Can You Patch a Hole in a Hot Water Heater?

Hot Water Heater Hole

A leak in a hot water heater can be so frustrating, especially if you don’t know what to do. I have ever been a victim of such a couple of years back. Yes, I could see clearly that there was a leak somewhere in the water heater but the problem was that I couldn’t locate the source of the leak. Before I could find it, it was a really maddening experience. Thankfully, I now have a first-hand experience on how to deal with such a situation.

Indeed, it’s very possible for you to patch a small hole in a hot water heater. If you notice that there is a hole in your hot water heater, it shouldn’t spell doom. Luckily, there are simple ways you can use to fix the hole. In most cases, you will notice pooling of water around your hot water heater system. In such a situation, the first thing you should do is to identify where the hole is and then have the necessary materials needed to patch it up.

Before we dive straight into the fixing bit, it’s essential to first look at the possible locations where the leak might be. Of course, this is an important step if you don’t know where the leak is. There are times when you won’t really pinpoint where the hole in your water heater is. However, if you are sure where the hole is, you can just go ahead and start fixing it. These are some of the possible areas where you should check if you can’t locate the leak-causing hole in a hot water heater: 

  • The area around the pipes on top of the water heater
  • The drain valve near the base of the tank.
  • The area around the pressure and temperature valve

Once you have identified where the hole is, the process of patching up can begin. Actually, this is something you can definitely do for yourself. You don’t necessarily need to call a plumber to come fix it for you. With these simple techniques, you will be able to stop the leak in no time. For you to proceed, it’s also pertinent to identify the materials you will need to fix the hole.

What do You Need to Fix the Hole?

These are the items you should have to patch a hole in a hot water heater: 

  • Plumber’s putty 
  • Screw driver 
  • Clean cloth 
  • Toothpick 

The Fixing Process 

As you can see, these items are quite easy to find and they are not complicated to use. You will need some few steps to get the job done. 

Step 1: Take the toothpick and dip it into your plumber’s putty. Afterwards, take the dip out of the plumber’s putty and insert it into the hole. Keep pressing it until you are sure that it can’t move any further. Let the toothpick stay in that position for around 15-20 minutes. This will make the toothpick increase in size, thus blocking up the hole. 

Step 2: Cut off the portion of the toothpick that is till pulling out from the water heater using the screwdriver. After cutting off the extending part, you will notice that the stick will have filled the hole. You will then use the plumber’s putty to close up any small openings that might allow water to pass through. 

Step 3: The next thing is to wipe any plumber’s putty that might be attached on the surface of the repaired area and its surroundings. Use the clean cloth to wipe this area. You will now have to monitor the leak for a couple of days to make sure that the hole has been patched up well. As you fix the hole, you should remember to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Things to Watch Out For To Avoid Further Leakage

  • Age of Water Heater 

Did you know that the age of your water heater can contribute to leakages? For this reason, make sure that you closely monitor your hot water heater to know if it’s still within its lifespan or it is beyond its functional life. If it has exceeded its functional life, it will most likely begin to leak because of corrosion. Generally, 8- 12 years is the functional lifespan of a tank-style hot water heater. 

  • Quality of Installation 

If you make the mistake of installing your device in a wrong way, chances are high that you will have to do a lot of repairs. It’s important, therefore, for you to make sure that you have quality installation of your water heater to avoid holes developing as you continue to use it. If you don’t know how to install it properly, you would rather have a professional to do the work for you to avoid premature leaks. 

  • Maintenance 

Regular maintenance of hot water heater is essential if you have to avoid constant leakages. In most cases, a hole will not develop out of nowhere. I believe that it is because of lack of proper care that you will find holes developing in hot water heaters. Thus, I highly recommend that you form the habit of regularly maintaining your hot water heater. 

  • Tank/pipe Holes 

This is directly related to constant maintenance of your water heater. If you’re able to notice holes developing in your device early in advance, you will be able to avoid further leakage of your device. It won’t be a lot of work to check for any tank or pipe holes, right?


Having a hot water heater in your home is a great idea. It’s an asset that improves the quality of your life significantly, right? That is why you should take a keen interest in how you take care of it. Monitor if there are any holes in it and, if any, fix them immediately because any delay might mean having to replace it entirely. 

It’s better to take quick action instead of spending a lot of resources to repair bigger damages. The good thing is that it’s very easy for you to patch a hole in your hot water heater and continue to enjoy its services.

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