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How to Detect and Fix a Leaking Water Heater

When it comes to water damage in the home, a water heater leak can be one of the most serious issues. Water heaters are essential for providing hot water, and if they start leaking then this can quickly lead to extensive damage throughout your house. It’s important that you recognize when there is a problem with your water heater so that you don’t have any further complications caused by a leak. Knowing what signs indicate a potential issue as well as how to fix or prevent future leaks will help ensure that your home stays safe from costly damages due to an unexpected leak from your water heater.

Table of Contents:

What is a Water Heater Leak?

A water heater leak is when water escapes from the tank of a water heater, either through a crack in the tank or through a loose connection or broken fitting. This can cause significant damage to your home and should be addressed immediately. The clock is ticking!

Water heaters are typically made of steel and have an inner lining that protects them from corrosion caused by hard water. Over time, this lining can become weakened due to age, wear-and-tear, and improper maintenance, which can lead to leaks. Leaks usually start small but can quickly grow into larger problems if not taken care of right away.

Signs of a Water Heater Leak

The most common sign that you may have a leak in your water heater is pooling around the base of the unit or on nearby walls and floors. You may also notice rust colored stains on ceilings below where the unit is located as well as wet spots on walls near it. Additionally, you may hear dripping sounds coming from inside the tank itself or even see steam escaping from cracks in its surface. A thorough visual inspection usually catches overt leaks.

Dangers Of Water Heater Leaks

A leaking hot water heater presents many dangers including potential property damage due to flooding as well as health risks associated with mold growth that is caused by prolonged exposure to moisture. There’s always the risk for electric shock if any wiring has been compromised by standing water inside the unit itself – so never attempt repairs yourself without first turning off the power at its source. Whether it’s gas or electricity, shut down the source of energy if you can do it safely. If not, you should call the city responsible for your water so they can send someone to close the main supply line to your home.

A water meter key is a cheap, but very useful tool for you to have around so you don’t have to wait for the city to come and shut your water off.

If you suspect that your water heater is leaking, then it is important to take action right away before further damage occurs. This means calling in professional help who will be able to assess what needs repairing and provide solutions accordingly, such as replacing parts like gaskets, washers,  or valves; sealing up cracks with epoxy resin sealant (if possible), and installing new insulation around pipes leading into and out of tanks etc. This will more than likely be your local plumber.

When To Call A Professional For Help

If you find yourself dealing with any kind of plumbing issue, it’s best practice to call in plumbing professionals who will be able to handle whatever job needs doing safely and efficiently – whether it’s fixing minor leaks or major ones requiring complete replacement units altogether. Don’t forget about checking for warranties too; some manufacturers offer coverage for certain types of repairs, so make sure you check before taking action yourself in case something else could be covered instead.

Let’s look at some common causes of water heater leaks now.

Causes of Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks can be caused by a variety of factors, including corrosion, age, over-pressurization, and hidden water line leaks. Corrosion is often the result of high levels of minerals in the water that cause wear and tear on the tank itself. Over-pressurization can also lead to leaks if the pressure relief valve fails to open when necessary.


Age is another common factor for water heater leakage. As tanks get older, they become more prone to developing cracks or other damage, which can allow water to escape from them. This type of leak may not always be visible, but it could still cause significant damage if left unchecked.

Hidden Water Line Leaks

Hidden water line leaks are an issue that homeowners should look out for as well since these types of problems are difficult to detect until it’s too late and extensive damage has already been done. These kinds of issues usually occur due to faulty installation or poor maintenance practices, such as failing to replace old pipes, fittings, faucets, and hoses with new ones regularly. If you have plumbing under your foundation and have a break, there’s a lot to do for your plumber.

They have the knowledge, experience, and proper equipment to locate breaks in plumbing lines below concrete slabs, and because they regularly see water damage and mold, they know what other professionals to call for additional help in these types of situations. Outdoor or crawl space plumbing leaks are easily identified and fixed with little disruption to your life.


Over-pressurization is another possible cause for a leaking hot water heater tank, and this occurs when there is too much pressure being applied within the system that causes it to burst at its weakest point: typically near one end where most connections are made between components like valves, pumps etc. If you suspect your system might have this problem, then you should contact a professional immediately before any further damage occurs.

Burnt Out Heating Elements

Burning out heating elements due to a leak can also happen because it keeps the element on attempting to heat up flowing through the unit without staying long enough in order maintain its temperature setting correctly leading towards overheating & potential fire hazards in worst cases scenarios.

