Rheem water heater leaking from top or bottom [easy fixes]

Learn the reasons why your Rheem water heater leaking from bottom or top and Resolve them quickly with our detailed and easy guide.


Is your Rheem water heater still leaking in 2024? Yes, every thing can malfunction at some or other time even if it is a costly branded one. A Rheem water heater is a popular choice for many people in United states as the sell both tank and tankless type water heaters. As tank water heaters became old, joseph want to spread some light on the most common problems in them like leaking. A leaking water heater can be a serious issue, and not addressing it properly can cause further damage to the heater. In this article, joseph explains various reasons which cause  Rheem water heaters to leak, and list out best solutions, and tips to prevent it.

Why Is My Rheem Water Heater Leaking?

Water heaters leak due to several reasons like loose fittings, corrosion, age of heater, high pressure in water or gas or may be something else.

Leaks can range from minor to more serious ones which needs an immediate action. Understanding the possible causes of leaks can help you understand why and from where water is leaking and then diagnose and fix the leaks effectively. In joseph’s career he experienced many types of leaks from small to large and he knows better the reasons and solutions to fix them. So, he listed some common causes why your Rheem water heater leaking:

Excessive Pressure: Water heaters are designed to handle a certain amount of pressure and temperature. When there is too much pressure, the water heater’s components may not be able to withstand the strain, leading to leaks.

Aging Components: Over time, the materials used in your water heater can deteriorate, especially those susceptible to rusting and wear, such as metal and plastic parts.

Damage to the Water Heater: Any internal damage to the water heater, such as cracks or breaks in the tank or pipes, can result in leaks.

Loose Drain Valve: The drain valve at the bottom of the water heater allows for periodic flushing to remove sediment buildup. If this valve is loose or faulty, it can cause leaks.

Sediment Buildup: Over time, sediment and minerals can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater’s tank, leading to corrosion and potential leaks.

Rheem water heater leaking from top reasons and solutions

Uh-oh! is you Rheem water heater leaks from top, let’s learn the reasons and tips to fix those leaks. Loose inlet and outlet pipes, a sneaky leaky vent collar, a defective T&P valve (Pressure relief valve), and a troublesome anode rod might be the reasons causing those leaks from the top of the water heater. So lets learn about them one by one below.

Loose or leaking inlet or outlet Fittings:

If water is leaking from the upper realms of your water heater, fittings of cold water supply inlet and the hot water outlet pipes are one of the reason.

rheem water heater leaking from inlet and outlet pipes

Detecting the Leak:

First things first, it’s time for some detective work. Gently run your finger along the threaded connections at the top of the tank. Feeling any wetness? That’s your clue! Now, get up close to those pipes. Check each connection point, and don’t forget to give those dielectric nipples and other fittings a scrutinizing glance.

Corrosion Alert:

As those fittings are made with metals, over the years they can fall victim to the dreaded corrosion, and that’s where the leak comes into play.

How to fix the leak:

Ready for action? Fixing this is a breeze! If you spot water mingling at the connection points, all you need is a trusty wrench. Give those pipes a little twist, and voila – problem solved!. If you still see the leak even after tightening the pipes to maximum, then you should remove the pipes and apply good quality teflon tape on threads and fit them again, this stops leak for sure.

tighten the inlet and outlet pipes on rheem water heater if leaking from top

Now, about those stubborn dielectric nipples… If they’re looking a bit worse for wear due to corrosion, it’s time for them to replace. Removing these little troublemakers can be a tad tricky, but we’ve got a nifty trick up our sleeves.

  1. Locate the Dielectric Nipple: The dielectric nipple is typically located at the water inlet or outlet connections on the water heater.
  2. Use Proper Tools: Depending on the type of nipple and your water heater’s setup, you may need a pipe wrench, adjustable wrench, or pliers. Ensure you have the appropriate tools for the job.
  3. Loosen the Nipple: Carefully loosen and unscrew the dielectric nipple from the threaded connection. Use steady and controlled force to avoid damaging the threads or the water heater.
  4. Apply Penetrating Oil (if necessary): If the nipple is stubborn and difficult to remove, applying penetrating oil to the threads can help loosen the connection. Allow the oil to penetrate for a while before attempting to loosen the nipple again.
  5. Remove the Nipple: Once the nipple is sufficiently loosened, continue to unscrew it until it’s completely removed from the water heater.
  6. Clean Threads: After the nipple is removed, clean the threads on the water heater’s connection point to ensure a smooth and proper fit for the replacement nipple.
  7. Install a New dielectric Nipple (if needed): If you’re replacing the dielectric nipple, apply plumber’s tape or pipe joint compound to the threads of the new nipple and carefully screw it into place. Use appropriate tools to tighten it securely without over-tightening.

