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What To Do When Your Water Heater Is Leaking

Most of us go about our daily lives without giving our hot water heater much thought… until it breaks down in some way. A hot water heater can break down in a variety of ways, but the most noticeable is when it leaks. If you go past your water heater and find a pool of water around it, it’s a good indication that it needs some plumbing attention.

In this post, we’ll share our recommendations for fixing your unit in a method that prioritises your personal safety while also assisting you in determining how to swiftly fix the leaky water heater.


The following are the most common reasons for water heater leaks:

  • Water spills from the bottom of the tank due to broken drain valves. It’s a simple matter of fixing the broken drain valve.
  • Sediment build-up can lead to corrosion, cracking, and holes in the tank’s bottom. When this occurs, it’s probably time to replace the water heater.
  • Water line connections that have become loose due to normal wear and tear might result in leaks. Tightening or replacing the loose, worn water lines frequently solves the problem.
  • Temperature/pressure valves that have failed, monitor and manage the temperature and pressure inside water heaters, as their name implies. They can create water leaks from the sidewalls of a water heater tank if they break.


There are a few things to bear in mind as you attempt to safely explore your water heater leak.

STEP 1: Turn off the water

Your water heater will continue to leak if you do not turn off the water supply. Turn off the water to allow yourself some breathing room as you look into the situation.

You can accomplish this by shutting off your home’s main water supply, but it’s more convenient to use the specific shutoff valve to switch off the flow to your water heater. This valve can come in a variety of shapes and sizes:

  • If you have a gate-style valve (one with a turning wheel), simply spin it clockwise as far as you can.
  • If the valve is a ball-style valve, make sure the handle is fully turned 180 degrees.

NOTE: If the shutoff valve is broken, you’ll have no choice except to turn off your house’s main water supply.

STEP 2: Turn off the power supply

For either an electric or a gas water heater, follow the steps below

Electric Water Heater
If you’re having trouble with an electric water heater, we recommend turning off the electricity at the breaker before working on the tank. Simply turn the breaker off.

Gas Water Heater

If you have a gas-powered water heater that is leaking, we recommend turning off the gas supply before working on the tank. On the gas line leading to the tank, there should be a specific gas shutoff valve. A visual illustration of a gas water heater shut off can be found below.

STEP 3: Determine the source of the leak

Finding out where your water heater is leaking is the next stage in the procedure.

  • Begin by inspecting the intake and outflow. These are the spots where the water heater tank’s pipes join. Often, these are the areas where a hot water heater leak is most likely to occur. It’s possible that the problem is as simple as a loose fitting, in which case you can use a pipe wrench to tighten the fittings and stop the leaks.
  • Examine the t p valve. Another location where leaks are common is the pressure relief valve, often known as the t p valve. Check the thermostat to make sure the temperature isn’t too high; if the water is excessively hot, it might create pressure build-up and leaks from the water heater. You should also check your home’s general water pressure, which can cause problems with the t p valve.
  • Examine the tank’s bottom. If the leaks aren’t coming from the t p valve, the bottom of the tank is the next place to look. Note: Water leaking from a t p valve or an intake might run down the side of the tank and pool at the bottom, giving the impression that the water heater tank is leaking when it isn’t. If you can confirm that the water heater tank is leaking, it’s most likely due to a crack in the unit. This isn’t something that can be remedied; you’ll need to get a new water heater installed to fix the leak.
  • Make sure the drain valve is open. If the problem isn’t with an inlet, the pressure relief valve, or the tank itself, the drain valve is the last thing to check. This should be near the tank’s bottom, and it should be entirely closed. If this is the reason for your leaking water heater, it’s possible that a washer inside the valve has become warped and has to be replaced.

These are a few of the big-picture items to consider when diagnosing water heater leaks, and we hope that these troubleshooting procedures will be useful as you try to repair or replace a leaking water heater.


Any plumbing repair or maintenance should be always done by a licensed trades person or your manufacturer’s warranty and your building and content insurance could be voided. Your Mates Rates plumber Sydney will happily give you advice and ensure that you take the best course of action and avoid costly mistakes.

Always keep an eye out for dripping taps in your home, office or garden, toilet cisterns that continually run, leaking hot water tanks and valves, damp spots in floors walls or ceilings, hard to turn or noisy taps or sinks that drain slowly. These are the common early signs of a minor plumbing issue that could result in serious damage and cost you money if not promptly attended to.

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