How to Fix a Water Heater That's Leaking
REPAIR > WATER HEATER > LEAKING

How to Repair a Leaking Water Heater

Drain Valve

Start Your Repair Here
    MORE ABOUT THIS REPAIR
    - Customers rate this repair as Easy
    - Takes 30 - 60 mins
    We have 1 installation instruction

    If your hot water heater is leaking, the drain valve could be the source of the leak. This part is located on the side of the tank, and is usually made of plastic. Visually inspect the valve to see if this is where the water is coming from. If you notice a leak, check to see if it is a result of sediment buildup in the tank by opening the valve a few turns and then re-tightening it. If the leak continues, it will need to be replaced. Shut off power to the water heater before beginning this repair. For a gas water heater, set the gas valve to pilot only. Shut off the cold water inlet valve, and connect a hose to the drain valve to drain the tank. Take off the current valve with a pipe wrench or adjustable pliers. Clean the valve threads and use pipe dope or Teflon tape on the new valve threads before tightening the new valve in place. Make sure the outlet is facing down on the new valve as you tighten it, before refilling the tank and turning the power back on.

    Temperature Pressure Relief Valve

    Start Your Repair Here
      MORE ABOUT THIS REPAIR
      - Customers rate this repair as Easy
      - Takes 30 - 60 mins

      If your hot water tank is leaking, the issue could be with the pressure relief valve. Residential hot water heaters have a pressure relief valve on the side of the tank, which functions as a safety device to keep the tank intact in the event of a buildup of pressure. Typically this valve has a plastic or copper extension tube to expel any discharge. The best solution for a leaking relief valve is to replace the valve. Turn off power to the heater, or set the gas valve to pilot only for gas models, before beginning this repair. Shut off the cold water inlet valve, and connect a hose to the drain valve to drain the tank. Be careful as the water will be very hot. After turning off the power or gas, you could turn on a tap in your home to run the hot water until it drops to a safer temperature before you start to drain the tank. Open a hot water faucet to let air into the tank, and the drain valve to let the water drain. Once the water is drained to below the relief valve, take off the current valve with a pipe wrench. Clean off the tank body threads and use pope dope or Teflon tape on the new valve threads before securing it in place. Tighten the valve in place, with the valve outlet facing downward.

      Element Gasket

      Start Your Repair Here
        MORE ABOUT THIS REPAIR
        - Customers rate this repair as Easy
        - Takes 30 - 60 mins

        If water is leaking from the bottom of your electric water heater, the problem may be the heater element gasket. The heating elements on your water heater can be accessed (found) behind access covers on the side of the water tank. Turn off power to the heater before beginning this repair. Remove the screws that hold the covers in place, and push aside the insulation to check for a leak. Look closely for leaks where the element is attached to the tank. To replace the gasket, you will have to drain the tank. Shut off the cold water inlet valve, and connect a hose to the drain valve to drain the tank. Place the hose in a floor drain, and open the drain valve and a hot water faucet to let air into the tank while it expels hot water. Be careful as the water will be very hot. To avoid coming in contact with the hot water, you can first run a hot water tap in your home until the water drops in temperature. Drain the water until it is below the heating element. Remove the element using a socket or element wrench, and take this opportunity to clean the mounting flange. Remove the old gasket before putting the new one in place. Reattach the element, making sure it is secure, and then reconnect the wires to its terminals. Close any open valves, and put the access covers back in place before turning the power back on.