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A Guide to Leaky Water Heaters

Leaky Water Heater Guide to Finding the Leak


A hot water heater is essential to your home. It makes water hot for washing hands, washing dishes, and taking showers. However, sometimes these appliances develop leaks and it’s important for you to know how to deal with this when it happens.

If you notice a leak, it’s important to look for the cause. There are rare instances in which it could be something else causing the leak and knowing what you’re looking for can help you save money.


Condensation is a common cause of excess water in basements. You can test if this is the source of your water problem by wiping the surface of the appliance with a paper towel or your hand to see if there is water present on the outside of the appliance. If so, you may be able to fix the issue by simply putting a dehumidifier near the appliance, slightly changing the temperature it is set at, or insulating it.

Leaking Pipes

Check for leaks under the joints in the piping. Leave something to see if water catches in it under a joint. If so, you need to call a plumber at Spartan Plumbing to handle the leaky pipe.

Appliance Leaks

A leak may be coming from another close by appliance. This could be caused by water running towards your heater. If this is the case, you can fix the issue with that appliance or call a plumber to check it for you.

How to Repair the Leak

If you determine that the hot water heater has a leak, you’ll need to make sure it is repaired. This water heater repair can be done by Spartan Plumbing or you can do it yourself if you have the experience. Make sure you follow the best safety steps first though.

Turn Off Power

The first step is to turn the power to the appliance off. Switch the electrical breaker for the water heater and/or turn the gas valve off. This will prevent electrocution and other more costly problems.

Turn Off Water

Make sure you turn off the water that goes to the heater as well. Pull the shut-off switch near the heater. If you cannot access this or you aren’t certain where it is, you can turn off the main water switch.

Leaks from the Top of the Appliance

Loose Piping

If you have loose piping, there may be water on top of the appliance. This likely indicates that the fittings need to be tightened where they connect to the appliance. If there is corrosion, it will need to be replaced.

T&P Valve Problems

If your T&P valve is leaking, there will be water on the side of your appliance. The water will need to be drained from the valve. From there, investigate the locks and fittings to ensure there is no corrosion.

Leaks Coming from the Bottom of the Appliance

Drain Valve Leak

The drain valve is supposed to be watertight. If it is not, it may need to be replaced.


If there is damage to the tank itself, there will be a large leak. This is one of the most common problems for this type of appliance. In this case, the entire tank will probably need to be replaced.

T&P Discharge Pipe

The T&P valve pulls hot water and pressure from the tank. The discharge pipe is what actually removes it. If this becomes damaged, it will need to be replaced, and the valve may need to be replaced as well.


Yearly Maintenance Tips


You can inspect your appliance every 60 days by looking at the pipes and listening for unusual noises. Make sure everything is working properly, including the valve system. After your appliance is at least three years old, you or a professional should inspect the anode rod every year and look for chipping.


Your appliance should be flushed every six months. Check the flushed water for sediment. Continue flushing the tank until you notice no more sediment.

If you notice a problem with a leak in any of your appliances, it is best to call a plumbing expert, like Spartan Plumbing. They can located the source of the problem quickly and also address the problem right away. Call today for a consultation.