What Causes a Leaking Water Heater?

Water heaters are one of those amazing inventions that add incredible comfort to our daily lives. When they are operating properly, homeowners don’t give them a second thought. So what to do if you find yourself with poor pressure or chilly stream of H2O in your morning shower?  It might be a leak—start by looking for water around the tank and try to determine the source.

Drain Valve

One of the most common reasons for a water heater to leak is a loose drain valve. The drain valve will slowly leak water if it becomes loose. It is easy to stop a leaking drain valve by tightening it up with a wrench. Just be careful not to over tighten the drain valve. Tighten it until it is snug, but do not force it.

Too Much Pressure

Another common reason for a water heater to start leaking is when the tank builds up too much pressure inside. When this happens, the excess pressure will force the water to leak out of the tank to reduce the pressure. This most commonly occurs because the temperature on the hot water heater is set too high.

Another thing that can lead to excess water pressure is if the exterior water supply to a house comes in at too high a pressure. A defective temperature pressure relief valve can also lead to an excess buildup of pressure in a hot water heater.

Old Tank

Hot water heaters are designed to last for many years. As they approach the end of their life cycles, rusting and corrosion start to take their toll. When the corrosion gets bad enough, it can start to allow the water from the tank to leak out. When this happens, it is a definite sign that the hot water heater needs to be replaced. Failure to do so will eventually lead to a complete failure of the tank that will cause horrible flooding in the house.

If you need to replace a water heater, look for a high-efficiency Energy Star appliance. Find a qualified Sacramento plumbing expert for proper installation.


Sometimes the hot water heater will trick homeowners into thinking there is a leak when there is in fact nothing wrong. It is natural for condensation to occur on a hot water heater. When cold water first enters the inside of the tank, it can lead to condensation when the outside air is hot. This is not a major problem. Homeowners can simply wipe down the hot water heater without worrying about the condensation leading to a serious problem.

Lack of hot water might also mean your tank simply needs servicing. Call the Sacramento plumbing professionals at Ace to diagnose, service, and repair any of your water heater needs.