Leaking or Faulty Pressure Relief Valve (TPR Valve)

Uh-oh, looks like your Rheem water heater is leaking from top. But no worries, we’re here to spill the beans on what might be causing the leak. Say hello to the temperature and pressure (T&P) valve, a.k.a. the pressure relief valve – the unsung hero of your water heater’s safety crew.

rheem water heater temperature and pressure relief valve location

So here’s the scoop: when things get too hot or too pressurized inside your water heater, it could turn into a bit of a drama. But guess who’s there to save the day? Yep, you got it – the T&P valve releases to let off some steam (literally!) by letting out a bit of water. It’s like a little superhero move to keep things from going ka-boom. But wait, could that water leak you’re seeing be linked to this valve?

Sometimes, our T&P valve decides to go a bit rogue and start a waterworks show. No worries, we’ve got a simple test to see if it is working good or became faulty.

Here’s the Plan:

Just give that T&P valve a gentle push, and watch the pressure comming out from it. If your water heater doesn’t pass this quirky test, it indicated the value is not working as expected and we can cannot repair it. So, it’s time to replace the faulty with a new and compatible Pressure relief valve. If the water pressure is high, install a thermal expansion tank which controls the pressure generated due to thermal expansion.

Fixing the Leak by replacing the PR Valve:

Now, if your T&P valve is causing more trouble than a toddler on a sugar rush, there’s only one thing to do – replace it! Don’t worry, we’ve got your back with a step-by-step guide to getting your Rheem water heater back to leak free.

  1. First we need to Turn of the power and gas supply to the heater and Follow the steps below to Drain water in it.
  2. Grab a garden hose and connect one end to the bottom of your water heater. Put the other end into the nearest floor drain.
  3. Turn off the cold water inlet line’s shut-off valve and don’t forget to turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in your house – it’s all part of the plan!
  4. Ready for the main event? Pop open that drain valve and let the water do its thing. If you’ve got a T&P valve on top, you’ll need to drain about a gallon of water. But if it’s hanging out on the side, brace yourself for up to 10 gallons of watery fun.
  5. Time to part the discharge tube attached to the T&P valve with the help of required tools. Then, use a pipe wrench to unscrew the valve itself from the water heater.
  6. Now, get a new compatible temperature and pressure relief valve and connect it to the water heater from where you took the defective one. But don’t forget to wrap Teflon tape to seal the threads up nice and snug.

Corroded Anode Rod

When your Rheem water heater starts leaking from the top near anode rod, the problem is with the Anode rod or its fitting. Anode Rod is a special metal element designed to slowly dissolve, protecting your tank from the clutches of corrosion.

rheem water heater leaking from corroded anode rod and its fitting

When the anode rod is depleted, it no longer offers corrosion protection for the tank, so it’s best to replace the rod before that happens. We’ll show you how to do it in the below steps.

Checking and replacing the Anode rod of Rheem water heater:

  1. Safety First: Turn off your water heater’s power at the circuit breaker. If it’s a gas heater, remember to switch off the gas supply too. Close the cold water inlet valve and open a hot water faucet in your home to release pressure.
  2. Drain some water: Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the heater. Position the other end over a floor drain or outside. Open the drain valve and let about two gallons of water flow out of the tank.
  3. Top Discovery: Find the anode rod’s hideout on top of the tank. Usually, it’s hiding under a plastic cap. If you’re dealing with an older model, the rod might be exposed.
  4. Unveiling the Rod: Remove the plastic cap to reveal the anode rod. If it’s not easy to spot, gently peel away any insulation to expose the anode rod head.
  5. Rod Extraction: Use a 1 1/16 inch socket to turn the anode rod counterclockwise and remove it. Watch out for a bit of water seepage—it’s normal.rheem water heater leaking from anode rod location
  6. Extra Leverage: Some stubborn rods may need some extra oomph. Use a cheater bar or a pipe along with your wrench to break that initial seal.
  7. Examine the rod: Carefully lift the anode rod out of the tank. Take precautions—it might be hot! If it’s showing signs of wear, corrosion, it’s served its purpose. If the Anode rod dissolved completely, you need to replace the rod with new one, if it looks good then seal the treads with teflon tape and put it back again.
  8. New anode rod replacement: Wrap the threads of your replacement anode rod with Teflon tape (around six turns should do the trick). Install and securely tighten the new rod.
  9. Flexibility Matters: If space is tight above your water heater, opt for a flexible replacement anode rod for an easier installation.
  10. Turning the Flow: Open a hot water faucet again and turn on the cold water supply to the heater. Let the tank fill for about a minute.
  11. Seal the Deal: Turn off the hot water faucet and inspect for leaks around the new anode rod. If all is dry and well, replace the plastic cap.
  12. Power Up: Flip the switch at the circuit breaker to turn the power back on. For gas heaters, reignite the gas supply following your manual’s instructions.
  13. Leak Check: Keep an eye on the anode rod threads for any sneaky leaks. Give it another check in 24 hours.

Rheem water heater leaking from Bottom reasons and solutions

rheem water heater leaking from bottom

Uh-oh, caught your Rheem water heater leaking from bottom? Don’t sweat it – we’re here to untangle this leaky situation. Whether it’s a defective drain valve or a corrosive and leaky inner tank, we’re diving into the depths of these issues that are causing your water heater to leak from the bottom.

