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The hot water heater is one of the most essential of household appliances and should be regularly checked on to make sure there are no problems, such as leaks. Even a minor water heat leak can be disastrous for your floors, walls, and any of your personal property. 

To avoid serious problems in the future, your hot water heater should be assessed regularly. If you do find your hot water heater leaking, there are some repairs steps you can take to fix the problem before it damages your home and racks up expensive bills. 

Determine the Source of the Water Heater Leak

Before you can start repairing the water heater leak, knowing the root cause of the problem should be your first step. The most common sources of leaks in water heaters are below:

Broken Drain Valves

Most water heater drain valves are made from brass, composite material, or plastic. While plastic is the cheapest option, it is also the most likely of the three to break and cause a leak. Brass and composite are typically more reliable and can handle higher temperatures.  


A water heater is designed to resist corrosion to a degree, but eventually a water heater may be susceptible to corrosion if it is getting up there in years. Many water heater leaks are the result of corroded tank unit. 

Loose Water Line Connections

The tubes bringing in cold water to your hot water heater and carrying the hot water out to your shower and sink can also corrode or loosen and cause leaks. If the valve itself is corroded, it will need to be replaced; otherwise, the pipe fitting is likely just loose and needs to be tightened. 

Broken Temperature/Pressure Valves

A horizontal lever, this water heater part is located at the top of the tank at the water outlet joint. As water is heated, it expands and steam is released; the temperature and pressure valves allow this excess water or steam to escape the hot water heater and prevent it from exploding! A leaking temperature and pressure valve generally needs a quick replacement and is not complicated. 

Steps to Take When You Discover a Hot Water Tank Leak

After reviewing where the leak is taking place and the reasons behind it, you will want to evaluate whether it is more cost-effective to fix the leak or purchase a new water heater altogether. Some hot water heater leaks are easy to fix and can be done without a professional plumber, while others can be money-consuming. 

Remember, it’s natural for water heaters to produce some natural condensation. However, if there is rust or other damage to the hot water tank, it’s an indicator that the water heater may not be worth saving. 

If your hot water heater leaking source is the temperature pressure relief valve (TPV), it is likely it only needs to be tightened. Try to firmly tighten it, without over-fastening. To check and see if the TPV operates, lift the lever and verify that water is emitting out the vent pipe connected to the valve that goes down the side of the hot water heater. The same goes for loose water line connections; tubing may be loose and can be easily fixed with a quick tightening with a wrench. 

If a drain valve or pressure valve is broken, these can be easily replaced inexpensively. If you had a plastic valve before the leak, buying a valve made of a more reliable substance such as brass or composite would be a safer option to prevent future damage due to hot temperatures. 

Most of these fixes can be DIY and are not very complex or expensive. Corrosion, however, can be a complicated repair. If your valves or hot water tanks have rust or corrosion damage, the repairs will likely need a professional. Generally, if your water heater unit is badly damaged, getting it inspected by a professional is your best option. Heavily corroded or leaking water heaters aren’t exactly problems you can brush off, and repair or replacement is almost always required for damages like these.

Schedule Water Heater Repair with a Sacramento Plumber

A leaking hot water heater should not be treated lightly. Not only does hot water heater leaking cause damage to your hot water tank, but it can also lead to harmful mold-breeding fungi. Sometimes the water can seep into unseen places behind walls and underneath floors where it can lay unseen.  

Therefore, it’s best to attempt a DIY repair or call a professional plumber as soon as possible for your leaking water heater. Any sign of rust or corrosion damage is when you should call a plumber. Rust is a serious problem which will likely call for a full water tank replacement. A professional plumber should be able to give an inspection of your hot water heater and determine whether you should consider replacing your hot water tank.

Is your hot water heater leaking and you need professional help? Then call the unrivaled BEST water heater experts in Sacramento, Express Sewer and Drain. Contact us today for a quote or to set up an appointment.

Save $50 on Water Heater Replacement