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Why is My Water Heater Leaking from the Bottom?

No homeowner likes to find a puddle of water surrounding their water heater. We immediately assume the worst and prepare for a battle to get back hot water without breaking our budget. Water heater repairs and replacements can be expensive, but before you admit defeat there are a few steps you can take to make the process smoother and less stressful. Our team at Gotelli Plumbing wants you to know as much as you can about your leaking hot water heater so that we can help you find a quick solution to your problem.

How Can I Tell If My Water Heater Is Really Leaking?

Before you assume the worst, make sure your water heater is really leaking. Some homeowners are unaware that water heaters can collect condensation from time to time. This mostly happens with older water heaters, but newer units can also have condensation if they have damaged insulation or their temperature is set too high.

If you think the puddle under your water heater could have been caused by condensation which traveled down the side of the tank and onto the floor, turn off your unit. Both gas and electric heaters have the potential to form condensation – turn off both kinds.

Return after a few hours and check if the water puddle has grown larger or smaller. If the leak has stopped or the water has shrunk, condensation is likely your problem. Simply lower the temperature to a safe range or keep an eye on the rate of condensation in the future. If the problem persists, contact a plumber to assist you.

How Do I Find The Source Of The Leak?

If condensation is not the culprit behind the leak, you can move on to finding the source of your leak. There are several common causes for a water heater to leak from the bottom – and some are repairable! 

Drain Valve

Near the bottom of your water heater’s tank there should be a valve. It looks like a garden hose spigot. This drain valve is used to empty the tank when needed – such as during cleaning or removal. If you can see water dripping out of the valve or around the valve, your drain valve might be loose. Double-check to make sure the valve is closed and tight. If this does not solve the problem, you may have to replace your drain valve altogether.

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve

A temperature and pressure relief valve keeps the water heater from getting too hot by venting excess pressure. While the T&P valve is usually located on the side or top of the tank, a tube is usually connected to it to send the water down to the floor. The overflow tube runs underneath the water heater. When the T&P valve leaks, it can be mistaken for a leak from the bottom of your unit. 

Check your thermostat setting on the water heater to make sure it is not too high. If it’s in a normal range, you may have to replace your T&P valve.

Tank Leak

If water heaters do not receive regular maintenance they can build up sediment on the bottom of the tank. This sediment can consist of salt or other chemicals that can lead to corrosion of the bottom of the tank. This corrosion can cause tiny holes in the bottom of the tank and therefore a small leak. With the pressure the tank experiences, these tiny holes can quickly become much larger holes.

If the bottom of your tank is corroded, the best solution is to replace your unit. Even patches will eventually fail against the corrosion happening inside the tank. 

Can You Fix A Water Heater Leak Yourself?

Anyone with experience in plumbing can fix their own water heater – especially replacements of valves. If you are sure of your capabilities to identify and repair a leak, it could be a simple fix. Remember to follow safety guidelines when interacting with power and water by shutting off your unit before working on it. 

While it is also possible to replace your water heater yourself, professional plumbers recommend utilizing expert assistance to ensure the removal and installation are completed correctly. Most plumbers will also haul away your old unit for you, taking that stress off your hands. 


If you have any doubts about repairing or replacing your water heater, contact the best San Rafael plumbers. Gotelli Plumbing is more than happy to assist in getting your water heater back up and running. Contact us today!

Why Choose Gotelli Plumbing?

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Our goal is to give every customer the best plumbing service available. Our technicians are professional and well-trained to make sure we achieve that goal.
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We're a family-run business living and working in Marin County, so treating our neighbors like family is the center of our values.
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Our technicians are background checked and trained in the latest plumbing advancements to ensure you get the service your home or business deserves.

What Our Customers Say

Very Professional

Very professional, very accommodating and very successful unclogging solution to our plumbing emergency. Many thanks!

Michael M.

Fast and Efficient

It was great working with Sam S! He’s fast and efficient. He found the problem in a matter a few short minutes. Then he had the part delivered to our home. Thank you!!!

Stephen S.

Courteous and Thorough

Cory was very professional, courteous, thorough, and fixed the problem. Also, the women I spoke with on Friday morning was also very courteous and accommodating . 5 stars for sure!!!

Chris H.

Pleasant Attitude

Cory came out to inspect a questionable smell from under my house and quickly was able to identify the source – a decomposing rat that my pest control guy was on able to locate after three previous visits! Thank you Cory for your fast and efficient service and a pleasant attitude!

Rebecca C.

Quick Response Time

The response from Gotelli Plumbing was excellent. The next time Tom arrived right on time and the quality of his work was outstanding. When he finished he walked me through everything he had done and I could not have been more pleased with the results. I’m so thankful to have such professionals available when need and on such short notice.

Raymond R.

Excellent Service

Tom provided excellent service. He is obviously experienced- and quickly solved the problem. Our gas had to be shut off, so we were without our stove to cook, furnace to heat and hot water. Our home is happy again!

Keith B.

Superb Service

Tom of Gotelli Plumbing provided superb service for us in replacing a very balky tub spout, and worn out toilet parts. Not only was he extremely professional and thorough but he was able to answer all my questions concerning the service. I would give 6 stars if I could.

Edward D.

Always on Time

Tom has worked on numerous plumbing issues in our home over the years. He’s always on time, polite, hard working and an excellent plumber overall. I strongly recommend Tom R. for any plumbing jobs you need! We’ll continue to use Tom for all our future plumbing problems. Thanks!

Rachel C.

Fantastic Service

Fantastic service from Steve, who came to our home on time, surveyed the issue, and came back to fix the problem – all with a smile.

Bill D.

Great Experience

I had a great experience with Gotelli Plumbing when we needed a leak in a pipe fixed. Tom was professional and friendly. He also got the job done faster than original estimated, so the work was less expensive than I anticipated. I will use Gotelli Plumbing again in the future.

Kendall F.

Affordable Pricing

Water heater died just in time for Thanksgiving company to arrive. Gotelli sent Joey out first thing this morning. Not only was Joey a super nice guy, he fixed our heater quickly and for $450 less than a competitors bid. Will be going to these guys for all of our plumbing needs in the future!

Becky R.

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Fabulous attention to detail…every decision is made with first rate materials. No cutting corners…great customer service!!

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