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Leaking Rheem Water Heater: 7 Causes and Solutions

Leaking Rheem Water Heater: Causes and Solutions

Is your Rheem water heater showing signs of trouble? A Rheem water heater leak can be a source of frustration and potentially costly damage. Whether you’re dealing with a minor drip or a major flood, understanding the causes and solutions is crucial.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the seven common reasons behind a Rheem water heater leak and provide practical solutions to help you tackle the issue head-on. Don’t let a leaking water heater dampen your day – read on to find out how to address this common household problem!

Understanding Rheem Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks can be a frustrating and potentially damaging issue. Understanding why leaks occur, as well as the types of Rheem water heaters available, can help you address these problems effectively.

Read also Rheem Water Heaters Issues & Troubleshooting >>>

Types of Rheem Water Heaters

Rheem offers a diverse range of water heaters designed to meet various household needs. Understanding the type of water heaters you have is crucial for diagnosing and addressing potential leaks effectively. Here are some of the common types:

  1. Tank Water Heaters: These are the traditional water heaters with a storage tank. Rheem offers both gas and electric tank water heaters.
  2. Tankless Water Heaters: Rheem tankless water heaters are known for their energy efficiency and on-demand hot water supply.
  3. Hybrid Water Heaters: These combine the features of tank and tankless water heaters, offering energy savings and continuous hot water.
  4. Point-of-Use Water Heaters: Compact and designed for specific applications, these are ideal for supplying hot water to isolated areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens.

Common Causes of Water Heater Leaks

Water heater leaks can stem from various sources, and understanding the underlying causes is essential for effective troubleshooting. Here are some of the common culprits behind water heater leaks:

  • Pressure Relief Valve (PRV) Failure
  • Corrosion and Rust
  • Sediment Buildup
  • Faulty Drain Valve
  • Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR) Issues
  • High Water Pressure
  • Deteriorated Gaskets or Seals
  • Cracks in the Tank
  • Improper Installation
  • Condensation

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Top 7 Reasons Your Rheem Water Heater is Leaking

Your Rheem water heater is a vital appliance in your home, providing hot water for various daily tasks. However, a leaking water heater can be a significant headache, causing damage to your property and potentially disrupting your daily routine. Understanding the reasons behind a leaky Rheem water heater is crucial for timely detection and resolution.

Here are the top 7 reasons why your Rheem water heater might be leaking and offer insights on how to address each issue.

1. Leaking from the Bottom

One of the most common reasons for a Rheem water heater to leak is damage or corrosion at the bottom of the tank. Over time, the constant heating and cooling of water inside the tank can cause the metal to weaken, leading to small cracks or holes. Sediment buildup can also accelerate corrosion.

When water begins to leak from the bottom, it’s a sign that your water heater may need to be replaced. Attempting to repair a severely corroded tank is generally not cost-effective, and a new water heater is often the best solution.

2. Leaking from the Top

A common cause of a Rheem water heater leaking from the top is a faulty temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve). This valve is designed to release excess pressure and temperature to prevent tank damage. If it’s leaking, it might be malfunctioning or installed incorrectly. Replacing a faulty T&P valve is a relatively simple fix. Additionally, leaks from the top can also result from loose or damaged inlet or outlet pipes, which may require tightening or replacement.

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3. Drain Valve Leaks

The Rheem water heater drain valve at the bottom of the unit is used for flushing sediment buildup. If it’s leaking, it could be because of a loose or faulty valve. Try tightening the Rheem water heater drain valve leaking or replacing it if it’s damaged.

In some cases, a leaky drain valve might indicate a more extensive issue with sediment buildup or high water pressure, so be sure to address those potential problems as well.

4. Pressure Relief Valve Issues

A leaking pressure relief valve is another common problem. This valve is essential for regulating pressure inside the tank to prevent overheating and potential explosions. If you notice a Rheem water heater relief valve leaking, it may need to be replaced. However, do not attempt to remove or replace this valve yourself, as it can be dangerous. Consult a professional plumber to handle this issue.

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5. Faulty Heating Element or Thermostat

A leak from the bottom of the heating element or thermostat housing can also cause water heater leaks. If these components are damaged or deteriorated, water can seep out, leading to a Rheem water heater leaking from the thermostat. Replacing a faulty heating element or thermostat is typically necessary in such cases.

6. Internal Tank Issues

Sometimes, Rheem tankless water heaters may experience internal tank issues, such as cracks or deterioration of the tank’s lining, which can lead to leaks. Unfortunately, when faced with Rheem tankless water heater leaking due to internal tank problems, repairing the unit is usually not feasible. In such cases, opting for a water heater replacement is often the best solution.

