With the daily demands placed on your water heater, it’s imperative that it remains in good working order for optimal performance and efficiency—and while regular maintenance can help to prolong the life span of this handy appliance, if you have a leaky water heater it may be time to consider replacing it.

Why Is My Hot Water Heater Leaking?

A leaky water heater is a cause for concern that may lead to a major repair or cause damage to your home. While some leaks are serious and require the expert services of a licensed plumber, others may be more easily resolved by a handy homeowner, and it’s important to determine which type of leak you have as soon as you notice signs of water around the hot water tank. Causes of a hot water tank leaking may include:


On colder days or in an unconditioned space, condensation may occur as the cold water and warm tank begin to mix. Once the water heater has reached peak temperature the condensation should dissipate on its own.

Valve Issues

The drain valve leading from your water heater may be too loose, allowing small amounts of water to escape. Check the faucet and knob at the base of the tank and tighten the valve by rotating it clockwise until you meet resistance.

High Water Temperature

If the temperature of your water tank is set too high, water may leak from the temperature-pressure (TP) relief valve. While the default setting on most tanks is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the Department of Energy recommends a setting of 120 degrees for maximum safety and efficiency. Try lowering the temperature on the tank to see if the leak subsides, and if water continues to flow from the TP valve call Preferred Home Services for expert diagnosis and repair.


Constant exposure to water and a buildup of sediment at the bottom of your water heater can lead to rust or corrosion over time. If you see visible signs of rust at the base of the tank or a preliminary inspection fails to reveal an obvious source for the water leak, it is likely that the interior of the tank is failing. A rupture in the exterior can lead to major flooding and damage and should be addressed as soon as possible by a certified plumber.

Signs You Need Water Heater Replacement

If you’re like most homeowners you don’t give your water heater much thought until there is a problem with the quality or temperature of your hot water—but if you listen closely, the appliance will send you some subtle and not-so-subtle signs that water heater replacement is near, including:

Strange Noises

Clunking, banging, or other sudden, loud, or unusual noises coming from your hot water tank are most likely the result of a buildup of sediment at the bottom of the tank. This issue may be able to be resolved by having a certified plumber flush the tank, but the resulting damage to the tank’s interior may necessitate a water heater replacement.

Rusty Water

Discolored water is always a cause for concern, but if the issue is limited to only your hot water, a rusty tinge or red tint is likely due to rust. While the corrosion may be located in the pipes, it may also be a sign that the tank is deteriorating and needs to be replaced.

Old Age

With an average life span of eight to twelve years, your hot water tank will eventually need to be replaced, and as you approach the ten-year mark it is a good time to start thinking about replacement.

Lack of Hot Water

As your water heater approaches the end of its life span, it will begin to lose efficiency and may no longer meet the demands of your household.

Water Leakage

Water leaks may occur as a result of the metal continuously expanding and contracting as it is heated and cooled. A certified plumber can help to determine the source of a hot water tank leaking and make recommendations for repair or replacement.

Schedule a Water Heater Inspection and Repair

With nearly 1,000 positive customer reviews, Preferred Home Services is Charleston’s trusted provider of water heater services and other plumbing and HVAC services. Are you noticing the signs of a leaky water heater? Contact us online to schedule an inspection today!