Is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous – A Complete Guide

Is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous

Minor water leaks from heaters are usually considered a norm and may not be that big a problem, but having a leaking water heater is dangerous, too, as it can be indicative of another major underlying problem.

We tried to explain some major reasons as knowing these and taking proper care beforehand can help you prevent the dangerous effects of eventual water leakage. Some of the possible outcomes of leaking water heaters are:


Small leaks are not going to cause many problems, but if you don’t do something to tackle the situation in time, it can burst, eventually flooding the room with water in which it is installed and causing damage to the property. So now you know how dangerous is a leaking water heater.

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Burning Risk

The only function of a water heater is to make the water hot, and if it is leaking, it will do its job more efficiently to cover up that leakage. So, if you decide to take care of it yourself, be careful, as it can burn your skin easily.

Fire Hazard

In the case of a leaking water heater, there is undoubtedly something wrong, and there is no one ruling out gas leakage, which presents a fire hazard. If you are sure that’s a problem, you should get in touch with a professional and let him have a look to prevent any serious problems.

From these consequences, one can guess how dangerous is a leaking water heater.

Possible Causes

There can be a bunch of causes behind a leaking water heater, as these vary from one heater to another. Some of the most common are:

Malfunctioning of Temperature and Pressure T&P Valve

The temperature and Pressure valve acts as a safety mechanism to prevent overheating water inside the tank. As soon as the water pressure inside the water heater tank goes beyond a specific limit because of overheating, this valve releases water steam to cool things off.

Water leakage from it can also be routine, so you should decrease the temperature slightly to prevent overheating. Even after reducing the temperature, you need to contact a professional if water is still dripping from it.

If this safety mechanism fails, it increases pressure inside the tank leading to a burst. In addition to financial damage of thousands of dollars, a nearby individual may also be affected by this blast.

Sediments Buildup

Water heater tanks are made of steel or iron and corrode over time despite being lined with anion rods installed for protection. Because of this corrosion, sediment buildup inside the tank decreases the water heater’s capacity and leads to ruptures or pinhole leaks.

The best way to detect sediment buildup is to observe the water coming from the tap as this will be rusty looking in case of sediment buildup. If this is the case, replacement of water tank should be done immediately. Also, as a precaution, don’t forget to check your water tank from the inside every two years to see the coating of the anode rod.

Loose Fitting of Pipes

The cold water intake pipe or the hot outgoing water pipe may have become loose or oxidized and are responsible for leakage. One can easily set it right by tightening these connections or replacing pipes if needed.

Faulty Drain Valve

If you suspect water leakage from the drain valve, you must immediately turn off the water and electricity and replace it. Shattering the tank can occur because of temperature shock, but you can easily prevent it by allowing one hour before refilling it.

Is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous

Location of Leaks and Their Solution

From wherever the water is leaking, whether it’s the top or bottom of the heater, we recommend you to turn off electricity to the heater and water supply, too, as mixing these can be catastrophic.

Leakage From the Top of Heater

Leakage of water from the top is dangerous, but thankfully it is less dangerous as compared to a leak from the bottom. There can be various reasons for it:

  • Pipes above the heater can be leaky. To find, check if any of these pipes is wet.
  • It may be a leaky temperature and Pressure Valve. A simple tightening or replacement can do the job.

Leakage From the Bottom

As we already mentioned, leakage from the bottom of the water heater is more dangerous and needs immediate attention. Some potential causes are:

  • The drain valve can be faulty or may not have been turned off.
  • Sediment buildup, in case you haven’t checked the water tank for a while.
  • Condensation buildup in rare cases.

Get it Repaired Sooner Than Later.

We think your question “Is a leaking water heater dangerous?” has been answered. Indeed, a leaking water heater is dangerous as it can shatter, causing damage to an individual or property.

Whatever the reason, you need to cut off the electricity and water supply of the tank immediately and then try to fix it yourself if you think you can handle that. But if it looks to you that things are out of your hands, you need to contact a professional, as spending a few dollars can prevent any kind of loss and your money.

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