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Reasons Why Your Water Heater Might Be Leaking

A leaking water heater can be frustrating for any homeowner. Not only can it lead to water damage, but it can also disrupt your daily routine. Understanding the potential causes of leaks can help you promptly identify issues and seek professional assistance. In this blog, we will explore common reasons your water heater might be leaking and what actions you can take to resolve the problem.

Loose Or Faulty Drain Valve

A loose or faulty drain valve is one of the most common reasons for water heater leaks. Over time, the valve may become loose due to sediment build-up or wear and tear. To check for this issue, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
  • Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and direct the other end to a suitable drainage area.
  • Open the valve and observe if water leaks even when the valve is closed tightly.

If water continues to leak, it’s likely time to call a professional plumber.

Pressure Relief Valve Issues

Another potential cause of water heater leaks is a malfunctioning pressure relief valve. This safety feature is designed to release excess pressure inside the tank to prevent explosions. To test the valve, follow these steps:

  • Lift the lever slightly and then allow it to snap back into place.
  • Check if the valve seals tightly or continues to leak.

If the pressure relief valve is faulty, it’s essential to have it inspected and replaced.

Corrosion And Rust

Heaters are exposed to water constantly, making them susceptible to corrosion and rust. Over time, the tank’s metal components may deteriorate, leading to leaks. Corrosion can occur due to poor water quality, lack of maintenance or age. To prevent or minimise corrosion-related leaks, consider these actions:

  • Regularly flush the tank to remove sediment and mineral build-up.
  • Inspect and replace the anode rod, which protects the tank from corrosion.

However, suppose your water heater is already leaking due to corrosion. In that case, it’s advisable to consult a professional plumber who can assess the extent of the damage and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Loose Or Damaged Connections

Leaking water heaters can also result from loose or damaged connections. To check for these, inspect the connections to the inlet and outlet pipes and the fittings around the heating elements. Any that appear loose or damaged should be tightened or replaced as needed.

Sediment Build-up

As the water is heated, minerals and debris settle at the bottom, causing potential damage to the tank. To reduce sediment build-up and prevent leaks, consider the following:

  • Regularly flush the tank to remove sediment.
  • Install a sediment filter to minimise the amount of debris entering the tank.
  • Schedule periodic maintenance with a professional plumber to ensure thorough cleaning.

Quick Tip: Regular Maintenance For A Leak-free Water Heater

Regular maintenance is key to keeping your water heater in good condition and preventing leaks. Here’s a quick tip to add to your routine:


Flush the Tank Annually: Sediment build-up can lead to corrosion and leaks in your water heater. Follow these steps to flush your water heater:

  1. Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
  2. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a suitable drainage area.
  3. Open the drain valve and allow the tank to empty completely.
  4. Once the tank is empty, close the drain valve and refill the tank.
  5. Turn on the power supply and let the heater heat the fresh water.

Remember, proactive maintenance can save you from dealing with unexpected leaks and costly repairs in the long run.


A leaking water heater is not a problem to be ignored, as it can lead to further damage and inconvenience. By understanding the potential causes of leaks, you can take the necessary steps to address the issue promptly. If you’re facing a water heater leak or any plumbing-related concerns in Newcastle, Murphy Plumbing is here to help.

Contact Murphy Plumbing For Reliable Water Heater Repair In Newcastle, NSW

Murphy Plumbing has been delivering dependable plumbing throughout the Hunter Valley since 1965. Our team of skilled and experienced plumbers in Newcastle, can promptly diagnose and resolve water heater leaks and other plumbing issues. Contact Murphy Plumbing today if you need repairs, maintenance or installation services.