Hot Water Heater Leaking and How to Prevent It

We all want a hot shower after a long day, especially during the cold days. Having a hot water heater at home is very convenient because all you have to do is turn that shower on and hot water will be produced immediately. However, we all now that these hot water heaters should be well taken care of because if not, it can have a lot of risks that can get very dangerous and be life-threatening. What do you do when you are faced with hot water heater leaking?

Hot Water Heater Leaking Signs

First of all, what are the signs that your hot water heater is leaking or needs attention?

  • It’s taking longer than usual for the water to get hot
  • Consistent temperature throughout your shower
  • Running out of hot water sooner
  • Higher electrical bill
  • Rust or pool of water underneath it

Hot Water Heater Leaking Causes

There are four things that can cause hot water leaking and it is very important that you are aware of them:

Not a leak

make sure that it is really a leak before you assume that it is a leak because there are a lot of people who mistake the water collecting on the ground around the water heater is because it has a leak. Most of the time, it isn’t a leak and just a condensation building up around it as its tank holds hot water.  So, you have to check everything first before you assume that your hot water heater is leaking.

Drain Valve

If you think that the drain valve is responsible for the hot water heater leaking, then you should fix it right away. All you have to do is tighten the drain valve with the use of a wench. Sometimes, it leaks because the drain valve only needs extra tightening.


Since you are an owner of a hot water heater, you are aware that the tank has a limited lifespan. Keep in mind that this tank holds water all the time and it is susceptible to rust and corrosion. It doesn’t mean that you should purchase the expensive ones to ensure the best corrosion resistance but you might want to purchase something that has that feature.

Instead of replacing the tank, it is better that you purchase a new hot water heater, cheaper than buying a new tank to replace the one you currently have.


If the leak is coming from pipes, find the exact spot where it’s escaping from and tighten it. Don’t over tighten. However, if the leak doesn’t stop, you will need to buy a new fitting.

Those are some of the causes of hot water heater leaking. However, if it’s still leaking and you have checked everything that is mentioned above, it is possible that you need to get yourself a new unit.

There are a lot of dangers with hot water heater leaking. For example, since it is leaking, it is possible that you get scalded by hot water and can cause first to third-degree burns on your skin. That is why it is very important that you fix and maintain your hot water heater properly. There are also big chances of getting electrocuted especially if you are using an electric hot water heater.

That is why it is suggested that is you suspect that the hot water heater is leaking, you should turn it off immediately and not use it until it is fixed.

Things to keep in mind:

Here are some of the things that you should keep in mind with hot water heater leaking:

  • Do not repair it on your own – if you are not adept to fixing things like this, you better leave it to an expert. Also, if it’s under warranty, then the wise thing to do is call the store where you bought it from and ask for a repairman to fix the water heater.
  • Leave it to the expert – some people usually fix their own hot water heater but only end up having wounds or worse, in the emergency rooms. Unless you are very confident that you can fix it, don’t do it. It is very possible that your hot water heater is leaking fuel if it runs on gas or propane or any other fuel, so don’t touch it and call an expert immediately.

Preventing hot water heater leaking

To prevent hot water heater leaking, you should maintain it and take observations from time to time. You can easily do it on your own:

  • Inspect the anode – this is an important part of extending the life of your hot water heater. You can find it at the top of the tank. You should replace this as well when the bare core wire is visible already.
  • Install it with drainage – since there is the normal corrosive action of water, it will definitely leak. Make sure that your hot water heater has a drain pan under the unit to protect it from water damage.
  • Fill the tank before using – before you use your hot water heater, fill the tank first because if not, there’s a big chance that you will burn out the element in your unit.
  • Thermal explosion – this is very important and you should be highly aware of this when the water gets hot, it increases in size. This becomes dangerous when there is no place for the water to expand. Hot water heaters have relief valves that are responsible for releasing the pressure. The best way to do here is to set the pressure it generates to operate in the normal range. You can also install and expansion tank that will allow room for the hot water to expand without generating dangerous pressure.

Now, when it comes to hot water heater leaking, you have everything you need. Just keep in mind all these things and you will be able to figure out the signs, cause, what to do and how you can prevent it from happening. Hot water is a necessity and if you’re using a machine to generate hot water and give you hot showers or hot baths, you should definitely be able to maintain it well.

Hot Water Heater Leaking Video

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