The Best Way to Seal Leaking Hot Water Heater Fittings


One of the worst discoveries you can make as a homeowner is a basement or garage filled with water due to a leaking hot water heater. Many times, it is a job for the pros, but if the leak is visible and is originating at a fitting, it may be an easy fix. The fittings of a water heater are any of the connectors in the pipes and lines leading into the tank. If these are threaded, rather than soldered together, you're in luck.

Things You'll Need

  • Tools (depending on your water heater)
  • Cleaner
  • Dry towels or rags
  • Sealing tape
  • Shut off the main water valve in your home before attempting to diagnose the problem.

  • Unscrew the faulty fittings and look for signs of corrosion. If it is badly corroded, you have no choice but to replace the fittings. If they appear in good shape, continue.

  • Dry the fittings thoroughly. Clean off any hard water build-up; you can use any type of cleaner on the outsides of the pipes. It is best not to use harsh chemicals where they can get inside the pipes.

  • Apply a sealing tape to the threads of the fitting, such as Teflon or silicone. These can be found at hardware stores in the plumbing section.

  • Re-attach the fittings, and follow the sealing tape package's instructions for how long it may need to set before use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Leaks usually start small: check your tank frequently for signs of water leakage. The sooner caught and repaired, the better the outcome generally is.
  • Never let a leak go unattended. This could result in serious water damage to your home, as well as encourage the growth of toxic molds.

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  • Photo Credit plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from
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