Fix It Quick Plumbing INC

18 Months 0% APR Financing Available


Monday - Friday

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Work Hours

Available 24/7

Water Heater Leaking from Top

6 Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks

A leak at the top of your water heater isn’t just a nuisance; it’s a symptom of an underlying issue that needs immediate attention. Ignoring it can lead to a cascade of problems, from water damage to the heater’s failure. This article will guide you through the possible causes of water heaters leaking from the top and how to nip this problem in the bud.

Understanding Water Heater Leaks:

A Tank Water Heater Is More Prone to Water Damage

Water heaters are relatively simple in operation, yet they have several components that, if faulty, can lead to leaks.

The top of the water heater is a common place for leaks to occur, primarily because it’s where many of these critical components are located, including the cold-water inlet and hot-water outlet connections, temperature and pressure relief valve, anode rod, and possible pipe fittings and seams.

6 Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks

1. Loose Connections:

Make Sure the Cold-Water Inlet and Hot-Water Outlet Are Tightened Securely in Your Tank Water Heater

The cold-water inlet and hot-water outlet are the most common sources of leaks. They might become loose over time due to thermal expansion and contraction, resulting in a drip or stream of water. These connections need to be tightened securely but with care not to strip the threads.

2. Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (T&P Valve):

This safety device is designed to release water if the temperature or pressure inside the tank gets too high, preventing the tank from bursting.

A leak from the T&P valve may indicate a faulty valve, excessive pressure, or a temperature issue within the tank.

3. Anode Rod Connection:

Corroded Heating Element of Tank Water Heater with Scum and Sediment Buildup

The “water heater anode rod” is a sacrificial rod designed to corrode instead of your tank.

The anode rod’s mission is to avoid sediment buildup and tank corrosion. The metallic pole is made of magnesium or aluminum, and it attracts hard water particles like limestone, iron, calcium, and magnesium, corroding the rod instead of the tank.

Not all particles will attach to the anode rod. Some will start accumulating in the bottom of the tank. That is why we recommend installing filters to avoid damaging your water heater.

Click to learn more about the rumbling noise of the water heater, which means there is sediment buildup in your tank.

As a general maintenance tip, you should flush the tank twice yearly: once in the spring and then again in the fall. This will reduce sediment buildup, which will help to preserve the anode rod.

If the anode rod’s connection is loose or the rod is heavily corroded, it can cause a leak at the top of the heater.

4. Pipe Fittings:

Check the Pipe Fittings of Your Tank Water Heater

Water heaters have various pipe fittings that can become loose over time. These should be checked for tightness and integrity.

5. Top Seam Leaks:

Although not as expected, the seam at the top of the tank can fail, especially if there’s been any corrosion.

6. Expansion Tank Problems:

If your system has an expansion tank, it could also be the source of the leak. These tanks are designed to absorb excess water volume as it heats up but can fail, leading to leaks.

Diagnosing the Leak:

To find the source of the leak, you’ll need to do some detective work. Start by drying the top of the water heater and then check for where water appears.

Inspect all connections, the T&P valve, and the anode rod for any signs of moisture.

Sometimes, you may need to wrap tissue paper around connections or valves to pinpoint the source.

How to Fix a Tank Water Heater Leak?

A simple tightening with a wrench may solve the problem of loose connections. If the T&P valve is leaking, it might need to be replaced.

Anode rods, if defective, should be replaced by a professional to ensure proper installation. Professional assessment and repair are typically necessary for leaks from the tank’s seam or an expansion tank.

Preventative Maintenance:

Regular maintenance is vital to preventing leaks. This includes checking and tightening connections, testing the T&P valve, inspecting the anode rod, and ensuring your expansion tank functions correctly.

It’s also wise to flush the tank annually to remove sediment that can lead to corrosion and wear.

Beware When the Water Heater Is Leaking from the Top!

Leaks from the top of your water heater can be a simple fix or a sign of a more severe problem.

By understanding the potential causes and how to address them, you can ensure that your water heater continues to operate efficiently and safely.

Remember that while some fixes can be DIY, others require professional expertise.

Call our local plumbers if you’re unsure about the cause of the leak or how to fix it. Fixing leaks quickly can save you from more costly repairs down the line.

Fix It Quick Plumbing INC can repair your water heater quickly. Click your nearby city to book your service.

Scroll to Top