State Select Water Heater Leaking: Why + How To Fix

Finding your State Select water heater leaking water isn’t an ideal scenario. You may think it means you have to replace your tank. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the issues can be easily fixed depending on the source of the leak.

For instance, if the leak is coming from the drain valve, closing it properly can solve the issue. I’ll cover all the major areas from which the leak may occur and how you can deal with each of them. You’ll learn how to solve this issue by following some easy steps. So, let’s dive in!

 State Select Water Heater Leaking [How To Fix]

If you have a leaking water heater, you need to be calm. By following a few simple steps and keeping a cool head, you can resolve the issue. Follow these steps below to fight this water heater tank leakage problem:

Step 01: Turn Off The Power To The Heater

The first thing you should do is stop using your water heater in that condition. It’s not a good idea to continue using your water heater during a water leak. If you’re using a gas water heater, turn the gas control knob to the “Off” position to shut off the gas supply.

If you’re using an electric water heater, you can flip the breaker to turn off the power supply to the heater. Either way, your goal here is to make sure that the heater is no longer active.

Step 02: Turn Off The Water Supply To The Heater

Next, you should turn off the water supply to the heater. You have to locate the shut-off valve that supplies cold water. If it’s parallel to the water lines, that means it’s turned on.

state select water heater water supply shut off valve

You have to turn the valve perpendicular to the water lines to shut off the cold water supply. If you don’t have such a shut-off valve installed, you can just shut off the main water supply to your house. Turn on a hot water faucet as well to relieve some of the pressure from the tank.

Step 03: Avoid Using The Hot Water

You may be thinking – can I take a shower if my water heater is leaking? And the straight answer to that is no. It’s not a good idea to take a shower when you have a leaking tank.

This step is more of a precautionary step rather than proactively doing something. You shouldn’t use hot water at this stage. That’s because there’s a good chance that either the water temperature or the water pressure inside the tank is extremely high.

If you use the water and the temperature of the hot water is too high, you can scald yourself. If the water pressure is too high, it can cause severe damage to the tank. The tank can also explode in some cases. So, you shouldn’t even think of using the water heater before you resolve the water leak issue.

Step 04: Locate And fix The Source Of The Leak

Once you’ve turned off the power to the heater and shut off the cold water supply, it’s time to inspect the main issue with a cool head. You have to identify where the leak is coming from and then you can fix it.

The most common areas from where the water could be leaking are:

  • T&P relief valve.
  • Drain valve.
  • Pipe connections.
  • Gas control valve.
  • Heating element.
  • Inside tank.

You need to inspect each of these areas one by one to find out the source of the leak. You’ll learn about how you can inspect these parts in detail for water leaks and how to fix them in the next section. So, keep on reading.

What Causes State-Select Water Heater Leaks?

The most important part of fixing a water leak is to locate the source of the leak and take corrective actions. But there are many components and connection points in a water heater. The leak could appear at any of those points.

So, it’s important that you check each source of leak one by one. With that said, here are the most common sources of leaks in a water heater:

1. T&P Relief Valve

The relief valve in your water heater is an important safety device. It literally keeps the tank from exploding when the water temperature gets too hot. The relief valve also protects the tank from getting damaged when the water pressure inside the tank gets too high.

state select water heater t&p valve

The valve will open on its own and release water if it senses that the pressure inside the tank is too high. It loses the water through the drain tube and that’s what you may be seeing.

T&P valves usually have a safety rating of 210°F and a pressure rating of 150 PSI. When either the temperature or the pressure goes beyond that point, it starts to get rid of the water through the drain tube. Check this picture to understand how this leak happens:

state select water heater leaking t&p valve

But the drain valve should close all the way when it gets rid of the water. There should no longer be any water dripping from it. So, inspect the drain tube with your hand and see if it’s wet. If it turns out to be wet, you’ve found out what caused the water to come out.

If you saw the drain tube dripping water, it means the spring may have been corroded and the valve isn’t closing properly. Make sure to check the threads of the T&P valve as well. Check with your hands and be on the lookout if anything feels wet. If there’s a leak in that area, you should replace the relief valve.

