Tutorial: How to Fix a Leaky Water Heater

Water heaters are great assets to our homes but when they become broken, it can cause a great dent in our wallets. Just because your water heater is leaking though, doesn’t mean you will always need a new one.

In this article, we would like to help you identify the different types of problems that can cause water heaters to leak, and inform you of the best ways to go about addressing them. If you don’t feel comfortable assessing these problems yourself, it may be a better option to contact a professional.

When your water heater is leaking, it’s important to address the problem as quickly as possible to prevent the possibility of mold or mildew formation, which can be harmful to your health.


#1.) Safety First

Before beginning, it’s best to turn off the electricity and water to your unit to ensure that you won’t get hurt in any way. Water leaking around an electrical unit is obviously quite dangerous, and all precautionary measures should be taken to protect yourself from electrocution, shock, and scalding from the hot water.

#2.) Identify Why Your Water Heater is Leaking

There a variety of factors that can cause water heaters to leak, so finding the true source of the problem will give you the best form of repair.

  • Plumbing Connection: Your plumbing connection is where your inlet and outlet valves meet the water heating unit itself. At times, these components can come loose and cause a leak, but can be easily replaced or tighten again with a wrench.
  • Storage Tank Leaking: Holes in your storage tank can lead to corrosion. Perform a thorough evaluation of your unit to make sure there are no holes of any size. If even the slightest hole is present, you will be looking at getting a new water heater all together.
  • Overheating or Excessive Pressure: Your water heater can leak more frequently if the temperature becomes too hot, or there is a consistent build-up of pressure. Lowering the temperature will reduce these chances, and keep your heater working longer.
  • Heating Element Leak: When the heater part of your water heater is out of service, the problem grows beyond a simple fix, and a unit will be needed.
  • Fault in Pressure or the Temperature Relief Valve: Sometimes, debris can become caught up in your pipes and need to be released. Place a bucket beneath the pressure valve, and take the lid off of it to flush the debris.


#3.) Make the Best Choice Before Proceeding

Before making the final decision on what to do about your leaky water heater, look over all of your options, especially before proceeding to purchase a whole new unit.

Remember, if you need a second opinion or aren’t sure whether or not you have been able to make the right assessment, a professional is only a phone call away and could end up saving you money.