Dangers, Causes, and What to Do When Your Water Heater Is Leaking


The Environmental Protection Agency estimates over 1 trillion gallons of water end up being wasted in American homes annually. This water, worth $6 billion, is lost through running toilets, leaking faucets, and other leaks. Leaking water heaters are common culprits, which are harder to detect than your average drippy faucet. While the leaks may seem like a minor issue, neglecting the issue may lead to catastrophic damage to your home.

Here are the dangers of neglecting your water heater leaking problem:

Property Damage

Pressure and temperature build-up in a broken hot water heater may lead to an explosion that floods your home. The water flushing through your property may cause extensive damage to your floors, sub-floors, and walls.


Most water heaters come with a pre-set heating temperature of approximately 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This water is hot enough to cause first degree burns on your skin. With some homeowners turning their heaters up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, subsequent injuries might become more severe after a tank burst.

Health Problems

Water leaks can lead to the formation of puddles. This encourages the grow of fungi and mold, which then release harmful spores. The spores cause a myriad of respiratory problems, including allergies and asthma.

Now that you know the dangers associated with this problem, here are some common causes of water leaks.

  • Leaking Temperature and Pressure Valves: The safety valve is an essential feature in a water heater that eliminates excess pressure resulting from extreme temperatures. A leaking TandP value drains water through the overflow tube, leading to puddles of water forming at the bottom. If your thermostat is working correctly, you should call in an emergency plumber to replace the faulty valve.
  • Corrosion and Sediment Build-Up: Most water heaters have an internal steel tank that is susceptible to corrosion. Sediments in the water may settle at the bottom of the tank over time, eroding it. This leads to cracks forming that expand slowly, causing massive water leaks.
  • Loose Drainage Valves: The drainage valve empties the tank to prevent sediment accumulation at the bottom. A loose valve may drip water, reducing the efficiency of the water heater. If the seeping continues after tightening the valve shut, you should consider replacing the valve.

What to Do When You Suspect the Water Heater is Leaking

1. Turn Off the Power Supply
The first step is to turn off your power supply. For electric water heaters, use the circuit breaker to switch off the electricity to your water heater. For gas-powered water heaters, you can use the on/off switch or dial and turn it off.

2. Cut Off the Water Supply
The next step is to find the lever on the water supply inlet and turn it off. In some cases, the dial or lever is usually at the top of the tank. Turn the dial clockwise or the bar to a shut position, parallel to the pipe.

3. Find the Source of the Leak
water heater leaking problem only gets worse with time. If you are uncomfortable with handling the issue yourself, call in a professional plumber to check it out.

Call in the Plumbing Services

Due to the nature of the risks involved, it would be best to work with a professional plumber to rectify the water heater leaking. Are you looking for a local plumber in Sacramento, CA? Preferred Plumbing and Drain can help repair or replace your existing water heater, keeping your family and property safe.