How To Diagnose And Fix A Leaking Water Heater


Both are capable of serving the same purpose and both can provide a homeowner with enough hot water to supply an entire household. Is one truly better than the other? How do you know which model will emerge victorious in the electric vs gas tankless water heater debate?

The truth of the matter is that there is no uniform answer. When breaking down the gas vs electric tankless water heater debate, some will end up siding with gas, while others will align themselves with electric. So, you’ll truly need to come to a definite conclusion on your own. Below, you’ll discover tips and tricks for determining whether you should select a gas or electric tankless water heater.

First Things First

Whether your hot water heater leaking from bottom or top, you’ll want to take some precautions to prevent further damage. As soon as you identify the leak, you’ll want to go ahead and shut off the water supply to the water heater. This will help to prevent the water from further damaging your home.

Whether your hot water heater leaking from bottom or top, you’ll want to take some precautions to prevent further damage. As soon as you identify the leak, you’ll want to go ahead and shut off the water supply to the water heater. This will help to prevent the water from further damaging your home.

Leaks Can Come And Go

Again, such problems can be a little tricky for various reasons. One of the complexities is the fact that a leak can come and go. One minute, you’ll find that your water heater is leaking. The next, the leak will disappear. And again several hours later, your unit will be leaking once more. This can give the impression that the leak was just your imagination and may convince you to cancel the appointment with your repairman.
The problem here is that leaks don’t actually stop and start. They’re just able to remain hidden behind the access panel. Or you might not be dealing with a leak at all. In order to confirm that you do have a water heater leaking water problem, you’ll first need to rule out condensation.
Condensation is a common problem with water related appliances, including sinks, toilets and water heaters. Your climate and the current weather can also increase the rate of condensation and could result in a bigger and more noticeable leak.

The Heating Element Gasket


If you’ve discovered that your hot water tank leaking from bottom, you may actually be dealing with a heating element gasket leak. This is very common among electrical water heaters and it can be slightly risky. In order to fully confirm the problem, you’ll want to proceed with caution and switch off the power supply and water supply. Also, be sure to drain the water from the unit, so you can work more comfortable and cleanly.
The good news is that this component isn’t terribly expensive and the replacement procedure is fairly simple. However, since there are some risks involved, you may feel a little safer allowing a professional to carry out the work. If you’re dealing with a gas water heater leaking, you can rule out this problem fairly easily.

Corroded Tank

If you’ve discovered that your hot water heater is leaking, you’ll likely freak out and begin a furious search. This is a common reaction and you may very well be able to rectify the problem, without needing to replace the entire water heater.
However, this will not always be the case. Sadly, if the water tank leaking, you’ll need to look at the tank itself. What many homeowners fail to realize is that tanks are not designed to last forever. In fact, their lifespans are actually quite short. Most are lucky to survive more than seven years.
A corroded tank can very well result in water leaking from water heater. The worst aspect of all is that learning how to fix a leaking water heater in this condition is not easy. In fact, it is generally impossible and a complete replacement will likely be your own suitable course of action. Upgrading to a tankless water heater can eliminate this problem!

Inspect The Pressure Relief Valve


Once of the most common problems, which will result in an electric or gas water heater leaking, is the drain valve. The drain valve will be found at the bottom of the tank, so the leak will also originate from the bottom of the unit. On the upside, spotting a problem with the drain valve is easy, since you need to clean and maintenance this portion of the water heater frequently.

During the maintenance, you should look for moisture or water droplets around the valve. If these are present, you will want to make sure the valve is fully closed.
If it is and the problem persists, you’ll need to change the valve to eliminate the leak.

Water Heater Valve Leaking


As mentioned above, some homeowners will not have a gas supply to their homes. If you have no pre-existing gas setup, getting one installed in your home can be costly, complex and time consuming. In fact, this will prevent many homeowners from benefitting from a gas water heater. Of course, this is not limited to gas models. Electric models can also be out of question for some consumers. Most electric water heater will come with some degree of amperage requirement. Some will also require specific breaker box setups.
If you do not have the necessary amperage or poles, you’ll need to upgrade your breaker box or downgrade your water heater. Make sure you have everything necessary before making your final decision or you may end up in a dilemma and forced to send your water heater back for an alternative.

  • Gas shutoff valve
  • Temperature pressure relief valve
  • Drain valve
  • Cold water shutoff valve

These components are not located inside of the water heater, but you will need to disconnect the main power, water, and gas.
If the gas shutoff valve is leaking, you may need to hire a professional plumber to replace it, because you are talking about a combustible chemical.

Hot Water Heater Leaking From The Top?


When you look at the water heater design, you will immediately see three major fixtures protruding from the top of the unit. Two of these fixtures are the connectors for your hot and cold water supply piping. The other is the top of the anode rod, which is designed to divert corrosion away the interior walls. When you first discover that the water heater is leaking water and it is coming from the top of the unit, you will need to investigate these features.

The hot water tank leaking from top is probably a sign of a corroded anode rod. You can actually replace this part at any time, so do not wait until it springs a leak to tackle the problem. An anode rod will cost anywhere from $40-80, but if you replace it early on, you could potentially save yourself a lot of money and grief later on down the road.

No Water Flow

While, it is very unusual for a water heater to experience a malfunction, linked to decrease or no water flow, it does occasionally happen. If the main water line coming into the home is stopped up, the water flow will be compromised.

This means that you will need to work diligently to find out where the line is clogged. Small rocks and debris can make their way into the public water system, so do not be surprised, when you discover these contaminants in your water pipes.

Drain Pan

A drain pan is a necessity, since a water leak can spring out of nowhere. The pan sits underneath the water heater, so it will need to be put into placed upon installation. You can purchase these products at any home improvement store for a very affordable price.
The drain pan can potentially save you a lot of money, if the leak goes undetected for months or years.

Flexible Water Hoses

A flexible host must be connected to the hot water outlet and cold water inlet. These products are constructed out of stainless steel, but they occasionally spring a leak. It is always best to keep one of these on hand, in the event of a leak, just so that you do not have to rush to the home improvement store every time this problem occurs.

These hoses are very affordable, but can cause a lot of damage, if they spring a leak. Remember, a small leak will turn into a massive catastrophe within a matter of minutes, even more so if the leak remains undetected for a very long period of time.