The Most Common Causes Why Water Heaters Leak

Nobody in Tampa likes it when their water heater leaks. The last thing you want is a busted water heater causing water damage to your Tampa home. We have put together this guide, so you can see our top reasons for a water heater leaking – and avoid the dreaded floods from a water heater burst. Read this blog post and learn the most common culprits behind a leaking or busted water heater, and how to fix them.

Water Heater Rust & Sediment Buildup

Most water heaters are made of steel. Steel is mostly iron, and – you guessed it – iron rusts. Water heaters have a safeguard called an anode rod to prevent rusting, but over time your anode rod could wear down or fail, causing your water heater to leak from the top anode. If you notice that your hot tap water is a gross, rusty brown color we recommend calling a plumber about getting your water heater’s anode rod replaced.

Additionally, most homes have hard water running through their water heaters. Hard water has small amounts of minerals floating in it which, over time, can start to settle at the bottom of your water heater’s tank. This caused a layer of buildup that blocks the water from accessing the burner.

What does this mean? It means that it takes longer to heat the water, leading to overheating, general deterioration and most commonly, leaks from the bottom of your water heater. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem by making sure you drain the water and flush out any built-up sediment at least once per year. If not, you could experience some of these water tank problems below.

A Drain Valve Leak

If you notice your water heater leaking from the bottom specifically, the culprit could be a drain valve leak. If the drain valve fails, you could experience a flooded basement. Drain valves are used to drain the hot water from the tank to remove sediment, like we mentioned above. Your water heater leak could simply be because the valve is loose, and you need to tighten it a bit. Be careful about over tightening though, you could break the valve and make the leak worse. Simply locate the knob or handle and ensure it’s tightened completely, but first confirm that the leak is in fact originating from the drain valve, and not somewhere else.

An Internal Tank Leak

Perhaps the most common culprit behind your water heater leaking from the bottom is an internal tank leak. This could indicate that your water tank leaking is due to internal damage to the tank itself from a structural issue. If you haven’t removed sediment from your tank in some time, it could have caused corrosion leading to a cracking of the tank shell, or a similar issue. Inspect the outside of your tank to look for signs of serious internal issues. In most cases, replacing your water heater is going to be the only solution here.

Air Pressure

Excess air pressure builds inside your water heater’s tank when the temperature is too high or the pressure of the exterior water coming into your house is too strong. Avoid these problems by making sure to set your water heater no higher than 120-125 degrees.

Additionally, we at Cass Plumbing recommend keeping an eye on your water heater’s temperature and pressure relief valve (also known as a t&p valve). It’s on the top or side of your tank and releases pressure from the heater’s tank when necessary. If you test the valve and no water comes out, or your leak is from the t&p valve itself, we recommend quickly replacing it. Tip: avoid replacing it with a plastic valve, if possible, they’re cheap and bound to break..


Lastly, aging could be the reason behind your water heater’s demise. Hot water heaters typically last approximately 8 to 10 years. During the end of their life cycle, basic water heater leaks are more likely to happen due to general wear and tear. Corrosion, years of sediment damage, and the unavoidable damage of aging can also cause these potential leaks.

Water Heater Repair & Replacement in Tampa, Florida

Can you remember when you got your hot water heater? If your answer is yes, it’s probably time to replace your water heater. Contact the Cass Plumbing team for fast, reliable water heater repair and replacement services. No one likes dealing with hot water heater leaks, so let us do the hard work for you.

Cass Plumbing – Tampa’s Water Heater Experts

For all your water heater needs, contact the Tampa water heater experts at Cass Plumbing today at 813-265-9200. The water heater professionals at Cass Plumbing can help you decide if a tankless water heater, a hybrid water heater, a solar water heater, or the traditional tank-type water heater are right for you. At Cass Plumbing, we will consider all the factors, such as your family’s size, hot water usage, installation limitations, affordability and the amount of time it will take for the water heater investment will start to payback. Armed with this this information, you will have the ability to make the best decision for your Tampa home.

Call Cass Plumbing today at (813) 265-9200