How to Fix a Leaking Water Heater: The Ultimate Guide

how to fix leaking water heater

In this article, leaking water heaters will be our main agenda of discussion. The importance of water, reasons for leakage, the determination process of leakage, confirmation of leaking water heater, methods to fix the leakage, and discussion about preventive measures are the domains covered in this article.

Leakage of water must be avoided:

Water is a precious gift and the most important commodity for life to happen on this planet. In other words, the squandering of water is none less than an ethical crime. Conversely, it is observed that 10% of the US residents have such worse plumbing issues that they almost puddle 33,000 gallons of water per annum.

The water leakage issues if go unnoticed can cause a waste of money and time. Water leakage issues can occur at any water duct but here the leakage issues of water heaters will be emphasized.

The determination process of water leakage:

If you find water pooling around your water heater, you will be in a spot of bother. Firstly, it will be determined that either you have a genuine leakage issue at your water heater or just the condensed water droplets from the air that are pouring out of the tank.

There is an easy process to check that. Turn off all the tapes of water in the house and check the water meter, if it is still moving or counting units, it indicates a leakage.

Confirmation of leaking water heater:

Once you have confirmed that there is water leakage at your connection, now we can jump to the case of water heater leakage. The first step is to turn off the power of the heater if it is electrically operated or simply shut the gas off it is operated on gas.

Now clean all the pipes, valves, and the bottom of the tank. Observe the bottom of the tank, if water droplets develop equally throughout the area of the tank, it is an indication of the condensation of moisture. On contrary, if water bubbles out at a certain point more, there is every chance that your heater is leaking water.

Paper towels can also be used to notify the leakage if it is not possible to observe it otherwise. The area under the tank will be covered by a paper towel and after an hour or two it will be checked. If the towel is moisturized, it points out that water is pouring out of the tank.

Precautions before fixing the leaking water heater:

Before trying to fix your water heater leakage issue, be sure to follow the precautionary measures to avoid any serious damage. Just look at a few things before you get going:

  1. Turn off the source (electricity or gas)
  2. Turn the input valve to block a fresh inlet of cold water into the tank.
  3. Make sure there is not much hot water in the hot water outlet. In other words, shut off the power source of the water heater a few hours before the maintenance work.

How to fix a leaking water heater?

A few possible reasons for leakage and their solution are explained in the subsections to follow.

Check the hot and cold water pipes:

Two pipes are normally connected on top of the tank. One serves the purpose of injecting cold water into the tank while the other bears the responsibility of taking the hot water to the consumer end. There is a chance that the connection point of these pipes may be loose resulting in leakage of water.

If this is the problem, you fix it with a pipe wrench yourself. Just tighten their connection points with the help of a wrench and solve the problem. However, the pipes may get older and rusty after a certain time the services of a professional plumber will be required to replace the pipes.

leaking water heater

Inspect the drain valve:

Usually, it is required to drain all the water in the tank and clean it at least once a year. This purpose is fulfilled with the help of a valve called “Drain Valve”. This valve allows you to drain the water from the tank for maintenance purposes. Make sure its connection is also tightened to the heater else take a pipe wrench and try to slowly fix it. In case, a replacement of the valve is needed, hire a plumber to get it efficiently.

Observe the T&P valve:

Sometimes the temperature and pressure inside the tank rise above a certain limit. In that case, a valve called “T&P Valve” is responsible to release steam and hot water to normalize the temperature and pressure. If this valve does not open or close properly or has a connection issue, water leakage results. Hiring a plumber is the safest option in this case as the hazard of high temperature and pressure is there.

Aging of material:

If the water heater is aged enough the insulating material forming the inside layer of the tank is deteriorated or rusty, and water is likely to leak through the bottom of the tank. This issue is irreparable in most cases and you have to replace the water heater resultantly.

Preventive measures to avoid leaking water heater:

A few preventive measures can be taken to avoid the leaking of the water heater:

  1. Inspect the heater now and then to make sure the connections are healthy and there is no water puddling around.
  2. The pipes that are used to bring in and take out the water need to be observed and maintained carefully.
  3. Ensure the drain valve is connected tightly and functions properly when needed.
  4. Clean the tank at least once a year to avoid piling of sediments.


Leakage of water results in the wastage of resources of multiple horizons. Leakage from the water heater can also be hazardous because it involves high temperatures and pressures. This is the reason that one simply cannot ignore a leaking water heater. The safest option is to call a plumber and get your work done safely and professionally.

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