Leaky Hot Water Heater: Fix or Replace?

Perhaps you found some dripping in your HVAC room while getting some sports equipment out of storage. Or maybe the hot water heater has been acting up and you decided to check it. Regardless of how you realized your water heater was leaking, you know you’re in trouble when water is outside the tank.

Hopefully, you were able to catch the leak early before it caused any major water damage.

Can a Leaky Hot Water Heater Be Repaired?

Although a leaky water heater can usually be repaired, whether it should be depends on the cause of the leak, the severity of it, and the age of the unit. Frequent repairs and major efficiency problems can end up costing a lot more than just replacing the unit with a new water heater.

Should I Fix or Replace My Leaky Water Heater?

There are various factors to consider as you determine what to do with your water heater—fix or replace.

  • Age
    It’s not unheard of that hot water heater tanks that are only six years old will fail. If your water heater is near the 8-to-12-year mark when most water heaters wear out, you might be better off replacing it. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, have an expected lifespan of 20 years or more, so if yours is tankless, it may have more years to give you after a repair performed by a licensed plumber.

  • Hot Water Heater Leaking Water from Bottom
    If you have a water heater leaking from the bottom of your hot water heater, it may be from the sediment and mineral buildup corroding through the tank. In this case, the water heater must be replaced. Additionally, the drain valve could be failing. If so, a drain valve repair may be needed.

  • Hot Water Heater Leaking Water from Top
    When a hot water heater is leaking from the top, it could be the drain valve, temperature & pressure relief valve, or a leaking joint. For these issues, the solution may be as simple as replacing a part.

  • Hot Water Heater Leaking from Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve
    The temperature & pressure relief valve’s job is to release pressure from the tank when the water pressure or temperature is too high. A leaky pressure relief valve in the hot water heater may mean your thermostat is set too high, or the water pressure may need to be reduced, and/or the valve may need to be replaced.

  • Unit Efficiency
    If you notice your water isn't heating up or running out of heat too quickly, your water heater may be malfunctioning or not holding heat properly. It’s probably time to replace it, even if the leak can be fixed.

Related Topic: What Is a Tankless Water Heater and Should I Get One?

Get Expert Help for a Leaky Water Heater

A leaky water heater can cause extensive property damage if left unchecked. The repair can range from sometime relatively simple to a full replacement. If you notice water leaking from your water heater, have it checked by a professional plumber. Your local pros at Mr. Rooter Plumbing can access the problem quickly and offer you the best option for a repair or replacement. Contact your local Mr. Rooter or request an estimate online today.