How To Fix A Leaking Water Heater

Did you find your water heater leaking? What could be the cause, and how do you go about it. The water heater that is leaking can be an indication of a variety of issues, from loose pipes to a temperature pressure on the valve on the way out.

Fixing the problems ranges from easy to complex processes depending on the degree of the problem. Some people anticipate that once a water heater starts leaking, it has to be replaced but that is not the case.

There are several ways of fixing the heater and getting it back to its proper functionality. Here is a look at some of the familiar issues and how to repair them.

See also  Gas vs Electric Water Heater

Table of Contents

Water Heater Leaking at the Drain Valve

This issue occurs as a result of the valve falling loose after you have flushed or drained the water heater. To solve this issue, you may decide to replace the lid with a new one, or even better, cap it with a horse cap. Ensure that the heater is shut and drained before removing the valve for repair.

Water Heater Pressure Relief Valve Leaking

If your water heater is leaking, consider inspecting the pressure relief valve. The pressure relief valve is mostly found on the side of the tank, and its work is to prevent the tank from rupturing in a case of dangerous pressure build-up.

If the leak appears from the fitting to the tank, you can solve the issue by removing the valve, clean the threads and then re-install it or you could replace the valve with a new one especially if the leak is coming from the outlet.

Ensure to turn off the power first, turn off cold water inlet valve and then use a horse cap on the drain opening. Open the drain valve and allow air into the tank while draining.

Water Heater Leaking From The Top

The nipples are located at the top of the water heater, and it is one of the common areas where leaking from the top could be originating. It is difficult to differentiate a leak coming from this area and a leak from the supply tube.

If you already replaced the supply tubes and the heater is still leaking, there is a likelihood that the problem is coming from the nipples. To fix the problem, you will need removing and replacing the water heater nipples. Remember shutting off the hot water before removing the nipple for repair or replacement.

Water Heater Leaking From Overflow Pipes

If you see a leak, one of the first areas to check is if there is a water overflow in the pipes above the water heater. Such leaks can drip down and make it look like the leak is coming from inside the tank and it is, therefore, essential to inspect the pipes first before concluding.

Always pay close attention to the supply lines as flexible water supply tubes are the primary cause of leaks above the water heater. If the pipes have already failed, you need removing them for replacement.

Water Heater Leaking From The Bottom

In case there is a leak coming from the bottom, the first place to look should be the temperature and pressure relief valve and the drain valve. Furthermore, the leak could be coming from the top of the heater and dripping down to make it appear like the leak is happening on the bottom.

It could also be as a result of a leaking tank or condensation. Look for all possibilities. To resolve the issue, you may have to replace the drain valve, the temperature and pressure relief valve or if it is coming from the tank, you will have to replace the whole water heater.

Water Heater Leaking From Cold Water Inlet

If you realize a pool of water on top of the water heater, there is a possibility that there is a leak from the cold water inlet. In such scenarios, the solution would be to tighten the nut connecting the handles, and if the leaking persists, then there could be an issue with the valve, and you will have to replace it.

These are some ways of troubleshooting water heater failures and leaks. It is recommendable to have a professional carry out a thorough inspection of your heater from time to time.

Realizing the issues early enough will save you the cost of having to buy a new water heater since small problems can be repaired as opposed to significant ones that can only be solved by purchasing a new water heater. If you are unsure of the problem, don’t work on assumptions then hire professionals to fix the problem.


If you are using an electric tankless water heater or the more powerful natural gas tankless water heater, you may have different issues relating to the source that is powering the water heater.

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