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What To Do If You Notice Your Water Heater Leaking

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for made purchases.

The water heat is often located in an area of the home that many of us don’t visit that often. Therefore, we only become aware that there may be an issue with the water heater when it is really obvious.

A leaking water heater is an issue that a lot of us homeowners don’t really think about. 

Leaking Water Heater

Yet, once you do notice that something is wrong, it could all be too late. The damage could have already been done to your home. 

In this article, we are going to shine a light on your water heater and what you should do if you notice that it is leaking. 

Causes Of Your Water Heater To Leak

There are a couple of reasons why your water heater may be leaking. Below are some main reasons why this issue may occur, and it isn’t that uncommon of a problem.  


Like any appliance or piece of equipment in your home, it will get older. As your water heater gets older, it will become less efficient and begin to deteriorate. However, when compared to a lot of other appliances that you will find in your home. 

The water heater is really durable and can last for around 10 years before any issues begin to arise. This is true even if you don’t stay up to date on their maintenance, this is how durable these water heaters are. 

However, before you know it, 10 years have gone by, and it is really easy to lose track of how old your water heater is. Thus, if your water heater is beginning to leak or malfunction, then it may be worth going back to check the age of your water heater.

You can do this by seeing when you bought the water heater. Then, if your water heater is older than 10 years, it will explain why it is beginning to play up. 

Cold And Hot, Outlets and Inlets

The hot and cold outlets and inlets are actually fitted onto your water heater. These outlets are much more prone to become damaged when compared to the other elements on the water heater.

If you have noticed that your water heater has begun to leak, then it is important that you check the outlets and inlets aren’t the cause of these leaks. 

Pressure And Temperature Relief Valve

There are a few explanations why the¬†water heaters (see also ‘ How To Remove Sediments From Water Heaters ‘) pressure and temperature relief valve could be causing your water heater to leak. 

Ultimately, if this value has to deal with too much pressure, then it may begin to start acting up. These issues could also come from the water heater (see also ‘Water Heater Reset Button Keeps Tripping? | Causes & Solutions‘) naturally increasing the temperature of the water too highly.

As a result, this can lead to leaks and your temperature and pressure relief valve will become damaged. 

Drain Valve

The drain valve is there to send away any kind of sediment that happens to make its way into your water heater (see also ‘Water Heater Making Popping Sound?‘). Although, with the drip valve, it is known to drip a little.

However, it is quite obvious when your drain valve is dripping a bit, and it is in fact leaking. Always keep an eye on the drain valve to make sure that it isn’t releasing more water than it should be. Otherwise, that can cause you a real issue really quickly. 

Water Tank

It is one of the biggest issues if your water heater is leaking due to your water tank. With this problem, it can’t be solved quickly, and it can become quite an expensive problem to get fixed. 

However, if there is an issue with your water tank you will be able to tell straight away. If there is an issue with the water tank, then there will be flooding instead of leaks. 

What Are The Signs That Your Water Heater Is Going To Leak?

It can be difficult to tell when your water heater is about to start leaking. Unless you notice a hole in your water heater, it can be hard to tell. What you should be doing is looking over your water heater occasionally.

This is something the majority of homeowners don’t do, so then when something goes badly wrong with their water heater, it is really unexpected. 

When looking over your water heater, you only need to do it now and then, and it shouldn’t take up much time. You want to keep an eye on some of the symptoms that we are about to go through below. 

Change In Water Quality

It is really common for a lot of people to take a shower in the morning. Some people prefer a cold shower in the morning, while others want it nice and hot. 

When it comes to the water quality, if something is wrong, your hot water will start coming out lukewarm. The first time it happens, you may not think much about it. Or you may just think that you are colder that morning for your shower.

Lukewarm water, that should be hot, is a sign that your water heater isn’t working properly.

You should also check the quality of the water, by seeing if there are any rust particles in the water. You may notice that issue on your clothes, as they will have rust marks on them. 

To check if there is rust in your water, then all you need to do is pour some water into a glass. Then you should watch how the water looks. You may be able to see if there is rust in your shower water, as the water will taste and smell different to how it normally should.

If your water is rusty, then this rust will begin to build up in your water heater. The rust is the first sign, then soon your heater will begin leaking.


Speaking of rust, you may notice rust beginning to form on the exterior of the heater. Rust may not just be in the water, it can be forming on the outside too. 

If you do notice rust on the water tank, then you can assume that the water tank will begin to leak soon. You should also check over the burner unit as well, as this is also prone to rusting over time as well.