Finally, prevention tips such as regular maintenance checks and inspections and replacing old parts with newer ones will help reduce the chances of water heater leakage significantly while keeping your home safe from potential damages associated with any leak.

Common causes of water heater leaks include corrosion, damaged pipes or valves, and high pressure. Knowing the signs of a water heater leak can help you identify and address the issue before it becomes worse.

Dangers of Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks can cause serious damage to your home if left unchecked for too long. Water damage is one of the most common issues caused by a leaking water heater, as the excess moisture can quickly spread throughout the house and cause extensive damage to walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and more.

Mold Growth

Additionally, this excess moisture can create an ideal environment for mold growth in hidden areas such as behind walls or under carpets. Mold spores thrive in moist environments and can quickly spread throughout your home and cause health problems for you and your family.

Structural Damage

Structural damage is another potential danger from a leaking water heater. The constant presence of standing water around the unit’s base may eventually lead to warping or buckling of wood flooring or drywall near it due to saturation over time. This could potentially weaken the structural components of your home  and lead to further damages down the line if not addressed promptly.

Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards are also a concern when dealing with a leaking water heater since wet wiring poses a risk of short circuits, which could result in shock hazards or even fires depending on how severe it is. It’s important that any electrical repairs be done by qualified electricians who know what they’re doing so that these risks are minimized as much as possible while still ensuring safety standards are met at all times during repair work on any wiring associated with your hot water system.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Finally, there is also an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty ventilation systems when dealing with older models whose maintenance has been neglected over time. This should always be checked out before attempting any repair work yourself, as the consequences could be severe if not addressed properly.

It is important to be aware of the dangers associated with water heater leaks and take action as soon as possible to avoid further damage. To learn how to fix a water heater leak, read on in the next section.

How To Fix A Water Heater Leak

If you suspect that your water heater is leaking, it’s important to act quickly before any further damage occurs. The first step is to turn off the power supply to prevent any electrical hazards from occurring while you work on it. Then you will need to inspect all connections for any signs of corrosion or loose fittings that could be causing the leak. If there are corroded parts, they should be replaced with new ones as soon as possible. It may also be necessary to replace gaskets and washers if they have become worn out or damaged.

Once all of the components have been inspected and replaced if needed, it’s time to check for leaks in other areas, such as around the tank’s base or near pipes connected to it. If a leak is found here, then tightening up these connections can usually fix this issue without needing additional repairs.

In some cases, however, more extensive repairs may be required depending on how severe the damage has become due to a water heater leak. This could include replacing entire sections of piping or even having an entirely new unit installed if necessary. In these situations, calling a professional plumber specializing in water heaters would likely be your best option since they will know exactly what needs to be done and how much it will cost upfront, so there won’t be any surprises down the line when trying DIY methods first instead.

It’s also important not to forget about prevention tips for avoiding future leaks, like regularly inspecting your water heater every few months and checking its temperature settings periodically to make sure everything is running smoothly at all times. Additionally, making sure that sediment doesn’t build up inside by flushing out old hot water tanks once per year can help keep things running efficiently.

If you are unable to fix the leak yourself, it is important to call a professional for help. This will ensure that your water heater and home remain safe and free of further damage. Next, we’ll discuss when to call a professional for help.

When To Call A Professional For Help

If you’ve recently noticed a water heater leak in your home, it’s important to take action quickly. Water damage can cause serious structural issues and mold growth if not addressed right away. In some cases, the source of the leak may be easy to identify and fix yourself. However, there are certain situations where it is best to call in a professional for help with repairs or replacement services.

Signs You Need Professional Help

If you have been unable to locate the source of the leak or find any visible signs of damage around your water heater, then it is time to contact a professional plumber or contractor who specializes in water heaters for assistance. They will be able to diagnose and repair any underlying issues causing the problem such as faulty valves, corroded pipes, broken seals, etc.

Safety Concerns

Another reason why you should consider calling a professional is due to safety concerns associated with working on gas-powered water heaters, which require special tools and knowledge about how they operate safely before attempting any repairs or replacements. A qualified technician will also know how to properly dispose of old parts and materials according to local regulations so that you don’t end up facing hefty fines from environmental agencies later down the line.

