Water Is Leaking From the Bottom Element of My Water Heater

Electric water heaters use a heater element at the bottom of the tank.

The heat created by the element is transferred to the water in the tank, thus creating hot water. From time to time this element needs to be removed for cleaning or replacement. If it's removed and replaced with its existing gasket, the tank may leak. Water leaks from the bottom element of the water heater because the gasket has failed. You can correct this problem by replacing the gasket.

Turn off the water heater at the power supply and turn off the water supply at the main water shutoff. Next, drain the tank by attaching a hose to the drain valve.

Remove the heater element when the tank is empty by unscrewing it with the element wrench. Slide out the element, remove the rubber gasket and discard it. Clean off any sediment that's collected on the threads of the element and tank, and place a new gasket on the thread side of the clean element. Next, screw the assembly into the tank. Tighten it with the element wrench.

Refill the tank by closing the drain valve, opening the cold water valve and opening a hot water faucet to expel air. The tank will fill without leaking.

Things You Will Need

  • Hose
  • Element gasket
  • Element wrench

About the Author

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.