Water Heater Making Noises

It is normal for sediment to build up in your water heater. For a long period of time, the sediment that is building up won’t make a big impact on your water heater. However, as the sediment builds up and begins to harden.

This will then cause your water heater to start making a noise when the water heater is working. 

A good way to tell if something is wrong or about to go wrong with your water heater, is to just listen to it. If you hear something that doesn’t sound normal, then this could be a sign that something isn’t right. 

Water Is Forming Around The Heater

Water Is Forming Around The Heater

One of the most noticeable symptoms is that there is something wrong with your water heater, and it is leaking. You will see puddles of water beginning to form around your water heater. 

If you see water, then it is easy to assume that your water heater is leaking. A puddle under the water heater is a sign that the leak is under the water heater. 

Fixing A Broken Water Heater

Now that you have determined the signs that your water heater is leaking. Then you need to decide what you will do next. 

Here we have some tips when you discover that your water heater is leaking

Find The Leak

If you know that your water heater is leaking, you need to know where the leak is coming from. As suggested above, a leak can come from various places.

Also, it is important to note that not all leaks can be fixed in the same way. A leak could be due to the tank values or a faulty connection. 

Before you even consider repairing a leak, you need to find out where the leak is coming from. Try to clean up the water and come back the next day to see where the water has formed. This will give you an idea of where the leak is coming from. 

As we have already established, you should keep a close eye on the values on your water heater. You want to make sure that they are still fully sealed and that no water is dripping out of them.

If the seal is loose, then you can assume that they may be causing your water heater to leak

Power Off And Drain The Tank

If you have found out where the leak is coming from. Then you need to turn the power off to the water heater

If you have an electric water heater, then to shut it down, use the circuit breaker box. You need to find the breaker that is linked to your water and shut it down.

However, you need to make sure you do it right, as you don’t want to find yourself standing in water while there is still electricity flowing through the wiring, as that is extremely dangerous. 

If you have a gas heater, they are much easier to shut down, because all you need to do is flip a switch. Once the water heater has been shut down, you can go ahead and drain the tank.

A container or hose should be used to keep the water off your basement floor, otherwise you’ll have to deal with flooding. 

Shut Off The Water Supply

Once the water heater is empty, you need to shut off the water supply. First, start off with the cold water valve first, and as long as you can reach for it safely.

Then you can switch it off yourself. By switching this valve off, then this should prevent any more water from entering your water heater. 

However, if you cannot reach the cold water shut off valve (see also ‘Top 10 Automatic Water Shut Off Valves‘), then you can switch off the main water value instead. 


The repairs to a water heater can differ from being quite simple to really complicated. 

If the issue with your water heater is the hot and cold water in and outlets, then you can repair this issue yourself. Also check all the connections and see if any are loose. If they are, then tighten them. 

However, if the problems are due to the valves, this is much more difficult to fix. If you have a broken valve, then you will have to replace it. You can try to fix this issue yourself, however if you don’t have much experience, you may make the problem worse.

At this point, you may want to consider hiring a professional to do the job for you. 

Finally, if there is a hole in your water heater. The repairs won’t have much use and last that long. Hence, it’s time to replace the water heater. 

Maintaining A Water Heater

You should always do your best to look after your water heater as much as you can. Giving your water heater the proper maintenance it deserves isn’t a difficult task. 

Keep an eye on the sacrificial or anode rod. This part of a water heater will gather the debris that comes into the water heater. You want to check that this is still working occasionally. Normally it needs to be replaced every 2 to 3 years. 

Another thing you should consider doing is flushing the water tank. Do it once a year, and it will help prolong the life of your water heater. 

If you do all of these things, then you not only prolong the life of your water heater. Yet, it also helps your water heater to work much more efficiently as well. Therefore, you will be getting a better experience for your money.

You don’t need to give up much time to look after your water heater so that it keeps working for longer.

The thing that damages your water heater to make it start leaking, won’t be noticeable straight away. However, if you don’t keep an eye on the water heater then when you do notice that something is wrong, it can be too late and costly. 


In this article, we have gone through all the points why your water heater may be leaking and how you can resolve this issue. You can try to fix a leaking water heater yourself, however, if you lack experience then we would suggest hiring a professional. 

The best thing to do is to keep an eye on your water heater so that you aren’t caught off guard when something goes wrong, and you find it leaking. We hope you found this article useful and solved your water heater queries. 

Thank you for reading!

author avatar
Charlie Hardcastle


On Key

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