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What to Do When Your Hot Water Tank Is Leaking

water heater leaking from the bottom
Is your hot water tank leaking? If so, you are on the right page.
The water heater tank plays a vital role in the household. From cooking to showering and cleaning, a water heater supplies the necessary water you need to complete daily tasks. Whether electric or gas, water heaters usually last between 10 and 12 years if you take excellent care of them.
During that time, your water heater may show signs of wear and tear, resulting in leakage. Whatever the cause, you shouldn’t ignore this problem. Let’s look at the reasons and what to do when your hot water tank is leaking.

Why Is Your Hot Water Tank Leaking?

The common causes of water heater leaks depend on several factors. Sometimes, the issues are minor and easy for homeowners from Vaughan and the surrounding areas to repair on their own. Other times, they are more serious and require professional assistance. In general, it is good to call an experienced plumber to help diagnose the issue and ensure your hot water tank is in good condition.
Here are the most common reasons behind water heater leakage.

Old Tank

Water heaters older than 12 years are more susceptible to damage than newer ones. As the tank ages, the main parts wear out, and it can’t keep up with the same speed and power as before, resulting in small leaks.

Malfunctioning Drain Valve

Broken valves may cause leaks from the bottom of the tank. The good thing is that you can quickly solve the issue by replacing the drain valve.
For replacements or maintenance visits, professional plumbers use this valve to empty the water tank. Some homeowners also use the valve to clean the tank and get rid of the build-up rust. The valve may loosen after years of use, resulting in a small leak in your basement or bathroom.

Excessive Pressure

Like most plumbing appliances, heaters deal with high water pressure. When there is a lot of steam and limited space, the pressure increases, causing cracks in the heater and leaks.


Another common reason for hot water tank leakage is sediment build-up which may cause rust, holes, and cracks in the bottom of the tank. When this happens, it is time to call in a professional plumbing company to replace the heater.
If you want to avoid sediment build-up, it is good to consider regular maintenance, cleaning, and check-ups. Ideally, it would be best if you cleaned the tank once a year.

Temperature Pressure Relief Valve

As the name implies, these valves regulate the pressure and temperature inside the tank. When they break down, they can cause leaks from the sides of the tank. You can solve the problem by replacing the valve.

Anode Rod

Anode rods operate as protective components of the heater. The rod attracts corrosive elements, so the water stays safe. When the anode rod breaks down, it becomes ineffective, causing rust to build up faster. Water will start to leak through the anode rod and damage your basement or bathroom. Quick replacement of the anode rod should take care of any future leaks.

How to Stop a Water Heater Leak

If your hot water tank is leaking, here is what to do:

Step 1: Turn off the Power

The first thing to do when you notice a leak is to cut the power. If you have an electric heater, find the breaker panel and turn off the power to the unit. If you have a gas water heater, go to your thermostat and switch it to “off” to cut off the gas.

Step 2: Shut off the Water

Next, it is essential to turn off the water line leading to the heater. Once you find the valve, turn it to the right and make sure it is tight. It will cut off the water and stop the leakage from spreading.

Step 3: Drain the Tank

The final and arguably one of the most important steps is draining the tank. For those who have a standard water heater, the process is quick and simple:
  • Find the main valve at the bottom of the tank and attach a hose to it.
  • Find a sump pit and run the hose to it.
  • When the hose is in place, open the drain valve (for older water heaters, it looks like a standard fixture; for newer ones, you’ll need a screwdriver to open the stem).
  • If everything is okay, the water will start flowing.
  • If there is a vacuum inside, the water won’t flow. In this case, you need to open any hot water faucet in the bathroom or kitchen and release the vacuum.
  • When there is less pressure and vacuum, the tank should drain in 45-60 minutes.

How to Prevent Your Hot Water Tank from Leaking

Although some leaks are unpredictable and can happen at the most inconvenient times, there are ways to maintain better control over your heater.
The faster you identify leakage, the less likely you will experience severe water damage and expensive repairs. Here is how to keep your property safe from hot water tank leaks.

Check Loose Parts

Make sure to regularly tighten all of the parts on the heater as often as you can.

Clean and Drain Tank

A water heater free of rust and build-up sediment is less likely to leak. Once a year, make sure to clean and drain your tank and ensure it is free of mildew and mould.

Act Fast

Neglecting plumbing issues may turn a simple problem into severe deterioration. If leaks run for longer periods, water damage and floods are likely to happen.

MT Drains & Plumbing Solves Tank Leaks Quickly and Efficiently

Some water heater leaks in Vaughan are difficult for homeowners to handle on their own. When a leak occurs, reach out to MT Drains & Plumbing to help.

We are the go-to plumbing company in Vaughan and the surrounding areas due to the excellent service we provide, the high-quality tools we use, and our competitive prices. There is no leak that we can’t handle!

Call (905) 761-5551 to learn how our plumbers can assist you when your hot water tank is leaking.


Paul S

Paul has more then 20 years in basement waterproofing and plumbing projects experience. Looking for an advice from an expert plumber? Make sure to read Paul's articles about residential waterproofing and plumbing projects in Toronto.

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