Water heaters, the all-important units that control the temperature of our water supply, are units that are already sealed.  The tank is usually protected by a glass-like cover and not traditionally replaced by DIY’ers because of the complexity of the task.  If you are experiencing a leak, the chances are that you will either have to consult a professional or you will have to simply replace it.

This does not mean that the situation is hopeless; however, it is important that you determine the location of the leak.  There is always that chance that the leak isn’t necessarily coming from the hot water heater!  It could stem from a number of things such as the piping systems.  If this is the case, then it is very possible that you can fix the leak!

The Following are Repairable Leaks

If you find that the cause of the leak is the pipes or anywhere outside of the water heater, you may have to work with it by replacing specific parts and tightening the fittings that may be contributing to the leak.

If you find that your water heater uses sweat fittings or even copper tubing, we do recommend that you buy the required tools and to physically cut out the leaky fittings.

When you have a pressure relief valve malfunction, we do recommend that you replace it as soon as possible.  Before you do this, you will not want to jump right into it.  You will want to release some of the water from the water heater.  We also don’t recommend doing this step right away.  You will need to shut down and drain so that you do not cause serious harm to yourself.

Preparatory Steps

Before you begin, you definitely want to turn off the power at the source, via circuit breaker or fuse.  If you are working at a place where you are not the only person currently there, we do recommend that you leave a note that you are currently working on the circuit breaker.

If someone actually turns on the circuit breaker, that can have serious or even fatal consequences.

If you do have a gas powered water heater, then you want to shut off the gas feed.  Where is this usually?  You can check near the appliance, it usually only requires a one-quarter turn.

After you have conducted these steps, you will want to completely shut off the water.  You can perform this by simply turning off the cold water supply and then closing the in-line valves located above the appliance.    We also recommend attaching a gardening hose to the sillcock valve.  This should be located on the bottom of the water heater so that you can drain the water outside.

Step 1: Create a Free-Standing Environment

It is important to disconnect the piping and release the pressure from the appliance.  After you have completed this, we recommend unscrewing the two unions and catching any remaining water with a container and bucket.   This should make your water heater free-standing so that you can work on the piping and fittings via resealing or re-tightening.

Step 2: Fixing the Leaks

Fixing the leaks is not the hardest thing to do in the world.  You simply just need a pipe wrench so that you can do this particular fitting.  You can tighten the fittings by simply turning them in a clockwise direction.  You may also want to apply Teflon tapeor sealant on the threads of the fittings.

How to Fix a Leaking Water Heater