My water heater has a slow leak. From what I can tell so far it is coming from either the cold water inlet or the hot water connection. The cold water inlet seems to be the culprit to me because that is the side that the water is dripping down the side of the tank on the floor. However, I am not 100% sure that is where it is leaking because there is a pool of water on the hot water connection side, as well as the anode rod area.

What I have done so far:

  • Dried out all the water inlets and anode rod area.
  • Ran the hot water and looked for the leak.

What happened was the cold water inlet very slowly filled up, and to a lesser extend the hot water area filled up with some water. The anode rod area did not fill with any water.

So what is my next step, should I just try to replace both hot/cold connections? Is there any way to know for sure which one could be the culprit? Or is there another possibility I haven't considered?

The water heater is about 8 years old (AO smith brand, 50 gallon electric 2 heater elements) so I'm not quit ready to just replace it.

  • I ended up replacing the water heater as it seemed like the tank was leaking. Thanks for the input.
    – JavaKungFu
    Commented Mar 26, 2012 at 19:07

2 Answers 2


Dry all the suspect areas well. Wrap a paper towel around each inlet/outlet. Turn on your hot water draw and start checking the paper towels. the first one to get wet is where your problem is. Then it my just be a matter of tightening a connection or removing and replacing a soldered fitting.


Try drying it again with a hair dryer handy, as soon as you get all the water out with a rag (I would start with the cold water side) run the hair dryer to get it completly dry if you can. Then watch for the moisture to return, you probably won't be able to get it dry with the hair dryer if its any kind of leak but you should be able to see where its coming from. An 8 year old gas water heater could be on its last legs.

  • Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a shot with the hair dryer. Also its an electric if that matters at all
    – JavaKungFu
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 18:24
  • whatever you do, dont stand in the water with the hair dryer blowing.
    – sdot257
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 19:58

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