Water Heater: Pressure relief valve is dripping water

Replace the pressure relief valve if it leaks and the water heater isn't overheating.

If the water is overheating, the dripping could be because the overheating tripped the valve. Shut off the circuit breakers and check the thermostats and heating elements. A failed thermostat can cause the element to heat constantly, resulting in overheating. A heating element shorted to the metal tank or cabinet will also heat constantly and cause overheating. Watch this video to find out how to troubleshoot an overheating electric water heater. Replace any failed thermostats and shorted heating elements.

Replace the thermostat in a gas water heater if it's causing overheating.

water heater

These repairs may help solve your water heater problem

Replace the water heater temperature-pressure relief valve

Replace the water heater temperature-pressure relief valve

The temperature-pressure (T&P) relief valve is a safety device that automatically opens to discharge hot water in the event of excessive temperature and/or pressure inside the tank. Replace the T&P valve if it leaks or malfunctions.

How to replace a water heater temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve

If a water heater's temperature and pressure relief valve opens and releases hot water even though the water heater isn't overheating, the relief valve could be damaged. This repair guide and video shows you step by step how to replace the T&P relief valve.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
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Replace the water heater heating element

Replace the water heater heating element

The heating element is the heat source inside an electric water heater. It extends directly into the tank, where it radiates heat energy to the water around it. If the heating element is not heating when activated, replace the heating element.

How to replace an electric water heater heating element

If your electric water heater runs out of hot water quickly, or if the water isn't as hot as it should be, the heating element could be the problem. This step-by-step repair guide and video show how to replace a water heater heating element.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more
Replace the water heater thermostat

Replace the water heater thermostat

The thermostat constantly monitors water temperature in the tank. When the water temperature drops beneath the desired setting, the thermostat sends power to the electric heating element or gas burner to begin heating. If the thermostat isn't sending power to the heating element, replace the thermostat. In a gas water heater, replace the gas control assembly that contains the thermostat.

How to replace an electric water heater thermostat

If your electric water heater makes the water too hot or not hot enough, the thermostat could be broken. This DIY repair guide and video show how to replace an electric water heater thermostat.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
Read more

Symptoms common to all water heaters

Choose a symptom to see related water heater repairs.

Main causes: water supply needs chlorine treatment, anode rod too reactive
Main causes: thermostat temperature set too high, thermostats need adjustment, faulty thermostat, shorted heating element
Main causes: thermostats need adjustment, water heater capacity too low, bad heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment
Main causes: lack of power, no gas supply, thermostat limit switch tripped, bad element, bad thermostat, gas valve failure, bad thermocouple
Main causes: broken heating element, thermostat failure, excessive tank sediment, tank size too small, burner valve assembly failure
Main causes: faulty pressure relief valve, water is overheating
Main causes: loose water pipe fittings, leaky drain valve, bad temperature-pressure relief valve, leaky heating element, cracked tank

Articles and videos common to all water heaters

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your water heater.

October 31, 2018

Cleaning your appliances after a drinking water advisory

By Julie Riebe

Find out how to clean and flush household appliances once a boil water advisory is lifted.

December 9, 2015

How to read a wiring schematic video

By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to decipher symbols so you can buy the right part for your problem.

August 1, 2015

Water heater common questions

By Sears PartsDirect staff

These common questions and answers can help you make the most of your water heater.