Is that pool of water beneath your water heater normal? No, it is not. If you notice there’s water around your hot water tank, this could just be the beginning of other issues. You’ll want to handle this problem as soon as possible so no further damage — such as mold, mildew, or property damage — is done. 

Our water heater repair specialists have seen their fair share of leaking water heaters. That’s why we’ve created a guide to help homeowners like you understand why their hot water heaters are leaking and how they should address this problem.

3 Reasons Your Water Heater is Leaking from the Bottom

Homeowners who are having issues with a leaking water heater often experience this issue for one of three reasons:

  1. The drain valve is faulty.
  2. The T&P valve is not working properly.
  3. The internal tank has been damaged.

Leaky Drain Valve

The drain valve is used to clean and maintain the water heater. If you notice water coming out of this drain valve, it could mean it is not closed all the way, or it is broken. To determine if the valve has been knocked loose, turn the knob or the handle to ensure it is tightly closed. If this doesn’t fix the problem, you’ll need to have the valve replaced. You can do it yourself, or you can call a plumber. 

Malfunctioning Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

The Temperature & Pressure Relief (T&P) valve is a safety feature on your water heater tank that releases pressure from the tank out of a pipe at the bottom of the tank. Water will be drained through this pipe if the pressure builds up too much inside the tank.

The pressure in the tank becomes too great when the water is heated too high (exceeding 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit). If this is happening inside your water tank, there could be a problem with the temperature regulator. You’ll need to call a professional right away to have them inspect the water heater because it’s at risk of bursting if the pressure exceeds its rated PSI.

In many instances, your T&P valve could be releasing pressure because it is faulty. You’ll still need to have a plumber come to your home and inspect the tank before replacing the valve to ensure no other serious issue is occurring. 

Internal Tank Damage

Another reason your hot water heater may be leaking from the bottom is that the internal tank has been damaged by a failure to remove sediment from the tank. If you live in an area with hard water, you’ll want to have your tank flushed to remove sediment every six months. If your tank has been corroded or cracked by sediment, you’ll need to have the whole water heater unit replaced.

Turn Off Water Heater and Water Supply

Once you know where the leak under your water heater is coming from, you’ll need to turn the water supply off so you can prevent further damage. 

First, turn off your water heater. For an electric water heater, flip the circuit breaker switch for the water heater to “off.” For a gas water heater, look at the water heater for an on/off switch and turn it to “off.”

Next, shut off the water supply by finding the dial or lever above your water heater. Turn the dial or pull the lever clockwise. WARNING: Your water heater tank may be very hot, so be careful not to touch it when you turn the water supply off.

Contact Us for Water Heater Repairs and Replacements

Now that you’ve turned the water heater and water supply off, call your local plumbing company. Our team is trained and licensed in handling hot water heater leaks. For more information about our emergency water heater repair or our water heater installation services, contact us today!