What to Do if You Notice Your Water Heater Leaking?

Your water heater is an essential appliance that provides hot water for showers, laundry, and other household chores. However, like any other appliance, it can malfunction and cause problems, including leaking. Water heater leaks are annoying and can cause extensive water damage to your home. If you notice your water heater leaking, it’s crucial to take prompt action to prevent further damage.

Understanding the cause of the leak

Before taking any action, it is important to understand the cause of the leak. Water heater leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Corrosion: Over time, the tank can rust and corrode, causing leaks.
  • High water pressure: If the water pressure is too high, it can cause leaks in the water heater.
  • Loose or damaged valves: The valves that control the water flow into and out of the water heater can become loose or damaged, causing leaks.
  • Faulty temperature and pressure relief valve: The temperature and pressure relief valve is designed to release pressure from the tank, but if it is faulty, it can cause leaks.
  • Sediment buildup: Sediment can build up in the tank over time, causing leaks.

Safety precautions

Before you do anything, make sure you take proper safety precautions. Water heaters can be dangerous if not handled properly. Here are some safety tips:

  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
  • Turn off the water supply to the water heater.
  • Allow the water heater to cool down before touching or draining it.

Shutting off the water supply

The first step in addressing a water heater leak is to shut off the water supply, preventing additional water from entering the tank and causing more damage. The shut-off valve is usually located near the top of the water heater.

Turning off the power supply

Once the water supply is turned off, you must turn off the power supply to the water heater. You can turn off the power at the circuit breaker if you have an electric water heater, and if you have a gas water heater, you can turn off the gas supply.

Draining the water heater

After the water and power supply are turned off, drain the water heater. To do this, attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and run it outside or to a drain. Open the valve and allow the tank to drain completely.

Repairing or replacing the water heater

After the water heater has been drained, you can assess the damage and decide whether to repair or replace the water heater. If the leak is caused by corrosion, it may be time to replace the water heater. If a loose or damaged valve causes the leak, replacing the valve and repairing the water heater may be possible. Learn more about water heaters.

Preventing future leaks

To prevent future leaks, it is important to have your water heater inspected and maintained regularly. Sediment buildup can be prevented by flushing the tank every six months. Additionally, make sure the temperature and pressure relief valve is functioning properly.

Signs of water damage

If your water heater has been leaking for some time, you may notice signs of water damage in your home. These can include:

  • Water stains on walls or ceilings
  • Mold or mildew growth
  • Musty smells
  • Buckled or warped flooring

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to address them immediately to prevent further damage. Know more about water heater repair.


Q: Can a water heater leak be repaired?
A: Yes, depending on the extent of the damage. The leak may be repaired by replacing the faulty component if it is minor. However, if the leak is severe, you may need to replace the entire water heater.

Q: Can a water heater explode?
A: A water heater can explode if it’s not properly maintained or the pressure relief valve fails. That’s why having your water heater inspected regularly by a professional plumber is crucial.

Q: How long do water heaters last?
A: The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years. However, with proper maintenance, a water heater can last up to 15 years or more