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7. Installation and Maintenance Errors

Improper installation or neglecting regular maintenance can lead to leaks in your Rheem hot water tank. Issues like loose connections, inadequate sealing, or neglecting to flush the tank regularly can result in Rheem hot water tank leaking over time.
Ensuring proper installation and performing routine maintenance can help prevent such problems.

Preventive Measures and Maintenance Tips

While some water heater issues may require the expertise of a professional plumber, there are several preventive measures and maintenance tips that homeowners can undertake to address minor problems related to the seven common reasons for water heater leaks mentioned earlier. 

Here’s a guide on what you can do yourself and when it’s best to call a plumber:

  1. Leaking from the Bottom:
    DIY: If you notice a minor leak, you can try temporarily plugging it with a cloth or rag while you wait for a professional plumber to assess the situation. However, this is a temporary fix, and you should still contact a plumber for a permanent solution.
  2. Leaking from the Top:
    DIY: Check if the temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve) leaks due to excess pressure. You can try opening and closing the valve a few times to release any debris causing the issue. If the leak persists, call a plumber to inspect and replace the valve.
  3. Drain Valve Leaks:
    DIY: Tighten the drain valve gently to ensure it’s properly sealed. If this doesn’t resolve the issue or the valve is visibly damaged, it’s best to call a plumber for a replacement.
  4. Pressure Relief Valve Issues:
    DIY: Test the pressure relief valve by lifting and then releasing the lever on the valve. If it doesn’t release water when you lift it or if it doesn’t seal properly when you release it, consider replacing the valve. This is a relatively simple DIY task, but if you’re unsure, consult a licensed plumber.
  5. Faulty Heating Element or Thermostat:
    DIY: If you suspect a heating element or thermostat issue, turn off the power to the water heater and inspect the components for visible damage. You may need to replace a faulty component yourself if you have experience with electrical work. However, it’s safer to have a qualified electrician or plumber handle this task.
  6. Internal Tank Issues:
    DIY: Unfortunately, internal tank issues, such as a Rheem tankless water heater leaking inside, are typically not repairable by homeowners. If you suspect this problem, it’s crucial to contact a professional plumber who can assess the extent of the damage and recommend a suitable solution, which may involve replacing the water heater.
  7. Installation and Maintenance Errors:
    DIY: To prevent future issues, ensure your water heater is installed correctly with secure connections and adequate insulation. Regularly flush the tank to remove sediment buildup, which can extend the life of your water heater. DIY maintenance can help prevent problems but may not resolve existing issues.

While some DIY measures can temporarily address minor water heater problems, it’s essential to remember that water heaters are complex appliances, and attempting major repairs without the necessary expertise can be dangerous and void the warranty.

For peace of mind and to ensure the safety and efficiency of your Rheem water heater, it’s advisable to consult a qualified plumber for any significant issues or water heater repairs.

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When to Call a Professional

Knowing when to call a professional for your Rheem water heater is crucial to avoid potential disasters. If you notice a Rheem water heater gas leak, it’s imperative to act immediately. Gas leaks pose severe safety risks and require expert intervention.

Similarly, if your Rheem water heater exhibits signs of leaking water, particularly from unexpected places like the pressure relief valve or tank bottom, it demands professional attention for accurate Rheem water heater leak detection.

Attempting DIY fixes can lead to further damage or even flooding. By calling 5 Star Best Plumbing, you ensure timely and expert solutions, safeguarding your home and family from hazardous situations.


A leaking Rheem water heater can be a frustrating and potentially costly issue, but with the knowledge of common causes and solutions, you can address the problem effectively. Regular maintenance and prompt action when needed are key to keeping your water heater in excellent working condition and avoiding unnecessary headaches. Remember, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber to ensure the safety and efficiency of your Rheem water heater.

FAQs on Leaking Rheem Water Heaters

A Rheem water heater leaking from the bottom typically indicates a serious internal tank failure, necessitating immediate replacement or professional repair.

If you observe your Rheem water heater leaking from the top, turn off the power and water supply, then call a professional plumber for inspection and repair.

To fix a Rheem water heater drain valve leaking, turn off the heater, connect a hose, and replace the valve if necessary.

No, it’s not normal for a Rheem pressure relief valve to leak. Leaks may indicate excessive pressure or a faulty valve that needs inspection and possible replacement.

A leaking Rheem water heater may be repairable depending on the issue’s severity; consult a professional for assessment and recommendations.

Regular maintenance to prevent Rheem water heater leaks includes flushing the tank annually, checking for corrosion, and inspecting valves and connections for leaks.

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