Water Heater Leaking From the Bottom

Water Heater Leaking From Bottom

Faucets, gardening hoses, sprinklers… there are many everyday items that you would expect to see water flowing from. But, when it comes to your water heater, you expect to hear it more than see it. That’s why it’s always alarming when water is leaking from this major appliance. What does it mean if the water is leaking from the bottom? Is it time for a new water heater, or can you try some DIY fixes first? The answer may depend on what’s causing it to leak in the first place.

What’s causing your water heater to leak from the bottom?

Water leaking from the bottom of your water heater is often associated with a lost cause for the life of your appliance, but that’s not always the case. There are two parts that could be causing the issue: the drain valve and the temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P).

A drain valve is located at the bottom of your water heater to make it easy to drain the tank before removal or during routine maintenance. Sometimes, this drain valve may develop moisture around the edge or begin dripping. This could be due to changes in pressure or the valve becoming rusted and loose.

The T&P valve is typically located at the top of your water heater, but a tube is attached to send water to the floor in case there’s an overflow. That means that if the water is dripping from this tube, the temperature of your water heater may be too high.

How to Fix a Leak From the Bottom of a Water Heater

Leak From a Drain Valve

  1. Wipe away any moisture or water from the valve.
  2. Turn counter-clockwise slightly to see if more water escapes.
  3. Then, turn clockwise to tighten back up.
  4. If the valve is tightly closed and the leak persists, the valve will need to be replaced.
  5. Turn off the water inlet valve.
  6. Attach a hose to the drain outlet and put the other end outdoors so that water will be safely transported outside your home.
  7. Open the drain valve and let the tank empty.
  8. Once empty, remove the hose and turn the valve counter-clockwise to loosen.
  9. Use Teflon tape to wrap the threads of the replacement drain valve.
  10.  Install the new drain valve by turning the part clockwise — using a wrench to tighten.

Leak From a Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

  1. If water is dripping from the tub connected to your T&P valve, start by checking the thermostat setting of your water heater. It should be between 120 and 140 degrees.
  2. Adjust the temperature if needed.
  3. If the temperature setting is between 120 – 140, you may need to replace the T&P valve.
  4. Before removing the valve, drain the tank until the water level is below the valve.
  5. Let air into the tank by opening a nearby hot water tap.
  6. Use channel locks to unscrew the valve from the tank.
  7. Wrap the threads of the new valve in Teflon tape, then install the T&P valve. The Teflon tape helps to tighten the part into place and can prevent future leaks.

Replacing a Water Heater

If the drain and T&P valve are not the sources of your leaking problem, it’s probably time to replace your water heater. If your water heater is not cleaned periodically, sediment and other materials can settle at the bottom and begin to corrode your water heater. This is especially true for homes with hard water. You can drain your tank and remove the sediment every six months to a year to maximize the lifespan of your water heater and prevent the bottom from rusting.

Once a pinhole leak has formed, the problem will only get worse as water forces the hole to become bigger — leading to a larger leak. That’s why it’s important that you act quickly once you’ve noticed a leaking problem. If possible, turn off the water inlet valve and drain the tank to prevent further water damage. Contact a certified professional to help you with the installation of a new tank. They’ll be able to safely and efficiently remove your gas or electric water heater and install a new one.

Need Help with Repairs or Replacements in Atlanta, GA? Air Select Can Help

Whether you need advice, routine maintenance, or a full replacement, our trusted team of water heater experts is here to help. Since 2008, Air Select has been providing dependable, high-quality AC and water heater services for families and businesses in Atlanta, GA. Contact us using this form to schedule a service or talk to an expert.