Don’t panic! If your water heater is leaking, keep cool and follow the steps listed below to minimize the damage. Then, call a professional to get it fixed right.

Your Water Heater Is Leaking – Possible Causes

There are a few reasons why your water heater is leaking. These include:

  • A loose drain valve
  • Your water pressure is too high
  • Your tank is cracked
  • One of the fixtures are loose
  • It’s old and needs replacing

Take the following steps to find out where the leak is and to get it solved.

Step 1: Make Sure the Water Is Leaking from Your Water Heater

Just because you notice water near or around your hot water heater, doesn’t mean that it is actually coming from your water heater. If your floor slopes at all, even slightly, then the water may be draining from somewhere else such as a window or other plumbing pipe. The water may not be coming from your heater!

Wipe up the water and take a good look at the surrounding area. Do you see any fittings on your water heater that are wet or any drips coming from it?

Make sure the leak is coming from your water heater – Image Source: Dave Saville [Public domain]

Step 2: Turn off Your Water

If you have figured out that the leak is actually coming from your water heater, then you should turn off the water to your tank. Most hot water tanks have a shutoff valve on the cold inlet pipes.

Gate-style valves: A gate valve looks like a little wheel. Turn it clockwise as far as you can to stop the flow of water.

Ball-style valves: A ball-style valve will have a handle that you will need to turn 180 degrees to shut off the water.

If your valve is broken or you are unable to turn it, you can turn off the water to your entire house instead. Locate the main water shut off valve for your home and turn it off. If you are having trouble with this process, you can call a service professional to help you. To avoid water damage, you don’t want to wait too long to shut off your water, especially if your heater is leaking a lot.

Turn a ball valve 180 degrees to shut off the water – Image Source: Home Depot

Step 3: Turn off Your Power Supply

Electric water heaters: If you have an electric water heater, you should shut off the power by turning off the breaker for your tank. Go to your fuse panel and flip the appropriate breaker to off.

Gas water heaters: If you have a gas water heater, you should shut off the gas supply. You should see a dedicated gas shut off valve on the gas line leading to the tank. Shut this valve off.


Step 4: Find the Location of Your Leak

Now that your water and power has been turned off, you can start to find out where the leak is. There are a few places where it could be. The following video will show you the various parts of your hot water heater and how it works.

There are a number of different places in your water heater where leaks can occur

Inlet and Outlet:

The inlet is where the cold water comes into your tank and the outlet is where the hot water leaves your tank. You may have a leak at your fittings. The fittings are the metal pieces that join your hot and cold water pipes to your hot water tank. Take a look at these two fittings to see if any water is coming from them. They may be loose. If they are, you can tighten them with a pipe wrench.

Pressure Relief Valve:

Your pressure relief valve is a safety measure that will release water if too much pressure builds up. This could be caused by your thermometer being set too high or if the water pressure in your home is excessive. The Canadian Safety Council recommends that your hot water temperature should be set between 54C and 60C.

Temperature –
If the temperature is not set high and you see water leaking from your pressure relief valve it could be because it is just doing its job. If your temperature is set to the proper temperature then the valve may be broken and may need to be replaced. Contact a professional to help you with this issue.

Water Pressure – If the water pressure in your home is too high then that could also be causing the leak. Your water pressure should not be over 80 PSI per code. Have a professional check this out for you. You may need to install a pressure reducing valve as excessive pressure can cause damage to your fixtures as well as leaks.

If your tank is cracked, it will have to be replaced

Bottom of Your Water Heater:

It can be difficult to tell if the leak is coming from the bottom of your tank as water from a leaving valve or fitting may run down the side of your tank and pool underneath it. If it is coming from the bottom of your tank then the tank itself could be cracked. If this is the case, the tank will need to be replaced.

Drain Valve:

You will see a drain valve near the bottom of your hot water tank. This valve needs to be closed tightly. If it isn’t, it may leak water. If it is closed tightly and it is still leaking, then you may have a worn out washer that needs to be replaced.

You may need to replace a worn washer in your drain valve – Image Source: Home Depot

You Can Trust Draft Control to Fix or Replace Your Water Heater

At Draft Control, we are not only trusted HVAC service and installation experts, but we can also solve any problem you are having with your hot water heater. It doesn’t matter what type of water heater you have; Draft Control has the experience to fix it right. We work on all brands and types including gas, electric, and tankless. If your water heater is leaking or you are looking to upgrade to a larger model, contact Draft Control today.

“Excellent service at less than half the price I was being quoted by other companies. I highly recommend!”
– Gillian Kirkland

Financing Available!

Great news, Draft Control now offers financing through EcoHome Financial. If you know that you need to a new air conditioner and furnace and want to replace HVAC system, but you weren’t sure how you were going to do it financially, we can help. Contact Draft Control to learn more.


We Even Offer a Military Discount!

Draft Control is proud to offer a 10% discount on select services and sales to our military personnel. Contact us today to learn more.