plumber fixing water heater

Why is My Hot Water Heater Leaking?

Some people think that it is normal to see water outside of the water heater; however, while some water might not be cause for concern, you should keep an eye on it to make sure that it doesn’t escalate.

How to Tell if You Have a Leak in Your Water Heater

Leaks in your water heater can waste thousands of gallons of water and cause damage to your home. It can also encourage mold to grow in your home. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t realize that there is something wrong with their water heater, until it’s too late. Regular inspection and maintenance is a must to ensure that your heater stays in good shape. Check for the following signs to tell if you have a leak in your water heater.

Puddle of Water on the Floor by the Water Heater

If you notice a puddle of water under or near your water heater, it may be a sign of a leak. Try checking your water heater, along with its plumbing fittings to determine the source of the problem.

The bottom of the tank is always the best place to start. Check the drain valve and T&P valve. Then, inspect the pressure relief valve near the top of the tank, pipes, tubes, and the entry points where they meet the tank. Because of the high pressure, the tubes entering the tank are vulnerable to leaks. If there is no apparent sign of leak, try checking nearby appliances. They could form condensation, which can accumulate and drip to the floor.

Strange Noises Coming from the Water Heater

If you suspect that you have a water heater leak, stand beside your water heater and try to listen very carefully. If you hear a rumbling or strange noise from the tank as it heats up, this may be indicative of sediment build up.

Sediments accumulate at the bottom of your water heater. Over time the hardened particles will cause the metal to become brittle and develop some cracks and small holes.

Rust-Colored Water in Your Home

There are multiple circumstances that can cause the water heater to dispense rusty water. This may be due to corroded galvanized iron plumbing. Or maybe your water heater is rusting away on the inside and it may start to leak.

To rule out rusty water caused by iron pipes, try turning on a cold water tap anywhere. If the water is discolored, the pipes may be the culprit. But if clear water comes from it, that means your water heater is about to fail and may need to be replaced soon.

What Causes a Water Heater to Leak?


As water filters through your water heater, sediment and minerals from the water collect and settle at the bottom of the tank. All of this buildup eventually causes corrosion on the bottom of your water heater which can form a leak from the bottom of the water heater over time.

While this is one of the most common causes of water heater leaks, you can prevent them by flushing your tank once every six to 12 months. This will prevent too much sediment from building up at one time.

water leaking from bottom of water heater

Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

Every water heater has a valve called the temperature and pressure relief valve. This device is mandatory and is in place to prevent too much pressure from building in the water heater. If there is too much pressure in the tank or the water exceeds the set temperature, then you might see water running down the side of the tank from the valve.

temperature valve on water heater

This water could be a sign of two things:

  1. You have a broken valve, or
  2. Your tank has too much pressure.

If you notice water leaking from this valve it’s best to call a professional rather than trying to fix it yourself as it could lead to more significant problems.

Inlet and Outlet Connections

All valves or connections are susceptible to leaks over time either because they have worn down or they have loosened. The inlet connection is used to flow cold water into the water heater, then after the water heats, it exits as hot water through the outlet connection.

If these connections are the source of your leak, then you shouldn’t have any problems resolving the issue yourself.

  1. Check both connections to be sure of where the leak is occurring
  2. Then tighten the connection with a wrench.

If you have a faulty pipe, you’ll need to replace it. You should be able to do this on your own as well, but if you have any issues, then call a professional plumber.

How Do You Stop a Hot Water Heater From Leaking?

Water heater leaks can be intimidating, but don’t worry we have provided you with helpful steps above to guide you on how you can fix it yourself. If at any point the problem escalates, then don’t hesitate to call the water heater experts at High 5 Plumbing.

We always make our customers our priority, and we understand how vital water heaters are to your everyday life, so we will do everything we can to get yours up and running again!