2. Water Pressure Expansion

This issue is just an extension of the previous one. It’s not safe if you frequently find water draining from the drain tube. The relief valve only drains water when there’s too much pressure in the tank.

So, regular leaks from that area mean that the pressure inside the tank is high most times. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix for this issue. You can install an expansion tank on the cold water supply line to relieve the pressure from the tank. It’ll not only increase your safety but also stop the water leaks.

water pressure expansion tank

If the relief valve continues to leak water through the drain tube in large volumes, it points to a faulty gas control thermostat. It does so because the water temperature inside the tank is too high. You’ll have to replace the gas control thermostat to fix the issue here.

3. Drain Valve

The drain valve is used to perform maintenance work on the heater. You flush the tank by getting rid of the water inside the tank. And you’d have to use the drain valve to do it. But the drain valves can leak in the following instances:

  • The drain valve wasn’t closed properly.
  • There are cracks in the drain valve.

If your water is leaking after you’ve recently drained or flushed the tank, the drain valve could be the culprit here. Start by checking the drain valve and inspect it with your hand to see if it’s wet. If it’s not wet, the drain valve isn’t leaking and the issue is with another component.

state select water heater drain valve checking

However, if the drain valve was wet, it means it was leaking. First, check if the drain gas valve was closed properly. If it wasn’t, tighten it and that should fix the issue. If the drain valve still leaks or it was tight from the start, you have a faulty drain valve. You have to replace it to stop the water leaks.

Remember that drain valves that are made of plastic can get cracked more easily and develop leaks. So, if you have such a drain valve, you should replace the drain valve with a brass one. Those drain valves don’t get cracked or leak easily. They’d also last a long time.

4. Pipe Connections

You may also have water leaking at the top of the tank. This is usually safer than water leaking at the bottom. That’s because the water leaking at the top is due to bad pipe connections and they can be rectified easily.

state select water heater pipe connections

The leak can come from the cold water inlet and the hot water outlet pipes. You have to inspect them the same way you did before. You’d have to feel the connections and see if they’re wet. If there is no water residue, it’s not the source of the leak. But if it’s wet, you’ve found the leak.

Start by checking the threaded connections of the pipe into the tank. Then, check each of the connections between the pipes. If there’s any water in them, the pipes have to be installed properly. You should hire a technician if you don’t have the know-how to do the job by yourself.

5. Gas Control Valve

This is an issue that’s only applied to the gas power water heaters. You’d have a gas control thermostat in your water heater if you own such a unit. You need to check the threaded connections of the valve.

threaded connections of the gas control valve of state select water heater

If you can feel any water residue, it indicates that the water is indeed leaking from the gas control valve. You have to remove the gas control thermostat and connect it properly to solve the issue.

Luckily, we have a dedicated guide on replacing State Select water heater thermostats for you. Check it out and replace the thermostat correctly so that you don’t have to deal with water leaks anymore.

6. Heating Element Connection

This particular issue is only for electric heaters. There are heating elements in electric water heaters. You have to inspect them and see if the water is leaking from there.

If there’s a leak, it could mean that the gasket of the heating element is damaged. Otherwise, the heating element itself can be damaged too. You have to replace the heating element if you get it faulty.

Depending on the issue, you may have to replace the gasket or reseal the element threads.

7. Corroded Tank

The most severe issue behind a water leak is when the tank itself is corroded. Every tank will become corroded at one point. But if you don’t take good care of your heater, that point can come a lot sooner than you’d expect.

state select water heater corroded tank

The water will usually leak at the bottom when you have a corroded tank. But it can also be at the top. If the leak is coming from the threaded connections of the pipes inside the tank, it’s usually due to a shot tank.

It can be hard to tell if you have a corroded tank. If you didn’t find a leak in any of the points mentioned above, that’s the first sign that you have a corroded tank. Secondly, if your heater is over 10 years old, it also increases the chances that you have a corroded tank.

Thirdly, take off the burner access door and check the insulation at the bottom of the tank. If the insulation is wet, it means you have a leak in the inner tank. You need no further evidence to conclude that your tank has cracks that are causing the leak.

state select water heater insulation checking

When you have a corroded tank, you’d have to replace the tank. So, depending on the model of your heater, it may make sense to get a new heater altogether.

