Why Is My Hot Water System Leaking?

Your hot water system is an important part of your home. We use hot water for many things, yet we do not pay attention to our hot water system until it is too late. We know that the average hot water system can last for 10 years, so it is easy for us to that it is one of the most used appliances in the home and requires regular maintenance.

This is why you might not notice a leaking hot water system till your hot water stops completely. A leaking hot water system will not only increase your water bill but may lead to more serious problems. Regular maintenance and repair will extend the lifespan of your heater and will save you money in the long run, suggest local plumbing companies.

If you ignore your leaking hot water system, it could amount to further damage to the system and other parts of your home. This is more trouble than a minor leak is worth, so you should always service your hot water systems and attend to any leaks before they create more damage.

This article is your complete guide to handling your leaking hot water system. We will tell you why your hot water system is leaking and what you can do to fix the problem before it is too late.

Why Is Your Hot Water System Leaking?

After many years of use, your hot water system will get a few faults, the most common being leaks. Leaks can start any time; within a day or two, that trickle you noticed might become a gush. To understand what to do in this situation, you need to know why your hot water is leaking in the first place. Here are some of the most likely reasons:

Your Tank Is Damaged

A damaged tank is the most likely cause of a leaking hot water system. The first indicator of a damaged tank is a large amount of leaking water. When your tank starts to rust, cracks will form on the body. Water will leak from these cracks.

The bad thing about a damaged tank is that it will only get worse. The rusts will continue, and the volume of water leaking out will only increase. Once you notice water leaking out of the tank, call a professional to look at the leaks and make the necessary repairs.

Your leaking tank might also be due to an internal fault. It could be that a component is not working properly, leading to a leak. Whatever the case, you must fix it before it is too late.

The Pressure Relief Valve Is Faulty

It is normal for your pressure relief valve to release water from time to time. That is how it gets the job done. However, your valve might be damaged if you have noticed a constant release and a shallow puddle under the pressure relief valve.

Damage to your pressure relief valve could be due to debris getting into the valve. There is no way to stop this, as debris will always find its way to your pressure relief valve. This is why you need routine maintenance. Fortunately, even if your valve is damaged without repair, it is not that expensive, and you can easily replace it.

The Water Pressure Is Too High

Every hot water system carries a certain level of water pressure. If the water pressure in your home is higher than what your hot water system can carry, it could cause a leak.

However, high-pressure levels can be corrected using a pressure-limiting valve. This valve reduces the amount of pressure your heating system gets.

If you already have one, the leak might be due to an old or damaged limiting valve. Fortunately, the pressure valve is easy to install and repair.

The Pipe Fittings In Your Hot Water System Has Loosened

If your hot water system is leaking, it might mean that your pipe fittings have become loose. When you have used your hot water system for a while, it is normal for the pipe fittings to loosen over time.

However, loose pipe fittings also mean leaking pipe fittings. In most cases, loose pipe fittings can be repaired easily, but you might need to replace your hot water system in worst-case scenarios. 


What Should I Do When Hot Water System Is Leaking?

The key to avoiding unnecessary hot water system repair service visits is to be well-informed. Here we have listed some things to do when your water heater leaks and how to help the plumber fix your leaking hot system.

Find Where The Leak Is From

If you notice a leak, the first thing you should do is find where the leak is from. Is it actually coming from the hot water system or from somewhere else? Check the pipe going in and out of the system. If none of them have leaks, you might be dealing with a different issue than you had imagined.

If you have determined that the leak is from the hot water system, the next step would be to locate the exact part of the tank the leak is coming from. Is it from the top, bottom, or maybe from the pressure relief valve?

If the leak is from the pressure relief valve, you might not need a professional to help you fix it. Lift the valve’s lever four times to clear all blockage. The leak should stop after this. If the leak doesn’t stop, you should call a professional to help you. Replacing a valve is not a major problem and is relatively inexpensive.

If the leak is from the top or bottom of the tank, you will need to turn off the power supply. If you are using an electric hot water system, turn off the circuit breaker supplying the system, and if you are using a gas hot water system, cut the gas supply.

