaded pipe. That kind of leak can look awfully much like a thread leak, but it isn't really that.

I'm sure that the valve itself is far too warm to condense any moisture out of the surrounding air.
just throwing it out there. Or

"Never" is a long time. If you leave that rubber ring pulled out or take it completely off and the insulation isn't dry behind the hole in a week, I'm betting on a slow leak through the tank shell and you can start shopping for a new water heater.
Good Luck,
Jeff
--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in public
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Why the hell would you want to heat hot water?
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