Water Leaking From a Drain Faucet on a Hot Water Heater

If you find water leaking from a drain faucet on a hot water heater, you should take immediate action. Not only are you wasting water, but you could also be exposing your home to water damage. The drain faucet on a water heater looks similar to an outdoor faucet used for gardening, called a hose bib. The best way to fix water leaking from a drain faucet on a hot water heater is by simply replacing the faucet. The process is fairly simple and inexpensive.

  1. Turn off the power for the hot water heater. This can be done by either cutting the electricity, on electric water heaters, or shutting off the gas supply, on gas water heaters. Cut the circuit for an electric water heater at the main circuit panel. The gas on a water heater can be cut by turning the gas supply knob located on the gas hose leading to the heater.
  2. Turn off the water supply for the water heater. This is usually at the top of the unit. Touch the pipes nearest the heater. The one that is the cold water supply will feel cold to the touch. The pipes may also be color-coded with red (hot) and blue (water supply) handles. Rotate the handle to the right to cut the water.
  3. Connect a garden hose to the drain faucet at the bottom of the heater. Run the other end to a drain or into the yard.
  4. Flip the pressure relief valve on the side of the heater upward. Open the drain faucet, and allow all the water inside the tank to drain out.
  5. Remove the drain hose. Use a plumber's wrench to unscrew the drain faucet, turning it counterclockwise. Clean off the threads with a piece of steel wool.
  6. Apply pipe thread compound to the threads on the supply valve. Screw in the new drain faucet for the water heater. Tighten with a wrench. Ensure that the valve is shut by turning the handle to the right.
  7. Close the relief valve, and open up the water supply valve. Turn the power for the heater back on. Check the drain faucet and ensure that there are no leaks.

Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • Plumber's wrench
  • New drain faucet
  • Pipe thread compound


  • If you do not have a garden hose, you can drain the heater with a bucket.

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.