What to do when your water heater is leaking?

A leaking water heater demands your immediate attention. It starts off as a small leakage and quickly blown into a big crisis within no time. 

The presence of leaks in your water heater indicates serious problems with your geyser. If not treated in time, it can cause significant damage to your walls, floors, and other property.

As soon as you discover the leaking of your water heater, you should swing into action to determine the cause of the leaks and address the issue. 

Let’s discuss

The following steps for diagnosing and fixing a leaking water heater.

Step 1: Determine the source of water heater leakage

Every time you see the water droplets on the floor below the water heater, it does not mean you have a water heater leakage. It may happen due to the condensation that causes accumulation and dripping of water drops.

Go through the following steps when you find out water near your water heater.

  • Take a clean dry piece of cloth and dry the area surrounding the water heater including a water heater body, pipes, and plumbing fittings.  Inspect carefully for any sign of leakage.
  • If everything seems ok, check for leakage in overhead pipes. If you don’t find anything, try placing some paper towels on the dry floor below the water heater and check them after a few hours for any water leakage.
  • If you don’t find anything on paper towels, then it signals your water heater is fine. However, if your paper towels are found wet, it signals the source of the leakage is your water heater.

Step 2: Turn Off the Power

Once you have pinpointed that source of the leakage is your water heater, the next step is to turn off the power supply. 

Electric water heater: Locate the circuit breaker box and switch off the breaker that connects to your water heater. Do it carefully to avoid any mishappening.

Gas water heater: Set the power status to switch off by using the power On/Off switch present on the exterior of the water heater body. Be careful to avoid closing the gas shut-off valve.

Step 3: Turn Off the Water Supply

Turn off the water supply to your water heater by shutting off the cold water shut-off valve. It is usually located at the top of the water heaters. 

All you need to do is to pull down the handle or turn the dial gate valve clockwise for closing the valve. To be safer, you may choose to shut off the main valve that supplies water to your entire house.

If the water leakage from the water heater is significant, shutting off the main valve would stop the leaking completely and allows you to take further steps to fix the issue.

Step 4: Determine the Location of the Leak

To determine the location of the leak, you need to check for common areas that cause leaking. 

Inlet and Outlet Connections: Check out the cold water inlet and hot water outlet connections for any signs of leakage. If this is the source of leakage, you may easily repair it by tightening the loose connections.

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve: You will find the T&P valve located at the side or top of the water heater tank.

It acts as a safety device and comprises an attached pipe that relieves the excess tank pressure by flowing water out of the tank.

Inspect the area where the valve connects with the tank and then check the valve carefully in both open and closed positions for any signs of a leak.  

Drain Valve: You will find the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Inspect the area where it connects with the tank. Check carefully, if this valve is watertight closed without any leakage.

Inter????nal Tank: Check your internal tank to see signs of leakage. As your water heater gets older, the internal tank may start leaking due to wearing out. If this is the case, you need to buy a new geyser.

Step 5: Repair or Replace

When you have successfully determined the source and location of the leak, the next step is to fix the issue by replacing or repairing the faulty components or even a complete water heater. 

If you are clueless about what to do next, it’s best to call your plumber or water heater technician from a reputed company to fix the leakage.

On the other hand, if you are comfortable with home plumbing repairs, you can fix some minor leakage issues yourself by following the below steps as per the source and location of leakage.  

Inlet or Outlet Leaks

If you have a leakage resulting from the loose connections associated with cold water inlet or hot water outlet, you should tighten these connections using pipe wrench and see if it fixes the issue. 

If the problem persists, you need to call the water heater technician.

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve Leaks

The excessive pressure or overheating inside the water heater tank cause leaks from the T&P valve. To fix this you may try to lower the thermostat settings for reducing the temperature and see if it fixes the issue. 

Moreover, you may also try to open the T&P valve using the valve tab and flush out to remove the debris.

If the problem persists, you need to call the water heater technician.

Drain Valve Leaks

Open the drain valve by turning the dial counter-clockwise and flush out to remove the debris with water flowing out of the water heater.

If the problem persists, it may be due to a faulty drain valve and you need to call your water heater technician.

Internal Tank Leaks

The issues related to the internal tank leaks indicate the serious underlying problems. In such cases, you cannot do much and you need to call your water heater technician.


The appearances of leaks in geyser occur due to various factors including aging, poor maintenance, loose valves, or excessive tank temperature or pressures.

The leaks in the water heater get more and more pronounced with time and need immediate repair or replacement.  

You can fix some of these issues by identifying the source and location of the leaks by following the above steps and call your technician if nothing works out.

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