Skip to content

What to Do if Your Water Heater Is Leaking


What Should You Do If Your Water Heater Is Leaking?

If your water heater is leaking, you should definitely spring into action sooner rather than later. It is all too easy for a small leak to turn into a very big problem if left on its own.

You may have to do some hot water tank repair or hire a water heater service professional. Sometimes the issue can be small enough that you can fix it on your own, but not all of the time. Though it is always important to practice safety and not try to fix something unless you know you are able to.

Find the Leak Source

Before addressing a leak, you should find out exactly where the leak is coming from. This can help you to better address the issue and actually resolve it. You can do this by cleaning up the leak and waiting to see where it leaks again. This will give you a good indication of where the leak could be coming from and whether you should proceed or call a plumber.

Shut Off the Water Heater and the Water Supply

To begin our hot water tank repair, you need to first shut off the water heater and the water supply. You will need to do this differently depending on whether you have a gas heater or an electric heater. Refer to your water heater’s instruction manual.
Once the water heater is shut off safely, you should drain the water from the tank. If the leak is coming from the water shut-off valve on the tank you may need to shut of the water main to the house.

Address the Issue

Now comes the tricky part. Understanding where the leak is coming from is the first part but you will also need to understand why it is leaking from the tank. It could be that a seal has worn or cracked or that the tank itself is corroded beyond repair. Below are some of the ways a tank can begin leaking.

Why Is Your Hot Water Heater Leaking?

What causes a water heater to start leaking without any warning?
There are several reasons why your water heater may be leaking. In order to fix the problem, it is also good to understand why the problem occurred in the first place.

Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is there to balance out the pressure if it becomes too great. If your temperature is set too high or the water pressure is too high, this could cause a leak.
This is a very common reason why your water heater is leaking. It is also common in older hot water heaters. This part can also begin to fail and start to drip. The fix is as simple as replacing the valve.

Drain Valve

The drain valve is at the bottom of the water heater and should be closed at all times. If your water heater is leaking from the bottom, this valve could be slightly open.
This can happen if the washer inside the valve has become worn down. This will result in the washer needing to be replaced to stop the hot water heater leaking issue.


A leaking water heater could also be the result of the thermostat being turned up too high. This can cause excess pressure that the pressure relief valve must disperse.
The typical range for hot water heater settings should be around 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This creates enough heat for your hot water without becoming excessive and causing a leak.

Inlet and Outlet

The inlet and outlet are often the most common source of water heater repair as they can start to cause leaking. This is because fittings can become loose and cause leaking.
This is especially common in older water heaters that have been running for a long time. They can start to loosen, leaving more leeway for leaks to occur around the inlets and outlets.
This could be as simple as replacing the parts.

Tank Corrosion

If the inner tank of your water heater has corroded far enough, the tank will begin to leak. You may not be able to recognize the rust because the outside of the tank is a separate piece. If this is the case then you will need to have the water heater replaced.

What Can You Do If Your Water Heater Is Leaking?

The most important thing about water heater leaks is to act immediately. It could be a simple fix or a full replacement. Either way King Heating, Cooling & Plumbing is here for your water heater needs. Call us today and talk to one of our professionals about your water heater issues.