How To Find Out If Your Hot Water Tank Is Leaking From The Top

A leak at the top of your tank is usually easier to fix than one at the bottom, but you need to understand what is causing the leak and how it can be fixed.

If your hot water tank is leaking from the top, it could be because of leaking valves, loose pipe fittings, oxidizing anode rods, leaking expansion tanks, or cracks on the tank’s body.

To identify the exact cause of the leak, you need to check the tank’s body, especially the parts we mentioned.

If the leak is due to a loose screw or fittings, you can tighten it and see if the leak will stop. If not, contact a professional immediately. DIY plumbing without the required expertise can be very dangerous.

How To Find Out If Your Hot Water Tank Is Leaking At The Bottom

If the leak is not from the valves or the top of the tank, the next possible place is the bottom of the tank. A leak at the bottom of your tank is more dire than the one on top. However, it does not mean that the tank is beyond repair.

Check the drain valve and the temperature and pressure relief valves if the leak is from the bottom of the tank. Check the bottom of the tank’s body too. If the problem is any of the valves, you can get a replacement and install it yourself or get professional help.

However, if the problem is the tank, the only remedy is to change the tank. Seek out a professional hot water repair service to help install your new tank.

Turn Off The Water Supply

Once you know where the leak is, turn off the water system to prevent more damage to the system.

The easiest way to do this is to turn the dial/ tap on the pipe attached to the bottom of the hot water system. However, you might notice that the tap is rusted and refuses to move. If this is the case, you might need to use the water mains.

The water mains is a tap controlling the water supply to all house parts. It is almost always located near the water meter. Sometimes, they might be found in the kitchen or laundry sink.

When you locate the water mains, turn them off, but not before fetching enough water to use while you wait for the plumber.

Contact A Professional

Not to frighten you, but trying to fix your leaking hot water system yourself is usually a recipe for disaster! You have not taken care of the root cause of the problem, and you might worsen the situation and have to get an entirely new hot water system.

Moreover, you are also dealing with electricity or gas, so there is a high chance of getting injured during the process. Do not wind up on a hospital bed because you refused to let the professionals do their jobs.

So what should you do if your hot water system is leaking? Contact a professional who is trained on how to repair systems.

Should I Replace Or Fix The Leaking Hot Water System?

When you get a leak in your hot water system, the question, “should I repair it or get a replacement?” pops up. The cause of action you should take depends on the cause of the leak and how severe it is.

In most cases, repairs are possible if the leak is new. However, you might need a new hot water system in other cases. You do not need to get the same system you were using; that might be a bad idea.

If you have used your hot water system for 10-12 years, the system you used is likely outdated. Installing the same one would be missing out on all the developments in hot water technology in the past ten years.

You also have to decide the type of hot water system to install. Should it come with a tank? What will power the system; gas or electric? Answering all these will require overwhelming research. Fortunately, you do not need to, as your local plumber should be able to help you answer them.


What Is The Most Common Cause Of Problems In A Hot Water System?

The most common cause of problems in a hot water system is leaking. It could be faulty drain pipes, too much pressure on the tank, rust, or condensation. A leaking hot water system can become a hassle if not corrected quickly.

Why Does My Hot Water System Keep Leaking?

There are different reasons your hot water system might be leaking. You can get this fixed by a professional. However, if your hot water system keeps leaking, it might have gotten to the end of its lifespan. If this is the case, you must replace your hot water system.

Can I Still Use Water If My Water Heater Is Leaking?

You can still use water with a leaking water heater. However, you need to find the spot the leak is coming from and, if possible, stop the leak temporarily. If this is beyond your expertise, limit your water usage until a hot water system repair service can visit you.

Why Do I Keep Running Out Of Hot Water?

If you are constantly running out of hot water, it means it might be time to get your hot water system repaired or replaced. It could be due to a leak or a broken component. Whatever the case, you might need to get a professional to look at the system and advise you on further actions.


A leaking water heater might not look like a dire situation, but it is capable of causing more harm than it is worth. Once you notice a leak, find the exact source and call an expert to help fix it.