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Troubleshooting A Leaking Electric Water Heater

If your home's electric water heater is leaking water, then it is having a problem that requires your immediate attention. While some leaks have a simple fix, other leaks are a sign of an impending failure of your water heater's tank. It is very important to know which situation you are dealing with.

If you let the water heater continue to leak, then you may come home one day to find that the tank has split and water has flooded your garage. At this point, your only choice will be a replacement. On the contrary, if you take the time to fix the smaller leak now, then you may be able to prevent the need for an expensive new water heater.

To troubleshoot the problem with your water heater and possibly fix it, follow this procedure:

Find the Source of the Water Leak

To fix your water heater, you need to know exactly where it is leaking from. Follow the drips coming from the water heater back to their source to locate the leak's source.

Typical places for a water heater to leak include:

  • the water inlet at the top

  • the water outlet valve at the bottom

  • the heating elements

In addition, your water heater's tank could have a hole in it that is leaking water so you should inspect it as well. If the tank is leaking, then you will need to replace your water heater. There is no fix for a leaking tank because it is a sure sign of massive mineral corrosion on the inside of the tank. However, if the elements or plumbing are leaking, then you can fix the problem yourself.

Fixing a Leaking Water Connection 

If the water inlet connection or water outlet valve are leaking, then you will need to take them apart and put them back together using a layer of plumber's tape to stop the leak. The plumber's tape will act as a gasket and seal off the leak. To do so, first turn off the power to the water heater, and then remove the parts using the proper tools. Apply a layer of plumber's tape by wrapping it around the parts a few times and then reassembling the plumbing connection.

Fixing a Leaking Heating Element

If the leaking water is coming from around one of the heating elements, then you need to remove the element, wrap it in plumber's tape, and screw it back into place. Again, the plumber's tape will act as a gasket and seal off the leak.

Professional Assistance with Your Leaking Water Heater

Finally, if you are unable to determine the cause of the water leak coming from your water heater or are unable to fix the issue yourself, then you should contact a licensed plumber in your area for further assistance.

For more information, contact Kelly's Pipe & Supply Company or a similar organization.