Water staining on or around hot water cylinder


Leaking pipe connections


  • call a licensed plumber. Under the law, most plumbing work can only be carried out by licensed plumbers. The few exemptions that apply do not include work on water supply pipes 


Leaking seal around element


  • homeowners are permitted to remove and replace water heater switches, thermostats and elements so long as it does not involve work on a switchboard. (The details are in the Electricity Act 1992 sections 79 and 80, and NZECP 51:2004 New Zealand Electrical Code of Practice for Homeowner/Occupier’s Electrical Wiring Work in Domestic Installations.) Landlords/ business owners cannot carry out electrical work in their rental properties or workplaces unless they hold the relevant licence

  • homeowners should only make this repair themselves if they have the skills, experience and tools to be able to safely and competently complete the job. You are required by law to carry out the work “in a workmanlike manner” and in compliance with all the relevant laws and codes

  • most homeowners should call a licensed plumber

  • the leak may be the result of a loose connection or faulty or badly installed element seals or washer

  • turn the power off and water heater off and tighten the heating element

  • if leaking continues, turn the water and power off, drain the cylinder then remove the heating element and replace. Ensure you replace the old element with a new one of equal wattage. If the original element was 2kW, then the replacement element should also be 2kW and no higher

  • with very old cylinders, be aware that changes in pressure in the cylinder that come about from switching off, draining, refilling and switching on a tank again may potentially lead to stresses and a leak elsewhere, for example in a welded seam. In cases where a repair by a plumber may cost a quarter or a third of the cost of installing a new cylinder, carefully consider repair vs replacement. Replacement with a new cylinder must be carried out by a licensed plumber


Leaking cylinder casing


  • call a licensed plumber to replace the cylinder with a new one

  • you can find information about water heating options in the Level website and a water heating systems tool in the Gen Less website