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Is A Leaking Water Heater Dangerous?

Mar 09, 2023


If all of our plumbing fixtures always worked, we’d be a lot closer to living in a perfect world. Unfortunately, however, we encounter leaks and other plumbing issues all the time. Some are minor, and others are a bigger cause for concern.


If you’re noticing a leak in your water heater, that’s an issue you probably want to have taken care of right away. Let’s take a closer look at whether a leaking water heater is dangerous and what to do about it.

How Do I Know If My Water Heater is Leaking?

The most obvious sign of a leaking water heater would be water pooling around the base, but there are some other signs you might notice before that:


  • A sudden, noticeable drop in water pressure
  • A sudden loss of hot water
  • If your water heater is on an upper floor, water leaking from a ceiling into the room below it

Any of these could be signs of a leak in your water heater.

So, is a Leaking Water Heater Dangerous?

Yes. The danger level of a leaking hot water heater depends on the cause of the leak, which we’ll discuss below. But even a small leak may be a sign of a bigger problem. To keep your family safe, it’s important to take leaks of any size seriously.


If you notice a leak, turn off the power and water supply to the hot water heater right away. A leaking water heater emergency usually requires a professional. The 5-Star plumbing experts at CroppMetcalfe are trained to inspect your leaking water heater, repair it quickly and safely, and install a new one if necessary. 

Causes of a Leaking Water Heater 

The risks of a leaking water heater vary based on the cause and source of the leak. 

Leaking from the Bottom

There are 3 reasons why a leak may come from the bottom of your hot water heater:


  • A problem with the drain valve
  • Sediment buildup inside your hot water tank
  • In rare cases, the problem may be caused by condensation buildup inside the tank, causing it to corrode

Leaking from the Top

First, check to see if the leak is actually coming from the ceiling above your water heater. If that’s not the source of the water, then check the temperature/pressure relief (TP)  valve. It’s usually located on the right side of the tank near the top, or on top of the heater. 


Water leaking from the TP valve connection requires a professional to fix it immediately. However, if you notice only steam coming from the TP valve, it may simply be releasing the pressure from inside as it’s supposed to do.

Other Leaks

Check all of the connections going in and out of your water heater. Leaks coming from connections could simply need tightening. If that doesn’t help, you may need replacement connections – or the problem may be something else. Call a professional.


Older tanks are also more prone to leaks. Tanks over 15 years old are likely to simply malfunction. The only fix for this is a complete tank replacement. We recommend having a professional take care of your water heater replacement. Trying to do it yourself may be dangerous due to potentially hazardous systems, building codes, and improper installation that can cost even more money down the road.

Risks of a Leaking Water Heater

You’ve determined the source of your leak and tried to tighten any connections. But the tank is still leaking, the connections are bad, or the TP valve looks broken. What happens to water heater leaks left unchecked?


Whether the tank is located in your basement or on a higher floor of your house or building, there’s a risk of the leaking water accumulating and flooding. Even minor flooding can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home.


Water heaters heat water. Be careful when dealing with leaks, as water directly from the tank can scald you. Keep pets and children away from leaking water heaters.

Gas Leak

Water leaking from a gas tank may be caused by a gas leak. If you smell a leak (like rotten eggs), shut off the gas immediately, get out of the house, and call 911.


The worst-case scenario with a leaking water heater is an explosion. This is caused by a buildup of pressure inside the tank or a gas leak. Signs your tank might explode include:


  • A leaking pressure valve
  • Gas leak
  • Popping noise
  • Brown water    

When in doubt, call a professional plumber right away. CroppMetcalfe has 24-hour emergency plumbing services to help you day or night. In the Maryland, D.C., or Virginia area, call us at 888-257-5692 and we’ll be on our way. When it comes to the safety of your family and home, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Solutions for a Leaking Water Heater

Fixing a leaking water heater can be as simple as tightening a valve or connection. But bigger problems require bigger solutions, and that’s when it’s better to leave it to the pros. Don’t leave your water heater repairs or replacements to just anyone. Make sure you hire someone who is:


  • Certified
  • Dedicated
  • Experienced
  • Reliable

Trying to repair or replace a water heater yourself may seem like a good way to save money now. But DIY installation or repair can be dangerous due to the water connections, possible gas leaks, or damage to your home. This will cost you even more money in the long run. Get it done right the first time by calling a professional like CroppMetcalfe.

Rely on CroppMetcalfe for All Your Leaking Water Heater Problems

The 5-Star plumbers at CroppMetcalfe are dedicated to customer service and satisfaction. We’re trained, certified, and experienced in water heater repair and replacement. At CroppMetcalfe, we know that leaking water heaters can make homeowners nervous. We’re here to take you seriously and solve your problems. There’s nothing we can’t handle. 


We offer a Preferred Service Plan that offers priority emergency service, regular maintenance inspections, 10% discounts on repairs, and 50% discounts on diagnostics to give you peace of mind.

Call CroppMetcalfe today at 888-257-5692 or contact us online to discuss how we can help you avoid, repair, or replace your leaking water heater.


What Our Customers Say...

"I've been a CroppMetcalfe customer for 9 years and you have always provided outstanding service. I just had my semi-annual maintenance done, and I wanted to thank George for the truly outstanding service, professionalism, and excellent advice. He is definitely one of the best 5-Star Technicians I've had! Thank you CroppMetcalfe!"

Bill H