Is it normal for the underside of a water to drip over flame when first started up? Could this be initial condensation?
Welcome Chad, a picture would help.
But I would say no it is not normal.
I have to agree with Brian. Water is to stay in tank until there is a need for it. Do you have pic?
I have seen this a lot depending on the humidity of the air in which the heater is located. If it contenues to drip when the heater is at operating temp then I would say their is a problem.
Actually, it is, or can be, normal.
This is a direct quote from my water heater:
When this condition first happened after installation, stupid me forgot to read all the warning labels on the water heater and called Richmond. I was looking at water dripping on the flame while I was on the phone with them. They told me about the label on the water heater and I read it while I was on the phone with them.
However, for one of my margarita parties, demand was high, and I neglected to understand the “or demand is high” part of the label or just read right over it. So I called Richmond again, and they told me that when demand is high, the condition can also occur. So the “after 24 to 48 hours” applies to the period immediately after installation, as well as the period immediately after demand was high.
Richmond, by the way, is manufactured by Rheem, so I suspect that Rheem and Ruud have the same labels on their water heaters.