This issue also shows why the maintenance of your water heater is so important. You need to change the anode rods from time to time at the right intervals.

You should also flush your tank annually or biannually depending on the hardness of the water in your area. Doing these things will help your tank last longer. You can enjoy more hot water over an extended period if you take proper care of your heater.

How To Manage State-Select Water Heater Leaks?

When it comes to tank-style heaters, the tank will eventually leak at one point. It’ll get corroded after it has been used for an extended period and it gets corroded. It’s not a question of if it’ll happen but rather when it’ll happen.

So, you should set up your heater correctly to be prepared well for when the tank leaks. Follow these practices so that the leaks cause minimum damage and you can act on them fast:

  • Locate the heater in an area where water leaks wouldn’t cause damage to the adjacent area.
  • Place a metal drain pan under the heater to prevent the property from getting damaged when there’s a leak.
  • Make sure the drain pan doesn’t restrict the airflow to the heater and has an adequate draining system.
  • You can install water leak detectors or shut off devices that’ll trigger alarms or shut off the water supply when there’s a water leak. It’ll help you stay on top of things and make sure the leak doesn’t cause any damage.
  • When the tank gets corroded, it’ll have to be repaired or replaced. If you can’t do the repair work yourself, you’d have to consult a qualified technician to do it.

How To Differentiate Between Condensation & Water Leaks?

A puddle of water under the heater can indicate either condensation or a water leak. So, it’s important that you can differentiate between them. When the incoming water temperature is too low, the pipe becomes cool and the heat gets transferred to the water heater.

When you turn on the main burner, the flue gases become condensed by coming into contact with those surfaces. As a general rule, you should keep in mind that newer heaters will condense a lot more compared to old heaters.

As the newer heaters are more energy efficient, they utilize more energy from the burner flame. So, that lowers the temperature of the flue gases and the tank storage. Hence, you get more condensation in them.

Now that you know how condensation works, it’s essential that you don’t mistake it for a water leak. Here’s how you can diagnose whether the puddle of water you see is a result of condensation or water leaks:

  1. Wipe all the water that has formed under the water heater.
  2. Move the gas control knob to the pilot position.
  3. Wait for at least 8 hours and check back in to see if any water has gathered again at the bottom of the heater.

If you didn’t find any water, it means the heater was condensing. But if there’s water under the heater, it means there is a leak. Now, you’d have to check where the leak is coming from following the guidelines mentioned in the previous sections.

Remember that condensation stops when the temperature of the water inside the tank reaches nearly 115 degrees. So, you should never get condensation from a tank that already has hot water.


Why is it common for condensation to form on new heaters?

You may hear a sizzling sound as water drops on the main burner when you light the heater for the first time. Even if a small puddle accompanies it, the reason is usually condensation and not a leak.

Is a plumbing leak too dangerous?

Even a tiny leak on the hot water side would always force the burner to stay on. And you’ll get little to no hot water during that time. So, you should act quickly to find and fix the leak.

Is the anode rod important to prevent leaks?

The anode rod is a self-sacrificing device that prevents the tank from getting corroded. Yes, it’s important to prevent leaks. Without anode rods, tanks would get easily corroded and they would leak water.

Will a leaking water heater explode?

If the water leakage is a result of excessive pressure inside the tank, there’s a possibility that the tank can explode. The relief valve usually protects the tank from exploding but it can only work for so long.

When should the condensation in a new State Select heater go away?

It’s normal for new water heaters to have condensation as the tank will be cold at first. The condensation should go away when the tank reaches the right operating temperature.

Is a leaking water heater dangerous?

A leaking water heater can be dangerous. Sometimes, it can just be condensation as you’ve learned before. But if the leak is coming from other areas like the T&P valve or the tank itself, it can be harmful.


Now, you know what are the main reasons behind your State Select water heater leaking and how you can solve them. Be patient and thorough while checking the common problem areas.

Hopefully, this guide will help you to find the leak and take the necessary corrective actions to fix it. You can also check out our comprehensive guide on state select water heater status light flashing that you may face with your water heater.

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