Is Your Water Heater Leaking? (Here’s What To Do!)

If your water heater is leaking, you need to take care of right away. It is inevitable that a leak will cause major damage to your home over time. The sooner you catch it, the better off you will be. Checking for leaks around your home regularly can save you from suffering from water damage to your home. 

Let’s go over some ways to determine why your water heater is leaking. Here’s what you should do in order to stop the leak and solve the problem. 

It is important to know that if a leak is left unattended, it will continually get worse over time. Not all leaks are super serious, and can be solved easily, although some may need more attention. Water heater issues are usually problems that can’t be fixed on your own. Don’t stress that it’s not something you can fix. If worse comes to worse, you can call a professional plumber to fix the issue quickly and efficiently. 

Water Heater is Leaking: Do This First

First, you need to be able to find the source of where the leak is coming from. Sometimes, other factors can come into play that make it seem as if your water heater is leaking, but it’s not. These are things like condensation, water softener discharge lines, or furnace drain lines. 

The best way to identify if you have a leak is to place some paper towels underneath the water heater. If you come back a while later and see that there is water, then your water heater has a leak. 

Know Where the Leak is? Turn Off the Water Supply

If you know where the leak is on your water heater, you should turn off the water supply. To do this, you need to find the shut off valve. There should be two pipes at the top of your water heater for hot and cold water. You can distinguish these by the blue and red colors on them.

You can usually find the shut off valve to your water heater on the cold water supply line. 

Two Types of Commonly Used Valves:

  • Ball valve – lever type handle that you pull or turn to turn off water
  • Dial valve – like a wheel that you can turn clockwise to turn off the water
ball and dial valve
Ball valve (left) and Dial valve (right)

If you looked and followed the supply lines at the top of your water heater and cannot find the supply line shut off valve, it is possible that your water heater does not have one. If this is the case, you will need to locate your main water shut off valve that turns off the water supply to your home. This will allow you to cut off the water supply to the water heater.

Make Sure to Turn Off the Power

Now that you have the water turned off, make sure that you also turn off the power. 

  • If you have a gas water heater, you have to locate the valve on the gas supply line which is typically near the bottom and a couple feet away from the water heater. 
  • If you have an electrical water heater, you need to flip off the breaker in your electrical panel that is connected to the water heater. 

Common Reasons a Water Heater Leaks

Pressure Relief Valve

This is a device that is on all water heaters. In order for your water heater to be able to deal with the high pressures and temperatures inside the water heater, it needs to be able to release some of that pressure. This valve allows the water heater to do that, so it doesn’t explode because of extreme pressure or temperature.

water heater leaking

Drain Valve

The drain valve is near the bottom of the tank and can drain the water in the water heater for maintenance reasons. If this valve is leaking, it is likely that you need to replace it with a new one. Otherwise, you might have an internal tank leak which can be diagnosed if you find that there is moisture around where the drain valve is installed.

water heater leaking

Cold Water Inlet and Hot Water Outlet

If you have water leaking on the top of your water heater, this could be the cause. Follow the pipes that supply the hot and cold water. If you see anything leaking from the pipes, you have found the source of the leak. It is common for pipes to leak where there are different connections or fittings. 

Internal Tank

You will know your internal tank is leaking if you notice moisture. This moisture will most likely be around the pressure relief valve or your drain valve. Internal tanks are known to leak through the bottom of your water heater because that’s the only way for it to get out. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, it is inevitable that with age and deterioration of a water heater comes with possible leaks and other issues. Making sure you are paying attention to how your water heater is performing and doing things like treating your hard water can help prevent some of those leaks and stubborn issues. 

If you find that the issue you’re having is pretty small, you are more likely to be able to fix it yourself. Many homeowners prefer to just have a professional plumber come take care of it for you. Either way, it really comes down to how comfortable you are with trying to fix the issue yourself and how complex the issue really is.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you need any plumbing or drain cleaning service. 1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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