Rheem water heater leaking from drain Valve:

The drain valve is located at the bottom of the water heater and is used for maintenance purposes. If it is not tightly closed, it can cause water to leak. Designed for easy maintenance and water drainage, this valve can also be a leaky troublemaker.

rheem water heater leaking from drain valve

Reason: An improperly closed drain valve can unleash a water leak from the bottom of your water heater. And a valve that’s loosened up? Well, Over years due to wear and corrosion drain valves may become loose which leads to leaks.

Pro tip: If your finger detects wetness around the valve, it’s time to investigate and follow below step.

Solution : If the drain valve is loose, tight it with the help of a wrench which solves the leak in most cases. If you still see water leaking even after tighting the drain valve to maximum take out the drain valve and wrap a new teflon tape on the threads and fit it again.

Sometimes the drain valve itself will become defective in those case replace it with a new compatible one.

Damaged Inner Tank

Uh-oh, seems like your Rheem water heater might be showing signs of a leaky inner tank due to corrosion. But fret not – we’re here to shed light on this issue and guide you through the steps to identify and address it.

Identify and locate the leak:

First things first, let’s perform a leak test. Follow these steps to get to the bottom of the matter:

Security Tip: Before opening anything always turn off the power to the unit and also turn off the gas.

  1. Uncover the Access Panel: Remove the access panel cover of your water heater. This grants you entry to the inner workings of the tank.
  2. Get Hands-On: Reach inside with your fingertips and feel around. If you sense dampness or wetness on the insulation, there’s a strong chance that your inner tank is dealing with some unwanted leakage.

Facing the Unfortunate Reality:

Now that you’ve performed the leak test, here’s the verdict: if the inner tank is indeed corroded and leaking, it’s a signal that repair might not be possible.

The Next Steps:

While we wish there were a magical fix for a corroded inner tank, the truth is that it’s time to bid farewell to your current water heater. But hey, it’s not all gloom and doom – we’ve got a proactive tip for the future:

Prevention is Key: Regular maintenance is your secret weapon against inner tank corrosion. Make it a habit to flush your water heater tank every six months and check the anode rod every 4 months to control the corrosion of the inner tank. This simple step helps remove sediment buildup, keeping your tank in tip-top shape for the long haul.

Related article: Rheem water heater pilot light won’t stay lit

Rheem water heater leaking from Thermostat:

So, you’ve noticed a leak near your Rheem water heater’s thermostat, and naturally, you’re concerned. But before you dive into a sea of worries, let’s learn about a common misconception about this kind of leak.

rheem water heater leaking from thermostat

The Deceptive Leak:

Take a glance at the image above – see that suspicious leak just beneath the thermostat? we might be thinking that the thermostat itself could be the culprit behind this leak. But your thermostat is innocent of this particular leak! and thermostat never leaks in this water heater.

Main culprit:

You might be surprised to learn that the water you’re spotting around the thermostat isn’t actually from the thermostat itself. It’s the heating element that’s playing a role in this water leak. Let me break it down for you: there’s a rubber gasket responsible for sealing the heating element at the tank’s opening. And when that little rubber gasket gets a crack or sustains damage, it’s party time for water – it starts leaking through, eventually finding its way to the thermostat area.

How to Fix It :

Now, here comes the crucial part – how to fix this situation and put a stop to the unwanted waterleaks from the heating element. Here’s the deal:

Call in the Pros:

For this particular issue, we highly suggesting you reach out to a professional plumber. Why, you ask? Well, my friend, the heating element lives in the ‘live’ electrical zone of your water heater. Tinkering in this area without proper knowledge could lead to more than just a leak – it could spark a hazardous situation. Trust me, your safety is worth every bit of professional expertise.

A Rusty Reminder:

Here’s an extra nugget of wisdom: that electric element can engage in a little chemical electrolysis with the tank, leading to rust formation. And guess what? Rust means trouble. If that corrosion creeps into the heating element’s area, there’s no quick fix. Replacement of the entire tank might be only solution.

Prevention Tips:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Schedule regular maintenance for your Rheem Water Heater to check for loose fittings, inspect the TPR valve, and assess the condition of the anode rod.
  2. Monitor Water Pressure: Keep an eye on the water pressure in your home to prevent excessive pressure inside the water heater, which can lead to leaks.
  3. Install a Drip Pan: Placing a drip pan beneath the water heater can catch minor leaks and protect your flooring from water damage and electrification.

Related article: How to fix Rheem tankless water heater code 11


A leaking Rheem Water Heater can be worrisome, but understanding the common causes behind the leak and their respective solutions can help you address the issue promptly. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are key to maintaining the efficiency and longevity of your water heater. By following the prevention tips, you can ensure a continuous supply of hot water without the worry of leaks. If you encounter complex issues or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to contact a certified Rheem technician for expert support.

Joseph Miller

Joseph Miller is a highly experienced water heater repair expert with a passion for keeping homes warm and comfortable. With over 50 years of industry expertise, Joseph has developed a deep understanding of water heater systems and the intricacies of their repair and maintenance.

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