Top 3 Reasons Why Your Kettle Is Leaking Water

water dripping

Leaking kettles make a mess and they are also potentially dangerous. Here’s how you can dump the dribble. 

When a kettle leaks water, the three main causes include overfilling the appliance, it needs to be descaled or there is an opening that allows the water to pass through the body. The latter commonly spring leaks near the bottom of the kettle.

Needless to say, water should not drip from an electrical appliance. Here is your chance to learn how to diagnose and solve the problem before it gets worse.

The Top 3 Reasons Why Kettles Leak Water

When a kettle dribbles, the problem is not just messy but also potentially dangerous. It is essential to hunt down the problem so that you can fix it as soon as possible. You will save your counters from spills and possibly yourself from a bad electrical accident. 

Here are the three main causes:

  1. The kettle is too full.
  2. The kettle needs to be descaled.
  3. There is an opening in the kettle’s casing.

How Do I Know If My Kettle Is Too Full?

Kettles that are too full tend to dribble when you pour the water. If your kettle does not leak in any other way but seems to rain on everything when you pour, then the problem could be as simple as too much water. Indeed, kettles are designed to hold only so much water. When they are overfilled, they can and do splatter water all over the place - and usually where you don’t want it!

How Full Must My Kettle Be?

This depends on the volume capacity of your kettle. Most kettles can comfortably hold 1.5 litres or 1.7 litres. A kettle’s capacity is normally marked on the body. A quick look on the outside, or sometimes even on the inside, can tell you whether you have a 1.5 or 1.7-litre capacity kettle. This information should also be on the box and instruction booklet that came with the kettle.

hot water being poured

Do a test run to see if this solves the problem. Take the kettle to the kitchen tap and add water - but keep the volume well below the kettle’s full capacity. Afterwards, pour the water out like you normally would and if the leaking stops, then overfilling was the cause. If it continues to leak then a design fault is most likely the reason. Unfortunately, nothing can fix that. You can either continue using the kettle, spills and all, or get a better one. 

Pro tip: Consider getting a kettle that features a dribble-free spout.

Going on a trip? Learn how to make tea in thermos flask.

The Kettle Needs To Be Descaled

Limescale loves kettles. The mineral deposits pack around exposed elements. If the element is hidden, limescale is happy to glom to the metal floor and walls of a kettle. After a while, the deposits start to interfere with ability of the appliance to work. Just some of the limescale-related issues are kettles that switch on or off by themselves, a bad taste in the water, and leaking. 

How Does Limescale Cause My Kettle To Leak?

The good news is that this is not a common problem (well, not as common as the other two). A good descaling routine will also prevent this from happening. When limescale builds up, it sometimes happens that the deposits push against sealants that keep the kettle from leaking. Once the seal is pushed too far, water starts to drip out. This is mostly noticed near the see-through indicators that show the water level inside of a kettle.

Can Descaling The Kettle Stop The Dripping?

Yes, sometimes it can. However, if the limescale deposits are particularly severe or already damaged the sealant too much, then you might need to descale and reseal the kettle. Many people prefer to buy a new kettle at this point and that is okay too!

This is how much it costs to boil a kettle.

How Do I Descale My Kettle To Stop The Dripping?

Descaling a kettle is not that hard. If you have vinegar in your pantry, you are all set to go. Here’s how to banish the scum.

Step 1: Make sure that the vinegar is 100 percent natural not the imitation stuff. You can use white or brown vinegar to descale your kettle. 

Step 2: The next step is to dilute the vinegar with water. Always use the 1:1 ration. In other words, mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of water.

Step 3: Add enough of the vinegar solution to your kettle to cover the limescale. 

Step 4: Switch the kettle on and allow the appliance to boil.

Step 5: Discard the solution and rinse the kettle well until the smell of the vinegar is gone. 

Step 6: Wipe the limescale away with a cloth.

You can also take the slow route or use this second option if the limescale is particularly troublesome. Make the mixture and also add enough of it to cover the limescale. You do not have to boil the kettle this time. Just leave it overnight and rinse well in the morning. You should be able to wipe the limescale off with a damp cloth.

Limescale is common in areas with hard water. Here are the best tips to clean your hard water kettle.

There Is An Opening In The Kettle’s Casing

A small crack or fissure in the casing can also cause a kettle to leak. Sometimes the damage is clearly visible. But either way, the problem can be solved with the right type of sealant.

silicone sealant

What Kind Of Sealant Is The Best?

To best choice is a silicone sealant. That being said, not all types are suitable. To seal your kettle effectively and safely, you must choose a silicone product that is food-contact safe and approved and FDA heat resistant. 

How Do I Use The Silicone Sealant To Fix A Leaking Kettle?

Most products of this kind comes with instructions. But it case the sealant is not very clear on how you can fix a kettle, you can follow these steps. 

Step 1: Unplug the kettle and make sure that there is no water in the appliance. 

Step 2: Let the kettle dry completely for a day or two. Once you are ready to apply the sealant, make sure that the affected area is indeed dry and without moisture.

Step 3: Apply the silicone where needed (an inner seal or crack). Do this on the outside of the kettle only. 

Step 4: Allow the silicone to set before you use the kettle again.

A Quick Summary On Why Kettles Leak Water

  • A leaking kettle is a potential hazard in the kitchen and must be fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
  • The 3 main causes for a leaking kettle is damage to the casing, pouring too much water in the kettle before you boil it, and the presence of limescale. 
  • Limescale can be removed with a vinegar solution. Limescale can also be prevented by routinely cleaning it once a month with a vinegar mixture.
  • Damage to the casing can be repaired with a sealant that is heat-resistant and food-safe.
  • A leaking spout is usually cured by not overfilling the kettle.

About the Author Harry Thompson

Gaining a BSc Honours in building/ property maintenance at the University of Portsmouth Harry went into the field of renovating properties. Along the journey, he has developed a wide variety of home & garden DIY skills such as installing new kitchens and landscaping gardens.