Lots of water around tank (sweating?)

by Daniel

I entered my furnace room to find the floor covered in water. It was clear that it was coming from the heater and water was dripping from the insulation near the bottom where the burner window is. After draining the tank, turning off the electricity, water and gas supply, we called in a technician and started cleaning up the water which moved to the wrong side of the room (instead of going towards the drain).

The water heater is only 3 years old, it was installed brand new when the house was built. The time of year currently is spring, and it has been unusually hot and we have had the AC running in the house.

The technician came in and couldn't find any leaking, what he did notice was that the temperature was set to "Very Hot" he said it was probably at 140° instead of 120°, what it should be. He also noticed that we had an air conditioner vent, in the furnace room, blowing cold air right on top of the water heater.

The technician hypothesized that the tank water temperature was too high, and the room temperature was very cold, and that likely caused the large amount of liquid pooling in the furnace room.

My question is, is it possible for a tank to sweat under those circumstances? I've read about tanks sweating when the water inside is cold, and the outside is hot, is it possible to have the same result under my circumstances?

The technician says it's a common call he gets sent to at this time of year (mid spring, high seasonal temperatures, in Ontario Canada).

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