Things to Do if Your Water Heater Leaks

A leaking water heater does not necessarily imply it needs immediate replacement, but you must address any possible leaks promptly. Most high-quality water heaters can last longer than others, but even those can leak. Even a tiny water particle can cause significant damage, so it’s critical to assess the situation immediately.

Water Heater Leaks
Water Heater Leaks Photo by Luis Quintero on

If you are in this situation, it is advantageous to know what to look for or what to do. Though nothing beats the expertise of a licensed professional, it is still better to have an idea about the various task related to dealing with a water leak. These steps might prove helpful when you encounter a water heater leak:

What You Can Do When You Spot a Leak

First, determine the source of the leak. A neglectable amount of water from your roof, underneath your water heater, ceilings, walls, or even smoke vents could present possible hazards. It is genuinely challenging to detect these leakages, and it can only get worst as time passes that it doesn’t get detected.

There is still the possibility that the leak might not be coming from the water heater. Clean up the spilled water and conduct a thorough inspection of the area. Are any components dripping, or are there other indications of water damage? You can look for signs like discolorations or water trails.

Examine your environment for other potential water sources. Is the water close to the windows or source of water? If your floor leans certain, water may have moved from another spot to where you discovered it; if you can’t figure out what caused the leak immediately, set down several paper towels where you found the water and return within a few hours to a few days.

If the sheets are damp when you return, know an issue is present, and it might not even come from the water heater. If you found that the leak is coming from your water heater, you can follow the fundamental steps for assessing the condition or give an expert technician a call to come out and inspect it.

Basic Inspection Methods – Water Heater Leaks

1. Switch Off the Water Supply

You should switch off the water to your container if you have a broken water heater. On the cold inflow pipes of your water heater tank, there should be a specific shutoff valve.

  • Rotate the valve clockwise as far as possible if it’s a gate-style valve.
  • Turn the knob 180 degrees if the valve is a ball-style one.

You can turn the water off to your building if the valve is faulty. You should install a main water shutoff valve in every building to cease the flow of water throughout the building. If you’re having trouble finding this shutoff valve, call a licensed specialist right away to assist you.

2. Switch off the Power Supply

These might be things you want to know if you have an electric or a gas water heater.

Gas Water Heater

If you utilize a gas-powered water heater leaking, experts recommend turning off the gas supply before working on the tank. There must be a specific gas shutoff valve on the gas line connecting to the tank.

Electric Water Heater

If you’re having trouble with an electric water heater, experts recommend setting off the electricity at the switch before working on the tank. Turn the breaker off.

3. Check Your Outlets

Leakages are common where pipes link to your water heater. Inspect the connections for hot water output and cold water intake. Are any of the fixtures missing? All they require maybe a pipe wrench to tighten them up.

4. Check Your Pressure Relief Valve

When too much pressure builds, the relief valve, also known as the T&P valve, may discharge water as a precautionary measure. If your thermostat is above the typical setting or your facility’s water pressure is too high, this pressure build-up can cause leakage at the valve.

5. Check Your Thermostat Settings

Ensure the thermostat is not set too high, and use a pressure gauge at a hose connector to assess the pressure in your building. The default configuration for most manufacturers is 60 degrees Celsius; however, some government agencies suggest putting your tank-based hot water system to 48.89 degrees Celsius.

If water is escaping from the T&P valve, you can assume that it’s doing its function and discharging water when the pressure rises or the valve has malfunctioned. If your temperature isn’t too high, but you’re still getting leaks, the issue could be with the valve.

6. Check Your Water Pressure

It’s also an excellent option to double-check the temperature and the pressure. You can utilize a pressure gauge to check your levels at the hose connector outside your building. It’s also an excellent decision to double-check the temperature and the pressure.

You can utilize a pressure gauge to assess the pressure at the hose connector outside your building. According to the code, your incoming water pressure should not exceed 80 PSI, and if it does, experts strongly advise you to install a decreasing pressure valve. Your water pressure could be causing more than just a leak; it could also potentially damage your installations.

7. Inspect the Underside of Your Water Heater

It might be challenging to pinpoint the location of a leak, particularly if water is pooling beneath the tank. Water escaping from a valve may stream down the tank’s sides, making it appear that the leakage originates from the bottom when it is coming from the upper or sides. If the issue is coming from the underside of the tank, it’s possible that the tank sustained some damage and needs replacement.

8. Check Your Drain Valve

Close the drain valve near the underside of your tank to ensure nothing is seeping from this spot. If the washer inside is leaking, you may need to replace it. If you still can’t figure out where the issue originates, you’ll have to call in some professionals for help.

Typical Causes of Water Heater Leak

Excessive Pressure: A water heater tank often can accumulate extreme pressure, resulting in leaks. It can occur if you adjust the water temperature too high or if the tank’s external water supply gets delivered at too high a pressure.

Cracked Storage Tank: The utilization of a glass-lined storage tank is typical in constructing water heaters. There are instances where calcified minerals settle inside the tank as time pass. These can break the glass coating of your water heater, causing it to leak. Furthermore, when you heat the water, it expands. This expansion stresses the heater’s glass lining, causing it to break gradually.

Regrettably, you will have to replace your water heater if this instance happens; the fractures in the glass liner are irreversible. These leaks don’t damage the unit’s functionality every time, so people choose to delay replacing their water heater. It’s alright if the leaking water does not cause harm, but you will have to replace the device eventually.

Loose Drain Valve: A faulty drain valve is among the most typical reasons for water heater leaking. If the valve looks leaking, tighten it with a wrench till it is firm, but be mindful not to overdo it.


Whatever you discover, it’s always a good idea to have a specialist examine your water heater if you find any leaks. It is the quickest and most cost-effective method for you to see all and prevent potential damages. Before hiring one, you need to do your homework first and ask the necessary questions to determine if they fit your requirements.