Have you discovered water underneath your water heater? If so, don't assume that the tank immediately needs to be replaced. Consider bringing in a professional that specializes in water heater repair because the problems could be one of these four things.
Damaged Relief Valve
One safety device of your water heater is the pressure relief valve. The purpose of this valve is to release water when the pressure inside the tank gets too high. This causes water to be released outside the tank to prevent the tank from exploding. Since the relief valve is a way for water to escape the tank, it is also a way for the tank to leak. The pressure relief valve is designed to close automatically after water leaves the tank, but it's possible that the spring that causes the valve to close is damaged. If you see water escaping from where the pressure relief valve is located, then it could be a damaged valve that needs to be replaced.
Damaged Drain Valve
Every hot water heater has a drain valve that is used to maintain the tank and drain water from it. However, some hot water heaters come with plastic drain valves that are unreliable and become damaged over time. If there is water leaking from a plastic drain valve, know that it's possible to upgrade it to a valve that is made out of metal. This is worth doing if you see any water beneath the drain valve or around its connection.
There are various parts of the hot water tank where pipes connect to it. These connections should normally be secure and not leak any water. However, connections can become loose over time and cause water to seep through them. If you notice a connection that has water around the pipe fitting, it's worth investigating it further. All you may need is some tape applied to the pipe threads to form a good seal in the connection.
Damaged Inner Tank
If all your connections are good and there is still leaking water, it could be from a damaged inner tank. A good way to check if this is the problem is to open up the door cover of the hot water tank and try to feel the insulation. If it feels wet, then the water is likely coming from a damaged inner tank. This damage is much harder to repair and often requires replacing the tank with a new one.
Reach out to a that works on your type of water heater like A.O.Smith for 24/7 repair.