Cost Considerations

Finally, while DIY fixes may seem like an attractive option at first glance due to their lower cost than hiring professionals, when dealing with complex plumbing problems such as those related to water heaters, it often pays off in terms of both money and time saved by having an experienced person handle them. They will get things done faster without making costly mistakes along the way.

If you suspect a water heater leak, you should call a professional immediately to avoid further damage and expense. In the next section, we will look at some tips for preventing future leaks.

Prevention Tips For Avoiding Future Leaks

To avoid future water heater leaks, regular inspections are key.

  • Inspect all connections for signs of corrosion or wear and tear and replace them if necessary.
  • Check the pressure relief valve to make sure it is functioning properly.
  • Flush out any sediment buildup in the tank as this can cause blockages that lead to leaks.
  • Keep an eye out for visible signs of leakage around the base of your unit

Annual inspections should be done by a professional plumber, as they will have access to specialized tools and equipment needed to check for potential problems with your system such as loose fittings, rusting pipes, faulty valves or other components that could be causing the issue. They can also provide advice on how best to maintain your system in the future.

It is also important to keep up with regular maintenance tasks like draining and flushing your tank at least once per year. This helps remove sediment build-up from inside the tank, which can contribute towards eventual leaking over time due to lack of proper insulation between metal parts within it. This corrosion damage leads to eventual failure points where liquid escapes through gaps created by the corrosion process.

Finally, make sure you are using only high-quality parts when replacing old ones – especially those related directly to plumbing fixtures connected to hot water tanks themselves (e.g., hoses). Low quality materials may not last long enough under higher temperatures and pressures associated with these systems, thus making it more likely for premature failures to occur.

FAQs in Relation to Water Heater Leaking

What should I do if my water heater is leaking?

If your water heater leaks, it’s important to take immediate action. Shut off the water supply to the unit and turn off the power or gas supply if applicable. Contact a professional plumber or a water damage restoration contractor in Orlando as soon as possible for help with repairs and potential mold remediation services. It’s important to address any leaks quickly, before they cause further damage to your home or create an environment conducive to black mold growth.

What causes a water heater to leak from the bottom?

The most common cause of a water heater leaking from the bottom is due to corrosion or rusting on the tank. This can be caused by sediment buildup, age, or high levels of minerals in the water supply. Additionally, faulty plumbing connections and pressure build-up inside the tank can also lead to leaks. If left unchecked, these issues can result in serious damage to your home and costly repairs. Regular maintenance and inspection of your water heater are essential for preventing any future problems with leakage.

Is a water heater leak an emergency?

Yes, a water heater leak is an emergency, and the level of emergency would be determined by the amount of water leaked or leaking, over what period of time, and how long the material it infiltrated will take to dry and/or repair properly. Water damage can cause extensive structural damage to your home and even lead to mold growth if not addressed quickly. If you suspect that your water heater is leaking, you need to shut off any and all shutoff valves on the water inlets, and if that’s not available, the main water supply.  Your next step is to call a professional plumber immediately. Once the leaks are resolved, the plumber will likely suggest you call a qualified contractor like Damage Control-911. Plumbers only correct the plumbing problem, water damage, and mold remediation contractors generally cover it from there or have preferred contractors they know are professional and fair. We will be able to assess the extent of the damage and provide solutions for restoring your home back to its original condition. Taking prompt action is key to preventing further damage and costly repairs.

How long will a water heater last once it starts leaking?

The lifespan of a water heater once it starts leaking depends on the severity and cause of the leak. Generally, if the leak is minor and caused by a faulty valve or loose connection, then it may last for several months before needing to be replaced. However, if the leak is more severe due to corrosion or rusting, it could fail within days or weeks. In any case, regular maintenance can help extend its life. It’s best to contact a professional water damage restoration company as soon as possible to assess your situation and determine what needs to be done.


If you suspect that your water heater is leaking, it’s important to take action right away. Contact a professional water damage restoration and mold remediation contractor in Orlando, Florida for help with assessing the situation and taking the necessary steps to fix the problem. With their expertise, you can rest assured that any potential issues from a water heater leak will be taken care of quickly and effectively so that you don’t have to worry about future problems or damages caused by this common plumbing issue.

Are you dealing with a water heater leaking in Orlando, Florida? Don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Contact Damage Control 911 today! Our experienced and certified technicians are here to help provide fast and reliable solutions. We specialize in water damage restoration and mold remediation services that can help you protect your home or business from further damage caused by the leak. Get back on track quickly with our professional assistance.

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