Electric Water Heater Leaking From Top

4 Replies

On the lid of my water heater is a cold water inlet pipe and what looks like a freeze plug to the right of that; clockwise, there is the main electrical cable connection; on the far left is another freeze plug; inboard from that is the hot water outlet pipe . Directly behind that pipe is a 1" round hole in the surface of the lid with no freeze plug or cover of any kind; it's just an open hole. There is rusty water filling this hole and it is very slowly leaking over the edge of the hole,  across the lid to the nearest edge and running down the back of the water heater in a tiny stream about the width of a piece of string. What is going on and how do I stop it? Thanks!

@Pat Page  It sounds like you're missing the anode rod.  Did somebody remove it and forget to replace it?  You need to fix this right away before you get water damage and/or the water shorts out the electrical connection. You can buy replacements rods anywhere and they just screw into the hole.

If there is evidence of rust there's a strong possibility the water heater is worn out.  These die from the inside.  They start with a small leak that turns into a big leak and floods your house.  If this is more than about 10 years old, or approaching that age, replace it.  Save yourself some grief.

Art, Jon, Many thanks for your expert advice. It's put my and my wife's minds at rest (well, as much at rest as you can  when you have to deal with replacing a water heater when you have several other large commitments). But we do appreciate your responses-we're going to save ourselves some grief. And I also really owe my thanks to this site.  Thank you all! Pat Page

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