? About water heater leak

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Mr. Lahey

New User
Mr. Lahey
My water heater is leaking around the base. Its not to the point of dripping but it is leaking. I understand this means the tank is corroded so it will have to be replaced. Is there a way to at least slow down the leak to keep it working a little while longer?


Staff member
Corporate Member
If you're sure you can find the leak you can use a boiler screw. It's basically a hex washer head screw with a neoprene washer below, akin to what is used on metal buildings. A caveat: if you hire a plumber to do this the service call may be almost half the cost of replacing the heater, a task which will need to be done soon anyway.


Corporate Member
If it is the tank itself that is leaking, I suggest biting the bullet and replacing. If by chance (and small chance at that) it could be leaking around an element or connection fitting, that would be a cheaper fix. Not necessarily an easier fix depending on your situation. If it is the tank and you replace I also suggest saving the elements and thermostats from the old tank for repair parts. Steve p.s. I keep an extra set of thermostats and elements on hand just in case. they never fail while stores are open


There is one other possibility _IF_ it is an electric water heater. In that case there are one or two heating elements that bolt into the side of the water heater, each of which is sealed with a gasket.

They don't usually spring a leak, but it doesn't cost anything to pop the covers and take a look if that is the type of water heater you have.

Otherwise, a leak due to corrosion is going to continue to deteriorate fairly rapidly. Corrosion of the pressure vessel doesn't usually occur until the sacrificial anode (zinc rod) has been fully consumed -- it is the expected life of this rod that yields water heaters of varying warranty/lifetime periods.


Aside from the heating elements if it is an electric, I'd check all of the water connections and the pressure relief valve for leaks too. If none of the above, start shopping for a replacement. I replaced mine a year ago and it only took a few hours including the trip to Lowe's and to the landfill for disposal (they recycle them).


Senior User
After spending many years in construction and replacing waaaaaaaaayyyyyy toooooooo many water heaters, once they start to leak, quickly unplug em, yank em ,replace em. The little buggers will ALWAYS wait until Oh dark thirty on the first stormy night of the coldest weekend to curl up and die, first making sure there is no store around that has a replacement.

Matt Schnurbusch

New User
If you MUST you may be able to breathe a little, and I mean a little, life into it. But I agree with the majority of comments above. Replace and get it over with before you take a cold shower one morning.
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